GARDINER — It was one of the biggest wins of the season for the Lawrence High School softball team. And the Bulldogs leaned on their battery to get it.

Haley Holt led the way at the plate, Sam Marshall did the same in the circle and Lawrence came away with a 3-1 victory over Gardiner, a win that greatly improved the Bulldogs’ postseason chances — as well as their confidence that they can be a tough team to beat when they get there.

“That might be the best all-around team game that we’ve played,” said coach Joey Marcoux, whose team improved to 7-7. “Everybody had a play or two that they made a nice play on. We were all swinging the bats, they may not have been base hits but we were all hitting the ball. We came together as a team today. It was really nice to see.”

Marshall allowed only two hits to pick up the win, while Holt had a home run, a double and two RBIs. Molly Folsom and Breanne Sirois also doubled, while Gretta Knowlton added an RBI.

“We did (need it). We came ready to play,” Marshall said. “We were hitting the ball like we were capable of.”

Jaz Clary doubled for Gardiner (9-6), which lost its fourth in five games, while Jill Bisson had a single and Brooke Somes had an RBI. Bisson also struck out six in the circle.

“We just didn’t get timely hits,” said coach Don Brochu, whose team was held to two runs or fewer for the fourth straight game. “We haven’t been hitting enough lately.”

PLAYER OF THE GAME: Holt first put Lawrence in control. Then she made sure the Bulldogs kept it.

The game was scoreless when Megan Curtis led off the top of the fourth with a walk. Holt took three balls but went after the 3-0 offering, chopping a hard grounder down the first base line that went into the right field corner. The ball was bobbled in right field, allowing Curtis to score easily, and Holt went into third on the late throw to the plate. Megan Griffith grounded out to the catcher but Knowlton followed with a grounder to short, allowing Holt to score and push the Lawrence lead to 2-0.

“I think of every at-bat as a team at-bat. I don’t hit for me, I hit for the girls,” Holt said. “I have to take every opportunity that we get to heart.”

Gardiner got a run back in the fifth when Maddie Farnham scored on a fielder’s choice, but Lawrence leaned on its catcher again in the sixth. Holt worked the count full during an eight-pitch at-bat, then laced a line drive over the left field wall for a home run and 3-1 advantage.

“She’s definitely the real deal. No question about it, she can play,” Marcoux said. “(Bisson) threw her that changeup and she battled and fought it off, and I said ‘OK, that’s the pitch she’s either going to miss or hit a little flair popfly. Now they’re in trouble.’ ”

Holt said she got the pitch she was looking for.

“I look for the fast stuff. When the pitcher’s providing the power, all you have to do is make contact,” she said. “It felt really good going off the bat.”

MARSHALL IN CONTROL: Marshall fanned two batters in the bottom of the first. She didn’t strike out another — and she didn’t need to.

The senior allowed only one hit after the first hitting, putting on a fine display of pitching to contact. She didn’t miss bats, but had enough movement, location and change in speeds to keep her pitches away from the barrel.

“The ball wasn’t hit hard very often,” Marcoux said. “Everything seemed to be nubbed and commonplace ground balls and flyballs to us. … If she’s got the changeup going and the curveball going and she spots herself, she’s going to be tough to beat.”

Marshall gave a tip of the cap to her hard-hitting batterymate.

“I was ready to pitch today, my catcher and I were confident today,” she said. “(Holt’s) been catching me since junior high, so we’re tight.”

“I can read her like an open book,” Holt said. “If one pitch isn’t working, I can figure out how to get it going. We just work really, really well together.”

TIGERS SCUFFLING: Gardiner scored its only run in the fifth after Farnham tapped a swinging bunt that stayed fair along the first base line and the throw to the second baseman covering first sailed into right field. Farnham went to third on the play, then came home when Somes grounded to third and Folsom went for the out at the plate.

Gardiner didn’t get on the board after that, stranding runners on second in the fifth and the sixth inning. The Tigers’ offense has cooled, and injuries have been popping up at the wrong time.

“Hopefully, we get it together in the last week and go into the playoffs with a little bit of (momentum),” said Brochu, whose team has seen Kylie Sirois and Maggie Bell deal with a broken wrist and separated shoulder, respectively. “We’re in a little slump right now. We’ve got to figure out something.”

Drew Bonifant — 621-5638

[email protected]

Twitter: @dbonifantMTM

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