KENTS HILL — Amanda Goucher stepped to the plate in the sixth inning with the go-ahead run on second base. She worked the count full, got the pitch she was looking for — and fouled it straight back.

Her grimace was visible from behind third base.

“I knew, that was mine,” she said. “That was the pitch that I like.”

Maranacook’s Brooke Stratton, left, tags out Old Orchard Beach baserunner Malaika Njue in a rundown between first and second base during a game Friday at Kents Hill School. Kennebec Journal photo by Joe Phelan

She got another one to hit, however, and this time didn’t miss it, smacking an inside-the-park home run that served as the big blow in a five-run sixth inning that put the Maranacook softball team ahead to stay en route to an 11-9 victory over Old Orchard Beach at Kents Hill School.

The victory moved Maranacook, which trailed 7-5 in the top of the fifth, to 1-1. Old Orchard Beach is 0-1.

“Fortunately, these kids have been around for a couple of years now, so they know that we’ve had some rallies,” coach Don Beckwith said. “We’re used to fighting through them and having some success at the end.”

And for the Black Bears, it was good timing. Maranacook was blanked in a 2-0 loss to Oceanside Wednesday, but got all the hits it needed this time.

“It definitely gives us our confidence back,” said center fielder Allyse Bonenfant, who had two of the seven Black Bear hits. “We were pretty down about how we weren’t hitting, but coming out today, every one of us hit.”

Offense wasn’t an issue for the Black Bears — but it wasn’t one for the Seagulls either. Maranacook rallied from a quick 3-0 hole to take leads of 4-3 and 5-4, but Old Orchard Beach jumped in front 7-5 with a three-run fifth.

Maranacook inched closer at 7-6 in the fifth, then began its rally in the sixth. Evelyn St. Germain led off with a bunt single, then stole second and scored the tying run when Grace Dwyer’s pop-up to second was dropped for a two-base error.

That brought up Goucher, who had already smacked an RBI triple in the game. She smacked a shot to left field, then began digging for extra bases when left fielder McKenzie Rollins overran the hop. Beckwith tested the Old Orchard relay, sending Goucher home, and she beat the throw in from the shortstop for a 9-7 lead.

“I just needed to put the ball in play,” said Goucher, who went 2-for-4 with the home run, triple and three RBIs. “I put it in play and good things happened.”

The rally continued when Brooke Stratton walked and Bonenfant singled, and both eventually scored on a wild pitch and passed ball, respectively.

“I think we just really wanted it,” Bonenfant said, “and that kind of took away the nervousness of ‘Okay, this is down to the wire.’ I think that really helped.”

Old Orchard Beach wasn’t done yet, as Meghan Pelletier singled and scored on a Kelly Palkovic triple, and Palkovic later scored on a passed ball. The Seagulls got the tying run to the plate in Riley Fish, but Natalie Costa got her 10th strikeout to end the game.

“Offensively, I can’t say enough,” said Seagulls coach Jason Webber, whose team got three hits from Palkovic and two from Riley Blatchford. “But defensively we struggled a little bit. We gave them too many outs, and that’s what happens when you get in a close game.”

Old Orchard Beach struck quickly when Blatchford and Chloe Kocian scored on an error and Zoe Young scored on a bases-loaded walk, but Maranacook answered with four in the bottom half, the big hit being a triple to right by Goucher that brought in Dwyer with the first run.

“Amanda’s probably one of the better softball players around,” Beckwith said of his shortstop. “She’s playing out of her position, in my opinion, but we need her there, that’s where she’s playing and she’ll give us all she’s got.”

Old Orchard Beach’s Ganelle Ferguson tags out Marancook runner Allyse Bonenfant during a game Friday at Kents Hill School. Kennebec Journal photo by Joe Phelan

Old Orchard Beach evened the score at 4 on a Palkovic single in the third, but Costa walked and scored on an error to put Maranacook back ahead in the fourth. The Seagulls responded yet again with a three-run fifth, as Fish scored the tying run on a groundout and Palkovic brought in two when she singled in Pelletier and an error in left field allowed her to make it all the way home and bump the lead to 7-5.

Still, the Black Bears weren’t worried. And after Bonenfant scored on an infield single by Natasha Lavigne in the fifth, they felt they had more dramatics in store for the sixth.

“The inning before we (held them) 1-2-3, and we just picked up on that momentum,” Goucher said. “And when we got in the box, we just knew what to do.”


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