GARDINER — Gardiner coach Ryan Gero knows how important it is to get out to an early lead.

The second-seeded Tigers scored two runs each in the first and second innings against third-seeded Poland en route to a 6-2 victory in a Class B South semifinal softball game Saturday.

“That’s what it’s all about, to get the momentum in your dugout and keep it in your dugout,” Gero said. “Put pressure on them and as the game (goes on), the more pressure you put on them, the more they feel it.”

The Tigers (17-2) will take on the winner of No. 5 Cape Elizabeth vs. No. 1 York in the regional final on Tuesday at 7 p.m. at the University of Southern Maine in Gorham.

Left fielder Corinne Vasvary’s single to left field in the bottom of the first helped get Gardiner’s offense going. She then scored on Devin Clary’s single to center in the next at-bat. Poland tried to get Vasvary out at third, but the throw from center went wide and Vasvary scored. Clary reached third on the play.

Clary later scored on a Dakota Lovely single up the middle for a 2-0 lead.


Madison Inman’s double to center field in the bottom of the second inning sent Grace Plourde to third. However, Plourde was thrown out at home on a fielder’s choice. Inman moved to third on the fielder’s choice and scored on a passed ball for a 3-0 lead.

“I like to surprise people. People say, ‘she’s a big bunter.’ Well, I am, but I also can hit the ball to the outfield,” Inman said. “Be ready for my speed, you might not be able to catch me.”

Vasvary doubled home starting pitcher Lainey Cooley, who had reached on a fielder’s choice, for a 4-0 lead later in the second inning.

Cooley also set the tone for her teammates in the circle. In the top of the second, she got out of a bases-loaded jam, allowing no runs after Atlantis Martin, Maggie McGlauflin and Gabby Bolduc all had singles for Poland (17-2).

“I was just focusing on the batter, throwing strikes and letting my defense do their job,” Cooley said.

Gero said Cooley is cool under pressure.


“She doesn’t get stressed out in tough situations like that,” Gero said. “Even in a tough situation, she stays the course. She knows what her job is and that’s what she does.”

Cooley went the distance, scattering seven hits while striking out six.

Gero noted that Cooley will be Gardiner’s pitcher for the rest of the playoff run.

Poland coach Katrina Seeley said things might have changed if the Knights had scored in the top of the second.

“I think it changes the game because there’s a run on the board,” Seeley said.

Martin, Poland’s starting pitcher, was replaced by Gretchyn Paradis in the third inning, which helped quiet down the Gardiner bats.


The Knights chipped away in the top of the fourth, with Emma Bunyea leading off with a single to center, followed by Martin’s hard-hit single to left field. Bunyea and Martin then moved up to third and second on a groundout.

McGlauflin grounded into a fielder’s choice to score Bunyea, while a Gabby Bolduc infield single scored Martin to cut Gardiner’s lead to 4-2.

Inman showed off her speed in the bottom of the fourth, after working a walk in an at-bat where she was down 0-2 in the count. She stole second and third and came home when Cooley grounded out to the second baseman.

Cooley put down Poland’s top-of-the-lineup in order for the third time in the game in the top of the fifth, just as she did in the top of the first and third innings.

“Normally, they get on base and get things started,” Seeley said.

Cooley drove in Inman again with a single in the bottom of the sixth for a 6-2 lead. Inman had a bunt single and stole second base to get into scoring position.

“I love hitting after Madison,” Cooley said. “When she gets on base, all I need to do is get a base hit and she gets around (the bases).

Inman had four stolen bases in the game.

Comments are no longer available on this story