Cape blanks Greely in chilly softball opener

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Cape Elizabeth senior third baseman Kelly O’Sullivan makes contact during the Capers’ 7-0 win at Greely Saturday afternoon. O’Sullivan had two hits, including a triple, and drove in a run.

Chris Lambert photos.

More photos below.

BOX SCORE

Cape Elizabeth 7 Greely 0

CE- 101 002 3- 7 10 0
G- 000 000 0- 0 2 5

Top 1st
Torre scored on wild pitch. 

Top 3rd
O’Sullivan singled to left, Torre scored.

Top 6th
LeDoux singled to left, Bozek scored. LeDoux scored on error.

Top 7th
O’Sullivan tripled to left-center, Holmes scored. Bozek singled to right, O’Sullivan scored. LeDoux singled to right, Bozek scored. 

Repeat hitters:
CE- Bozek 3, LeDoux, O’Sullivan, Robicheaw

Runs:
CE- Bozek, Torre 2, Holmes, LeDoux, O’Sullivan

RBI:
CE- Bozek, LeDoux 2, O’Sullivan

Double:
CE- Bozek

Triple
CE- O’Sullivan

Stolen bases:
CE- LeDoux 2, O’Sullivan, Torre
G- Dusch 

Left on base:
CE- 7
G- 2

Robicheaw and Keller; Currier and Rawnsley

CE:
Robicheaw (W, 1-0) 7 IP 2 H 0 R 0 BB 9 K 

G:
Currier (L, 0-1) 7 IP 10 H 7 R 4 ER 1 BB 11 K 3 WP

Time: 1:31

CUMBERLAND—Cape Elizabeth’s softball team wasn’t sure if it would be able to open its season Saturday afternoon at Greely, but once the Capers learned that despite the rain, it was game-on, they made the most of miserable weather conditions and put forth a promising debut effort at Twin Brook Recreation Center, suggesting that they might just be a top Class B South contender this season.

Cape Elizabeth got the only run it would need in the top of the first inning when junior third baseman Anna Torre scored on a wild pitch.

With sophomore ace pitcher Jessie Robicheaw holding the undermanned Rangers at bay, the Capers added a second run in the third, as Torre reached on an error and scored on a clutch two-out RBI single from junior rightfielder Katie Bozek.

Cape Elizabeth then put it away late, as in the sixth, Bozek doubled and scored on a single by sophomore second baseman Katie LeDoux and after LeDoux stole second and third base, she scored on an error to make it 4-0.

In the seventh, senior third baseman Kelly O’Sullivan hit an RBI triple, Bozek drove in another run with a single and LeDoux added an RBI single and the Capers went on to a 7-0 victory.

Cape Elizabeth generated 10 hits, Robicheaw threw a two-hitter with nine strikeouts and the Capers opened the season with a victory for the first time in three years, handing the Rangers their first Opening Day loss since 2013 in the process.

“It’s nice to get that first one under our belt,” said longtime Cape Elizabeth coach Joe Henrikson. “We almost didn’t play this, but the conditions weren’t that bad. I’m glad we got it in. Greely will be right in it. They were missing a few pieces today.” 

Not feeling like spring

Saturday afternoon was devoid of the warmth you’d hope for in the spring, but a new season kicked off nonetheless between a pair of teams expecting to, once again, be in the playoff hunt.

Cape Elizabeth went 11-7 a year ago, losing, 3-1, to Oak Hill in the Class B South quarterfinals. The Capers have some holes to fill this spring, but return Robicheaw and several other veterans.

Greely got all the way to the Class B South Final last season, losing, 4-3, to York to finish 15-4. The Rangers are relatively inexperienced this spring, but will still be a factor.

Last season, the teams split, each winning at home (Cape Elizabeth 2-0 and Greely 4-2).

Entering play Saturday, since the start of the 2002 season (see sidebar, below), the Capers had won 18 of 30 meetings with the Rangers.

This time around, with Greely playing without senior standout centerfielder Kayley Cimino and star senior shortstop Moira Train, who were out of town, Cape Elizabeth had a decided advantage and the Capers didn’t waste any time taking the lead.

Torre led off and reached when Rangers freshman centerfielder Hannah Johnston couldn’t handle her fly ball. Robicheaw then beat out an infield single. After Torre stole third, she came home on a wild pitch for a 1-0 lead. 

Greely junior ace Kelsey Currier escaped further damage, barely, by striking out sophomore shortstop Maddie Culkin and after O’Sullivan walked, fanning Bozek swinging and getting senior first baseman Grace Carignan to ground out softly to second base.

The Rangers hoped to get the run right back as sophomore Taylor LaFlamme led off the bottom half of the inning with a single to left, but freshman shortstop Sawyer Dusch grounded back to Robicheaw, who forced LaFlamme at second, Currier flew out to center and after Dusch stole second, Robicheaw fanned sophomore rightfielder Emma Spoerri to preserve the lead.

Currier was dominant in the top of the second, catching LeDoux looking at strike three, fanning freshman leftfielder Maddie Gillespie and striking out freshman catcher Elena Keller looking as well.

Robicheaw was every bit as overpowering in her side of the second, as she struck out senior second Isabella Perry swinging, got junior catcher Maddie Rawnsley to look at strike three and Johnston to do the same.

In the third, Cape Elizabeth doubled its lead, again with an unearned run.

Torre reached for the second time on an error, as Dusch couldn’t handle her ground ball. After Robicheaw popped out to short, O’Sullivan went the other way and ripped a single to left to put runners at first and second. That set the stage for Bozek, who singled to center on an 0-2 pitch and Torre came home while O’Sullivan went all the way to third. Carignan lined out to center, but the Capers had a 2-0 advantage.

Greely went in order again in the bottom half, as Robicheaw struck out freshman first baseman Ella Normandeau swinging, caught sophomore leftfielder Janelle Taylor looking at strike three, then got LaFlamme to ground out to third.

The top of the fourth started with a stellar defensive play by Dusch at short, as she went to her knees to snare a line drive off the bat of LeDoux. Currier then struck out Gillespie and Keller.

The Rangers tested Culkin’s defensive acumen in the bottom half, as Dusch’s sharp grounder forced her to go to her left before snaring the ball and throwing her out and Currier also hit the ball to the shortstop, but Dusch threw her out as well. After Spoerri went the other way and singled to right, Perry, representing the tying run, grounded out to third to end Greely’s final threat.

Torre hit the ball hard to start the fifth, but her liner was stabbed by Perry at second. Robicheaw grounded out to second, but Culkin reached on a hit to left and when the ball eluded Taylor, Culkin raced all the way to third. She would be stranded there, however, as Currier got O’Sullivan to stare at strike three.

In the bottom half, Rawnsley grounded out to second and Johnston and freshman pinch-hitter Marissa Hutchins both struck out swinging.

Cape Elizabeth rediscovered its offensive prowess in the sixth and doubled its lead.

Leading off, Bozek rapped a double to right.

“Last year, I hit against (Currier) once and I remembered her speed,” Bozek said. “I just had to get over that mental hurdle.”

Bozek took third when Carignan grounded out Normandeau to Perry, and scored easily when LeDoux singled to left. LeDoux then stole second and third in succession and after Gillespie looked at strike three, Spoerri couldn’t handle a ball off the bat of Keller and LeDoux scored to make it 4-0. Torre then popped out to end the inning.

Robicheaw continued to hold Greely at bay in the bottom half, catching Taylor looking at strike three before getting LaFlamme to line to left, with Gillespie making a terrific catch going one direction and leaning back to the other, and getting Dusch to line out to Bozek in right.

“Katie came up big today,” Henrikson said. “She was fighting for rightfield in the preseason. I’m pleased how she responded. She made a nice catch there with two hands. That catch (Gillespie made) was a slide-step and a backhand. That’s not freshmen stuff. To see that, that makes me excited.”

The Capers ended all doubt in the seventh with three more runs.

Robicheaw got the fun started with a single to left. Culkin flew out to right, but O’Sullivan came up with the big hit, a triple to left-center, which easily scored freshman pinch-runner Leah Holmes. Bozek then scored O’Sullivan with a bloop single to right and after Carignan lined out to left, Bozek moved up on a wild pitch and scored when LeDoux singled to right.

“I was really pleased with the bottom of the order after the second time through,” Henrikson said. “They started attacking the ball in the strike zone. Earlier, they let too many pitches go.” 

LeDoux took second on an error, but Gillespie struck out to end the uprising.

Robicheaw then slammed the door in the bottom of the seventh, getting Currier to fly out deep to left and Spoerri and Perry to both bounce out to Carignan at first to bring the curtain down on Cape Elizabeth’s 7-0 victory.

“It was a little rough playing today,” Bozek said. “This morning, we thought it would get cancelled, but we were ready.”

The Capers had four different players produce multiple hits, as Bozek had three (including a double) and LeDoux, O’Sullivan (who tripled) and Robicheaw all had two. Bozek and Torre scored two runs apiece, while Holmes, LeDoux and O’Sullivan had one each. Bozek and LeDoux both had two RBI and O’Sullivan added one. LeDoux stole two bases and O’Sullivan and Torre had one apiece.

Cape Elizabeth left two runners on base.

Robicheaw earned her first victory of the season by allowing just two hits and no walks in seven shutout innings. She struck out nine.

“Usually I’m not a fan of pitching on a day like this, but the mound wasn’t too bad and the rain cleared up,” Robicheaw said. “It was a big help having a lead. That gave me confidence. My fastball worked well today, moving it in and out of the strike zone helped. I got calls on the inside corner. My teammates helped. I have full confidence in them. It’s always nice to come here and win.”

“Jessie is always in control,” Bozek said. 

“Jessie pounded the zone and used her defense,” Henrikson added.

Greely left two runners on. Currier took the loss after giving up seven runs (four earned) on 10 hits and a walk. She struck out 11 and threw three wild pitches.

“We had seven people in a position they’ve never played before,” said Rangers coach Rob Hale. “Only Kelsey and (Maddie) have every played and only Kelsey has played varsity. We are much improved from our last game and we’re much improved from our first scrimmage. Kelsey did what she could do and didn’t try to play three different positions. She can’t get 21 outs by herself.”

Next up

Greely hopes to bounce back, but it’s on the road for three games next week, going to Gray-New Gloucester Monday, Kennebunk Wednesday and Yarmouth for a playoff rematch Friday.

“Right now, we’re the Bad News Bears and by the end of the year, I don’t know what I hope we’ll be, maybe the 1927 Yankees,” Hale said. “Kelsey will keep us in games. We want to get enough Heal Points to get in and hopefully make a run. Nothing will be easy this year. It’s a work in progress, but it’s a fun team.”

Cape Elizabeth plays its home opener Wednesday when Poland pays a visit. Friday, the Capers hope Fryeburg Academy.

“We need to work on hitting,” Robicheaw said. “That got better the second half of the game. I hope we can play like that all the time. We have a lot of potential.”

“I think we’re young, but we definitely have the ability to go far,” Bozek said. “This gives us a lot of confidence. This is a good boost. We’ll improve our fielding and our hitting because we can always get better. We’ll be ready to play every time out.”

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at mhoffer@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @foresports.

Cape Elizabeth sophomore pitcher Jessie Robicheaw delivers a strike.

Greely junior pitcher Kelsey Currier delivers a pitch.

Greely freshman centerfielder Hannah Johnston lines up a fly ball.

Cape Elizabeth junior third baseman Anna Torre throws out a runner.

Greely senior second baseman Isabella Perry catches a line drive.

Cape Elizabeth senior first baseman Grace Carignan records an out on Greely senior Isabella Perry.

Recent Cape Elizabeth-Greely results

2016
@ Cape Elizabeth 2 Greely 0
@ Greely 4 Cape Elizabeth 2 

2015
Greely 13 @ Cape Elizabeth 0
@ Greely 9 Cape Elizabeth 5

2014
Cape Elizabeth 12 @ Greely 3
@ Cape Elizabeth 10 Greely 6

2013
@ Cape Elizabeth 5 Greely 0

2012
@ Greely 8 Cape Elizabeth 5
Western B quarterfinals
@ Greely 6 Cape Elizabeth 0

2011
Cape Elizabeth 2 @ Greely 1
@ Cape Elizabeth 5 Greely 0

2010
Greely 14 @ Cape Elizabeth 6
@ Greely 4 Cape Elizabeth 3 (8)

2009
Cape Elizabeth 2 @ Greely 1
@ Cape Elizabeth 3 Greely 0

2008
Cape Elizabeth 3 @ Greely 1
@ Cape Elizabeth 3 Greely 2

2007
Cape Elizabeth 9 @ Greely 2
@ Cape Elizabeth 7 Greely 2
Western B Final
Cape Elizabeth 6 Greely 2

2006
Greely 6 @ Cape Elizabeth 1
@ Greely 8 Cape Elizabeth 7
Western B Final
Cape Elizabeth 10 Greely 0

2005
Greely 6 @ Cape Elizabeth 2
@ Greely 4 Cape Elizabeth 2

2004
Cape Elizabeth 7 @ Greely 5
@ Cape Elizabeth 2 Greely 1 (8)

2003
Cape Elizabeth 5 @ Greely 2
@ Cape Elizabeth 8 Greely 3

2002
@ Cape Elizabeth 2 Greely 0
@ Greely 13 Cape Elizabeth 0 (5)

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Sports Editor of The Forecaster since 2001. Find detailed game stories at theforecaster.net. I tweet prodigiously at @foresports.