Greely junior second baseman Anna Smith (13), along with sophomore shortstop Sawyer Dusch, gives sophomore centerfielder Hannah Johnston a celebratory hug after Johnston’s lead-preserving catch in the top of the fifth inning of the Rangers’ 3-2 home win over rival Yarmouth Saturday afternoon.
Mike Strout photos.
More photos below.
CUMBERLAND—Whether or not Kelsey Currier is a strikeout pitcher is open to debate.
What Currier is without a shadow of a doubt, however, is an ace pitcher who also wields a potent bat and Saturday afternoon at Twin Brook Recreation Center, Currier’s myriad skills helped Greely’s softball team continue its fast start at the expense of rival Yarmouth.
Currier, a senior, who is now in her fourth season pitching for the Rangers, allowed a run in the top of the first inning, as Clippers sophomore first baseman Tasha Powers singled in senior centerfielder Sophie McGrath, but in the bottom of the frame, Currier led off with a double to center and came home with the tying run on an RBI ground out from sophomore first baseman Audrey Boyle.
After Currier mowed down Yarmouth in the top of the second, Greely went on top to stay in the bottom half, as sophomore leftfielder Zoe Folce walked with the bases loaded and sophomore shortstop Sawyer Dusch hit an RBI single for a 3-1 lead.
Yarmouth answered in the third, as McGrath doubled and junior second baseman Lydia Guay followed with an RBI double.
The Clippers then had a great chance to draw even in the fifth, but with Guay at second and two outs, senior catcher Cate Ralph’s line drive was hit right at Rangers sophomore centerfielder Hannah Johnston, who recorded the final out.
Currier did the rest, setting Yarmouth down in order in the sixth and seventh innings, recording four of the final six outs via the strikeout, and Greely held on for a 3-2 victory.
The Rangers won their third straight game, improved to 3-1 on the season and handed the Clippers a defeat in their opener.
“No one expects much of us, but if we keep working hard, I think we can go a long way,” Currier said.
Greely and Yarmouth are accustomed to doing battle in June with the season on the line (they’ve played in the postseason the past five years), but the rivals’ first 2018 meeting came in late April after the originally scheduled contest was twice delayed by bad weather.
The Rangers were ousted by the Clippers in last year’s quarterfinals, but with Currier back, have to be viewed as a contender and after falling at home to Wells in the opener, 6-0, they blanked visiting Cape Elizabeth (5-0), then rallied for three runs in the top of the seventh inning Friday to stun host Gray-New Gloucester, 4-3.
“That was really nice,” Currier said. “It was hard in the pouring rain, but it helped us as a team as a whole.”
Yarmouth, which reached the semifinals in 2017, losing to Wells, welcomed former volunteer assistant Sandra Sanford as its new coach this season, but until Saturday, the Clippers weren’t able to get on the field, as games against York, Greely and Poland were all postponed by rain.
Heading into Saturday’s contest, the Rangers had beaten the Clippers in 21 of 27 regular season meetings dating back to the start of the 2002 season (see sidebar, below), but the teams split six playoff meetings in that span.
Saturday, under pleasant 55 degree skies with a 13 mile-per-hour wind, Greely did just enough to defeat Yarmouth again.
McGrath led off the game by taking Currier’s first offering and looping a little line drive just over Boyle’s glove for a single. After McGrath stole second, Currier fanned Guay, then did the same to Ralph on a 3-2 pitch, but Powers came through, singling to left to score the game’s first run. Freshman shortstop Margaret McNeil struck out to end the frame, but the Clippers had the jump.
Greely answered right back.
Currier led off with a blast that hit the base of the centerfield fence and she cruised into second base with a double. Currier moved to third when Dusch grounded back to Yarmouth junior pitcher Ceanne Lyon, then came home when Boyle grounded out to shortstop. Lyon got junior second baseman Anna Smith to bounce out to second, but the game was deadlocked, 1-1.
Currier settled down in the top of the second, getting Clippers junior third baseman Cayte Tillotson to ground out to Smith, fanning senior leftfielder Hannah Merrill swinging and getting Lyon to line out to second base.
The Rangers then went on top to stay in the bottom half.
Lyon’s first pitch of the frame hit senior catcher Maddie Rawnsley in the leg. Freshman rightfielder Lindsey Eisenhart then singled up the middle and Johnston beat out a bunt single to load the bases. Folce walked on a 3-2 pitch to score Rawnsley and Greely had the lead for the first time.
Lyon appeared poised to escape further damage, as she induced junior third baseman Janelle Taylor to ground into a pitcher-to-catcher-to-first base double play, but after Currier was intentionally walked to reload the bases, Dusch singled to center, scoring Johnston. On the play, Folce tried to score as well, but was thrown out to keep the score 3-1 after two innings.
Yarmouth got a run back in the top of the third, as after sophomore rightfielder Adriana Whitlock was called out for making contact with the ball while being out of the batter’s box, McGrath blooped a double to right, stole third and scored easily when Guay doubled over the head of Eisenhart in right. After Currier struck out Ralph swinging, Guay stole third, but she was stranded when Currier fanned Powers swinging to end the threat, keeping the score 3-2.
And that’s how it would remain.
Lyon set Greely down in order in the bottom of the third, getting freshman Delia Knox to look at strike three, Smith to bounce out to short and fanning Rawnsley on a 3-2 pitch.
The Clippers put the tying run on in the fourth, but couldn’t pull even.
McNeil struck out leading off and after Tillotson singled to center and courtesy runner Alex Auger stole second, Currier struck out Merrill swinging and got Lyon to ground out to second on a 3-0 pitch.
Lyon made quick work of the Rangers in the bottom half, getting Eisenhart to bounce out to third, Johnston to ground back to the mound and Folce to look at strike three.
Yarmouth’s last, best chance came in the top of the fifth, but it wasn’t to be.
After Whitlock was out for the second time for making contact out of the batter’s box and McGrath popped back to Currier, Guay singled to center on a 3-2 pitch and stole second base. That brought up Ralph, who fell behind 0-2 before ripping a shot to center.
Unfortunately for the Clippers, and luckily for the Rangers, the ball was hit right at Johnston, who only had to stick out her glove to record the out to retire the side.
“(Hannah’s) normally in left, but I’m missing two starters, so she got moved over,” Greely coach Rob Hale said. “She was as surprised as the rest of us. There’s always someone doing something for us.”
“On any given day, if that ball was a few feet left or right, that would have been a double or triple,” Sanford lamented.
Greely had a chance to get some insurance in the bottom half, but stranded a pair of runners.
After Taylor bounced out to second, Currier singled to left and Dusch singled to right to put runners at the corners. Currier never would come home, however, as Boyle, who hurt her right hand earlier in the game and was swinging one-handed, looked at strike three and Smith grounded back to the mound.
Currier fanned Powers and McNeil to start the top of the sixth, then got Tillotson to ground to Boyle, who flipped the ball to Smith covering just in the nick of time to record the third out.
Lyon quickly set the Rangers down in order in the bottom half, getting Rawnsley to line to short, Eisenhart to ground out to third and Johnston to strike out swinging.
Yarmouth had the bottom of its order up in the seventh and pinch-hit junior Gabby Colby-George for Merrill leading off, but she struck out swinging. Currier then got Lyon to ground back to the mound before striking out Whitlock swinging to end the game in a tidy 87 minutes with Greely on top, 3-2.
“We wanted to get more runs, but we picked it up on defense and that was enough,” Currier said.
Currier improved to 3-1 by allowing just two runs on five hits in seven innings. She didn’t walk a batter and struck out a dozen.
“I don’t really try to (get strikeouts),” Currier said. “I try to rely on my team behind me because I have confidence in them and myself. (Yarmouth’s) really developed as a hitting team and we just had to be aware of that. I was trying to keep them off balance and hoping they would swing.”
“Kelsey and Maddie were in synch,” Hale said. “Kelsey didn’t use her change-up, but she hit her spots. I still don’t think she’s a strikeout pitcher, but if I’m wrong every game, I’ll take it.”
The Rangers’ offense was paced by two hits apiece from Currier and Dusch. Currier, Johnston and Rawnsley all scored runs. Boyle, Dusch and Folce had RBI.
Greely stranded four runners.
For Yarmouth, McGrath had two hits and two runs scored. Guay also touched home plate. Guay and Powers had RBI.
The Clippers stole five bases, but left four runners on base.
“I thought we played solid defense for a first game out,” Sanford said. “It was nice to get out here. The girls were chomping at the bit.”
Lyon fell to 0-1 after giving up three runs on six hits in six innings. She walked two, hit a batter and struck out five.
“I thought (Ceanne) was very solid today,” Sanford said. “I was very happy with how she pitched.”
The teams meet again May 14 in Yarmouth, but will have several games first.
Yarmouth seeks to get in the win column for the first time Wednesday when it hosts Poland. The Clippers visit Wells in a playoff rematch Friday.
“We’ve got some work to do,” Sanford said. “It would have been nice to come out with a win, but I’m happy with our start. We played well against a solid pitcher and a good team.”
Greely has three home games upcoming next week, Monday against York, Wednesday versus Freeport and Friday against Lake Region.
Greely senior ace Kelsey Currier delivers a pitch. Currier earned the win and struck out 12.
Yarmouth junior pitcher Ceanne Lyon readies a delivery.
Yarmouth freshman shortstop Margaret McNeil fields a ground ball.
Yarmouth junior second baseman Lydia Guay prepares to swing at a pitch.
Yarmouth junior Lydia Guay steals third base as Greely junior third baseman Janelle Taylor takes the throw.
Greely senior Kelsey Currier prepares to make contact.
Greely sophomore first baseman Audrey Boyle fields a ground ball off the bat of Yarmouth junior Catye Tillotson.
@ Yarmouth 7 Greely 1
Class B South quarterfinal
@ Yarmouth 2 Greely 1
@ Greely 5 Yarmouth 4
Western B quarterfinals
@ Yarmouth 15 Greely 11
@ Greely 7 Yarmouth 1
Greely 11 @ Yarmouth 8
Western B quarterfinals
@ Greely 9 Yarmouth 3
@ Greely 12 Yarmouth 0 (5)
Greely 8 @ Yarmouth 0
@ Yarmouth 11 Greely 5
Yarmouth 8 @ Greely 7 (8)
@ Greely 10 Yarmouth 4
Greely 8 @ Yarmouth 1
Greely 9 @ Yarmouth 1
@ Greely 2 Yarmouth 0
@ Greely 15 Yarmouth 7
@ Yarmouth 4 Greely 0
Greely 5 @ Yarmouth 2
@ Greely 5 Yarmouth 4
Yarmouth 3 @ Greely 2
@ Yarmouth 6 Greely 1
Western B semifinal
Greely 3 @ Yarmouth 2
@ Greely 2 Yarmouth 1
Greely 6 @ Yarmouth 1
Greely 3 @ Yarmouth 1
@ Greely 3 Yarmouth 0
@ Greely 5 Yarmouth 2
Greely 7 @ Yarmouth 1
@ Greely 12 Yarmouth 0 (5)