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Greely junior pitcher Kelsey Currier delivers a strike to York’s Kayla Dredge during the Rangers’ 3-0 victory Friday afternoon.
Y- 000 000 0- 0 3 2
G- 001 020 x- 3 5 0
Cimino scored on passed ball.
Train grounded to short Spoerri scored. Cimino scored on throwing error.
G- Cimino 2, Spoerri
G- Train 2, Cimino, Perry
Left on base:
Orso and Kavanagh; Currier and Rawnsley
Orso (L) 6 IP 5 H 3 R 1 ER 1 BB 8 K 2 HBP, 2 WP
Currier (W, 7-5) 7 IP 3 H 0 R 0 BB 5 K
CUMBERLAND—As recently as three weeks ago, Greely’s softball team wasn’t expected to make the playoffs.
In fact, the Rangers hadn’t even won a game.
Fast forward three weeks, however, and everything has changed for the better and now, not only is Greely bound for the postseason, it might just make some noise once it gets there.
The Rangers, who lost their first four outings this season, have been sizzling of late and Friday afternoon at a blustery Twin Brook Recreation Center, they delivered a dose of revenge, making York, the squad which vanquished them in last year’s Class B South Final, their seventh victim in eight outings.
Greely junior ace Kelsey Currier was in control throughout, only allowing three hits, and the hosts got the only run they’d need in the bottom of the third inning when senior first baseman Kayley Cimino scored on a passed ball.
The Rangers added to their advantage in the fifth, as sophomore designated player Emma Spoerri scored on a ground ball off the bat of senior shortstop Moira Train and when the ensuing throw to first got away, Cimino came home as well.
Currier did the rest, closing out the Wildcats in a mere 1 hour, 29 minutes, and Greely went on to a 3-0 victory, improved to 7-5 and dropped York to 3-8 in the process.
“We’ve come a long way in a short time,” said Rangers coach Rob Hale. “I’m pleasantly surprised. I honestly did not think we’d make the playoffs, but we can play with anyone.”
After squaring off in last year’s regional final, both teams were hard hit by graduation and have had to endure some growing pains this spring.
York, which graduated standout pitcher Stephanie Rundlett, among others, opened with a 3-2 victory at Kennebunk, then lost at Yarmouth (4-3), at home to Wells (3-0), at home to Fryeburg Academy (14-0), at Wells (9-0), at home to Kennebunk (13-0), at Cape Elizabeth (3-2) and at home to Sacopee Valley (11-1), before bouncing back to defeat visiting Freeport (6-1) and Traip Academy (1-0).
Greely started 0-4, falling at home to Cape Elizabeth (7-0), at Gray-New Gloucester (12-0, in six-innings), at Kennebunk (8-7) and at Yarmouth (7-1), then the Rangers came to life by downing visiting Lake Region (14-2, in five-innings), Yarmouth (5-4, in nine-innings), Poland (2-1), Sacopee Valley (13-5), Kennebunk (5-3) and host Fryeburg Academy (5-4) in succession. Thursday, the Rangers’ streak ended with a 1-0 loss at Wells.
Last spring, York narrowly won both meetings, 5-4 at home in the regular season and 4-3 in the regional final.
Friday, Greely turned the tables and beat the Wildcats for the first time in three tries.
Currier started the game by getting York junior shortstop Kiley Blondin to ground back to the mound and junior third baseman Wendy Donnell to line out to right, but freshman pitcher Abigail Orso lined a double past the dive of Rangers freshman rightfielder Sawyer Dusch with two down. Orso would be stranded, however, as Currier got sophomore catcher Abigail Kavanagh to ground back to the mound.
Currier was hit a pitch leading off the bottom of the first, but after Cimino struck out swinging, Currier was thrown out trying to steal second. Train kept the inning alive by beating out an infield single, but junior catcher Maddie Rawnsley grounded out to first to end the threat.
Currier made quick work of the Wildcats in the top of the second, catching sophomore designated player Kayla Dredge looking at strike three and getting senior first baseman Sophia Stephens to fly to right before catching senior leftfielder Layne Petry looking at strike three.
Orso started the bottom half by fanning Greely sophomore centerfielder Taylor LaFlamme and senior second baseman Isabella Perry, but Dusch beat out a bunt single. Orso ended the frame by getting freshman third baseman Audrey Boyle to ground back to the mound.
Currier remained in command in the top of the third, getting senior centerfielder Julia Harrod to fly to right, fanning junior second baseman Julia Babcock and getting Blondin to ground back to the mound.
The Rangers then broke through in the bottom half, with a little help.
Spoerri led off by grounding out to second and Currier bounced out to short, but Cimino hit a hard single up the middle and stole second. With Train at the plate, Cimino took third on a wild pitch and after Train walked, Cimino scored on a passed ball. Rawnsley then struck out to keep the score 1-0.
The visitors got the tying run in scoring position in the fourth, but couldn’t come through.
After Donnell popped out foul to Cimino at first, Orso reached for the second time, on an infield single to the hole between short and third. Kavanagh sacrificed Orso to second, but Dredge bounced back to the pitcher to end the frame.
In the bottom half, LaFlamme was out on a bunt to third and after Perry was hit in the helmet but stayed in the game, Dusch sacrificed her into scoring position before Boyle ended the threat by striking out.
Currier got some help from her defense in the fifth, as freshman leftfielder Hannah Johnson made a nice catch on a deep fly off the bat of Stephens and Train followed by leaping to catch Patry’s line drive. The ball appeared bound for leftfield, but the wind allowed it to hang up for Train to make the play.
“You don’t know where the ball is going on a day like this,” Train said. “It can start out in leftfield then come to me at short.”
Currier then struck out Harrod on a full count pitch to retire the side.
Greely extended its advantage in the bottom half.
Leading off, Spoerri lined a single past Stephens at first and after Currier popped out to short, Cimino reached on an infield single to the hole and a wild pitch put both runners in scoring position. Train followed with a ground ball to the left of shortstop Blondin, who made a nice stab. With Spoerri coming home easily to score, Blondin rushed a throw to first and threw the ball away, allowing Cimino to come home as well to make it 3-0. Train took second on the play. Rawnsley struck out and after Train stole third, LaFlamme also fanned.
Currier started the top of the sixth with a nice defensive play, racing off the mound to snare Babcock’s bunt and throw her out. After Blondin struck out looking, Donnell kept the inning alive by reaching on a wind blown single to right, but Orso grounded out to short for the third out.
Perry started the bottom half by reaching on an error by Orso, but after Dusch sacrificed her to second, Boyle struck out looking. Perry stole third, but was stranded there when Spoerri bounced back to the mound.
Currier quickly slammed the door in the seventh.
After getting Kavanagh to pop to Train at short, Currier got Dredge to pop to second and ended the game by inducing a fly to right off the bat of Stephens to secure the 3-0 victory.
“We thought about last year,” Currier said. “This was a big thing, to beat them today.”
“I think we’re working a lot better as a team,” Train said. “At the beginning of the season, people didn’t think we’d be very good. We’ve worked on the fundamentals. Based on the first couple games, I wasn’t expecting much, but I hoped we’d come around.”
“We grinded it out,” Hale added. “It was our first game without an error. We helped Kelsey out today.”
Currier improved to 7-5 by throwing a three-hit shutout with no walks. She struck out five.
“(The wind was) good for me because it makes my pitches move more,” Currier said. “I felt pretty good and our defense is coming along which made me better on the mound.”
“(Kelsey) hit her spots,” Hale said. “We’re helping out our pitcher and she doesn’t have to get strikeouts. That allows her to do her job. She’s not a strikeout pitcher. She gets a few, but she doesn’t have to get them.”
The Rangers got two hits from Cimino, who also scored twice. Spoerri had the other run. Train had the game’s lone RBI. Train also stole two bases, while Cimino and Perry had one each.
Greely left six runners on base.
Two of York’s three hits came off the bat of Orso, who took the loss after giving up three runs (just one earned) in six innings. Orso walked one batter, struck out eight, threw two wild pitches and hit two batters.
The Wildcats left three runners on.
York appears playoff-bound, but could help its standing with a few more victories. The Wildcats (11th in the Class B South Heal Points, where 12 teams qualify) host Gray-New Gloucester Monday, go to Poland Wednesday, welcome Greely in a rematch Friday, then close at Lake Region May 31.
Greely (second to Wells in Class B South) has a chance to finish with a high seed, again. The Rangers are at Cape Elizabeth Monday, host Freeport Wednesday, play at York Friday, then close with a big test at Gray-New Gloucester May 30.
“We have to come to practice every day and work hard and work on communication to keep getting better,” Currier said.
“We want to go as far as we can,” Train said. “That’s a goal of ours. We realize if we work hard in practice, we can go as far as possible.”