After one of its finest seasons of recent vintage, the Greely softball team fell a couple of wins shy of its ultimate goal.
The Rangers hoped to win just the second Class B championship in program annals, but instead were eliminated in the semifinal round by Maranacook Saturday, 7-3.
Greely won 14 of 16 games this season, paced by an explosive offense, solid defense and the strong arm of senior Mary Zambello. The Rangers earned the No. 3 seed in Western B and got off to a hot postseason start last Friday with a 4-1 home win over No. 6 Lincoln in the quarterfinals.
Greely was down 1-0 after a half-inning, but tied the game in bottom of the first, scored twice in the second and once more in the third and went on to the victory behind Zambello’s five-hitter. Sophomore catcher Edith Aromando paced the defense by throwing out two baserunners attempting to steal, while seniors Karlee Biskup and Bryce McEwen and sophomore Katie Whittum all had two hits.
The run ended Saturday, however, at Maranacook as the Rangers fell behind 6-0 after three innings. Trailing 7-0 entering the seventh, Greely showed its heart, scoring three times, but it wasn’t enough and the Rangers ended up 15-3 after the 7-3 loss.
McEwen had two hits and an RBI and Biskup had a bases loaded walk for a run batted in. Senior standout Marika Stayte got to the plate as the tying run, but her bid for a game-tying grand slam fell a few feet short and was caught for the final out.
“Maranacook earned it,” said Greely coach Mike Robb. “Their pitcher kept us in check most of the way. We scored too little, too late. I was anticipating a better result this time. We took them to the limit.
“We had a great season. All three parts, offense, defense and pitching, came together quite well. (Moving the pitching mound back three feet) probably made more of a difference than we anticipated. Pitchers were equalized and it became more about hitting and defense. We’ve always played good defense. Our record wasn’t surprising based on a lot of girls loving the game and putting in time over the summer.”
Greely loses five seniors to graduation, but with several younger players seeing major playing time this spring, the Rangers have to be considered a top contender when the 2011 season rolls around.
“We’re losing four very good seniors (Biskup, Erika Kahn, McEwen and Stayte), but we have a lot of kids playing in the summer and we’ll be in the hunt again. I feel good about our chances next year. The girls are looking forward to it.”
Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org