Greely softball holds off Cape, continues late-season peak

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Greely junior shortstop Moira Train, left, and senior first baseman Miranda Eisenhart congratulate sophomore pitcher Kelsey Currier after the Rangers close out Cape Elizabeth, 4-2, in a battle of playoff-bound squads Friday afternoon.

Chris Lambert photos.

More photos below.

BOX SCORE

Greely 4 Cape Elizabeth 2

CE- 001 010 0- 2 6 4
G- 011 110 x- 4 6 1

Bottom 2nd
Carrell doubled to right-center, Train scored.

Top 3rd
Nicholson doubled to right-center, O’Sullivan scored.

Bottom 3rd
Benoit singled to center, Kelsey Currier scored.

Bottom 4th
Train scored on error.

Top 5th
O’Sullivan doubled to left-center, LeDoux scored.

Bottom 5th
Benoit singled to center, Felkel scored.

Repeat hitters:
CE- Nicholson, O’Sullivan, Torre
G- Benoit

Runs:
CE- LeDoux, O’Sullivan
G- Train 2, Kelsey Currier, Felkel

RBI:
CE- Nicholson, O’Sullivan
G- Benoit 2, Carrell

Doubles:
CE- Nicholson, O’Sullivan
G- Carrell, Kelsey Currier

Left on base:
CE- 4
G- 6

Robicheaw and Haller; Kelsey Currier and Smith

CE:
Robicheaw (L, 8-5) 6 IP 6 H 4 R 1 ER 3 BB 6 K 2 WP

G:
Currier (W, 12-2) 7 IP 6 H 2 R 2 ER 1 BB 3 K 1 HBP

Time: 1:23

CUMBERLAND—It appears that the Greely Rangers have saved their best softball for when it matters most.

The Rangers have stumbled a few times this spring, but in a season devoid of a Class B South favorite, Greely is rounding into top form just in time for the playoffs.

Friday afternoon at Twin Brook Recreation Center, the Rangers hosted rival Cape Elizabeth on Senior Day and avenged a loss from a couple weeks ago with an opportunistic performance.

Greely scored an unearned run in the second inning, when junior shortstop Moira Train reached on an error and scored when senior rightfielder Evan Carrell belted an RBI double.

After the Capers tied the score in the top of the third on a two-out RBI double from senior shortstop Megan Nicholson, the Rangers went on top to stay in the bottom half when a throwing error put sophomore pitcher Kelsey Currier in scoring position and senior leftfielder Charlotte Benoit brought her in with an RBI single.

Greely tacked on a third unearned run in the fourth, as Train scored on an error for a 3-1 lead.

Cape Elizabeth made things interesting in the fifth, when junior centerfielder Kelly O’Sullivan hit a two-out, run-scoring double. O’Sullivan moved to third on an error, but Currier stranded her by striking out Nicholson.

In the bottom of the fifth, the Rangers scored their lone earned run, as Benoit’s bloop single scored senior third baseman Sarah Felkel.

Currier did the rest with her arm and her glove and Greely went on to a 4-2 victory.

Train scored twice, Benoit had two hits and drove in two runs and Currier scattered six hits as the Rangers won their seventh game in succession, improved to 12-3, handed the Capers their third loss in a row and dropped them to 10-5 in the process.

“We came into this game really wanting to come out with a win and not just because it was Senior Day,” said Benoit. “We played it like it was a playoff game. The excitement and the intensity were great.”

Parity

Both teams have won their share of games this season, but lagged behind York and Oak Hill in the Class B South Heal Points standings heading into play Friday.

After sandwiching losses to visiting Wells (12-4) and host York (2-1, in 10 innings) around a 15-3 home victory over Kennebunk, Cape Elizabeth started a nine-game streak with a dramatic 5-4 home win over Falmouth. The Capers then won at Kennebunk (10-6), at home over Sacopee Valley (19-3), at Freeport (13-3), at Fryeburg Academy (3-0), at Gray-New Gloucester (13-9, in a 10-inning marathon), at home over Greely (2-0), at home over Lake Region (17-5, in five-innings) and at home over Poland (11-2). Last Friday, Cape Elizabeth fell at home to Yarmouth, 5-3, and followed that with a 2-1 setback at Traip Academy Monday.

Greely scored late to beat both visiting Fryeburg Academy (2-1) and Wells (7-4), then slugged its way past visiting Yarmouth (7-1) before losing at York, 5-4. A 3-0 win at Falmouth was followed by a 6-3 setback at Sacopee Valley. The up-and-down play continued with an 11-0 home win over Kennebunk and a 2-0 loss at Cape Elizabeth. The Rangers then put it together, beating visiting Poland (9-7), host Old Orchard Beach (13-1), Fryeburg Academy (6-1) and Gray-New Gloucester (7-5) and visiting Falmouth (10-3) and Lake Region (5-0).

Entering play Friday, since the start of the 2002 season (see sidebar, below), the Capers had won 18 of 29 meetings with the Rangers. That includes the 2-0 home win May 11, a game which saw O’Sullivan rob Greely junior centerfielder Kayley Cimino of a home run, freshman second baseman Maddie Culkin go deep for Cape Elizabeth and freshman pitcher Jessie Robicheaw throw a two-hit shutout.

This time around, on an overcast 62-degree afternoon, the Rangers got their bats on the ball and took advantage of four Capers’ errors to prevail.

O’Sullivan started the game with a ground out to third, but Nicholson reached on a single to center. Senior catcher Tess Haller then hit the ball hard, but it was right at Carrell in right. Robicheaw then ended the frame by grounding out to second.

Robicheaw hinted at another dominant effort when she struck out Felkel and Currier to start the bottom of the inning. Benoit then popped out back to the mound.

In the second, Currier got Culkin to look at strike three and senior rightfielder Sam Feenstra to bounce out to third, but sophomore third baseman Anna Torre blooped a single to center. With freshman leftfielder Alison Ingalls at the plate, Torre tried to steal second, but she was thrown out by Greely junior catcher Jennie Smith.

The Rangers then broke through in the bottom half.

Cimino started the frame by looking at strike three, but Train’s ground ball got past Torre at third for an error. Train moved to second on a wild pitch and took third when senior designated player Kate Currier flew out to deep center. That brought up Carrell, who did what Greely couldn’t do in the first meeting, produce a clutch hit, in this case a double to right-center. Train scored easily and even though senior first baseman Miranda Eisenhart fouled out to first, the Rangers had a 1-0 lead.

The Capers promptly answered in the third.

After Ingalls struck out looking and junior first baseman Grace Carignan popped out to second, O’Sullivan went the other way and beat out an infield single to the hole between shortstop and third. That brought up Nicholson, who doubled to right-center and O’Sullivan rounded the bases to tie the score. Haller tried to put Cape Elizabeth ahead with a deep fly ball to center, but Cimino ran it down to keep the score 1-1.

Senior second baseman Lexi Faietta struck out for the first out in the bottom of the frame, but Felkel walked. Kelsey Currier grounded into a shortstop-to-second force out, but Culkin’s throw to first got away and Currier went to second on the error. Benoit then came through with a single to right-center, which glanced off the glove of the diving Culkin and Currier scored for a 2-1 lead.

“We’ve worked on hitting,” Benoit said. “We have a strong lineup where everyone can capitalize if the other team makes a mistake.”

Cimino popped out to second to end the inning.

Currier set the Capers down in the order in the fourth, as Robicheaw and Culkin both flew deep to Cimino in center and Feenstra bounced back to the mound.

Greely added to its lead with another unearned run in its half of the inning, as Train walked on four pitches, moved to second on a passed ball and after Kate Currier struck out, Carrell’s sharp grounder to third bounced off Torre for an error and ricocheted into centerfield and Train came home for a 3-1 lead. Eisenhart grounded to the mound with Carrell taking third, but she was stranded, as Faietta also grounded out back to the mound.

Cape Elizabeth almost drew even in the fifth.

Torre led off by lining back to Currier (it wouldn’t be the last big defensive play she’d make) and Ingalls bounced back to the mound and was thrown out by a step. Carignan drew a walk and was replaced by freshman courtesy runner Katie LeDoux who raced all the way home when O’Sullivan ripped a double to left-center. When Train’s throw home to try and catch LeDoux got away, O’Sullivan, representing the tying run, went to third. She wouldn’t advance, however, as Currier bore down and struck out Nicholson swinging to keep Greely ahead 3-2.

The Rangers had a chance to blow the game open in the bottom half, but settled for one run.

Felkel walked leading off and Kelsey Currier lofted a double down the leftfield line to put runners at second and third. Benoit then blooped a single to center, scoring Felkel, but Currier was thrown out at third. Freshman Anna Smith ran for Benoit and took second when Cimino singled up the middle. Train then hit a little pop up in front of second. Culkin got it on a bounce, but her throw to third for a force was wild, loading the bases. Greely couldn’t produce a crooked number, however, as Kate Currier looked at strike three and Carrell grounded out to short with Carignan making a nice scoop at first to retire the side and keep the deficit at 4-2.

In the sixth, Haller flew out to center and Robicheaw followed with a drive to deep center which Cimino ran down. Culkin hoped to spark a rally when she was hit by a pitch, but Feenstra flew out to right for the third out.

In the bottom of the frame, the Rangers failed to score for the first time since the first inning, as Eisenhart flew out to O’Sullivan, who made a nice running catch in center, and after Faietta beat out an infield hit and moved up on a wild pitch, she tried to continue on to third, but was thrown out. Felkel then grounded back to the mound.

Currier slammed the door in the seventh, doing so with her glove, not her arm.

Torre singled to left to bring the tying run to the plate in the form of Ingalls, who hit a soft line drive back to the mound which Currier snagged. Currier then turned and saw Torre off first and threw to Eisenhart to complete the double play, taking the air out of the Capers’ sails.

“I think that’s the most balls I’ve gotten in the air all season,” Currier said. “It was two more outs we didn’t have to worry about.”

“If we went to the eighth inning, the other eight girls were going to take their gloves off,” joked Greely coach Rob Hale. “(Kelsey) fields her position very well. She’s athletic. She wants the ball hit to her.”

If that wasn’t impressive enough, Currier made one more nice defensive play when she caught Carignan’s line drive to put a bow on Greely’s 4-2 victory, which took just 83 minutes to complete.

“They’re a good team and we just had to bear down and get the outs,” Kelsey Currier said. “We had to work hard to beat them.”

“We hadn’t strung a couple good games together, but we have now,” Hale added. “When we hit the ball (in the game at Cape Elizabeth), it was right at someone. We had some seeing eye hits today. Some of today’s hits were outs last time. Our losses were error-filled and today, we didn’t have that.”

Currier improved to 12-2 after allowing two earned runs on six hits in seven innings. She walked one, hit a batter and struck out three.

“I was hitting my spots and not trying to put it right down the middle,” Currier said.

“Kelsey has been great,” Benoit said. “It’s so nice being in the field and being able to trust that she can handle the hitters and field her position. She knows what she’s doing.”

“Kelsey gets out of jams,” Hale said. “She likes jams. We don’t, but she does.”

Benoit was the Rangers’ lone multiple hitter and also drove in two runs. Train scored twice, while Kelsey Currier and Felkel also touched home. Carrell had an RBI.

Greely stranded six runners.

Robicheaw fell to 8-5 after surrendering four runs (just one earned) on six hits in six innings. She walked three and threw a pair of wild pitches, but fanned six.

Cape Elizabeth got two hits apiece from Nicholson, O’Sullivan and Torre. LeDoux and O’Sullivan scored runs and Nicholson and O’Sullivan had RBI.

The Capers left four runners on base.

“We hit the ball hard,” Henrikson said. “We really hit the ball hard, but I’m not making any excuses. We had some misplays. They put pressure on us and we had some walks and we had errors and they capitalized. You have to play clean against good teams. We had been playing clean until the past week.”

Seeking a bye

Cape Elizabeth (fifth in the Class B South Heal Points standings) seeks to end its skid in the regular season finale Tuesday, but it won’t come easily at Yarmouth. The Capers need to win to have a chance to avoid playing in a preliminary round playoff game.

Regardless where Cape Elizabeth winds up, the Capers will be confident.

“I think we’ll be in the mix,” Henrikson said. “I think we can play with anybody. Everybody is almost equal.”

Greely (currently third in Class B South) finishes with a makeup game at Freeport Saturday, then will take aim at June glory.

“We’re finally stringing our hits together and we’re fielding well,” Kelsey Currier said. “There are a few things we have to work on, but we’re in a good spot. I think we have a good shot of getting to the end.”

“We feel good about our chances,” Benoit said. “We have things to work on, but they’re fixable. We have as good a chance as anyone.”

“If we have a letdown tomorrow, the last three games were for naught, but I feel like we’re playing our best ball now,” Hale added. “This is what we’ve been looking for. There are 11 teams who could win it. We’re one of them. We’ll all have records like 12-4, 13-3. If we don’t make errors, we can compete with anyone. Let the fun begin.”

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

Greely sophomore Kelsey Currier delivers to the plate. Currier improved to 12-2.

Greely senior first baseman Miranda Eisenhart does the splits to record an out on Cape Elizabeth junior Kelly O’Sullivan.

Greely senior third baseman Sarah Felkel prepares to throw to first base.

Greely senior Evan Carrell makes a catch in rightfield.

Greely junior shortstop Moira Train tags out Cape Elizabeth sophomore Anna Torre on a steal attempt in the second inning.

Greely junior Moira Train slides in with the Rangers’ third run as Cape Elizabeth senior catcher Tess Haller takes the late throw in the fourth inning.

Greely sophomore pitcher Kelsey Currier rips a fifth inning double.

Cape Elizabeth sophomore third baseman Anna Torre prepares to tag out Greely senior Lexi Faietta at third base in the sixth inning.

Recent Cape Elizabeth-Greely results

2016
@ Cape Elizabeth 2 Greely 0

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.