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Greely sophomore shortstop Sawyer Dusch takes the throw as York sophomore pitcher Abby Orso steals one of her three bases in the Wildcats’ 6-0 win Monday. Orso threw a five-hitter and struck out 12.
Shawn Patrick Ouellette / Portland Press Herald photos.
CUMBERLAND—With York sophomore pitcher Abby Orso firing strikes past the Greely Rangers, the Wildcats didn’t need any additional help in a Western Maine Conference softball showdown Monday afternoon at Twin Brook Recreation Center, but the Rangers provided it.
Too much help as it turned out.
Seven errors worth, which hastened a quick end to Greely’s three-game win streak.
After Orso and Rangers senior Kelsey Currier matched zeroes for two innings, Orso gave York the lead for good in the third, reaching on an error, stealing second base, then scoring on a base hit from junior catcher Kayla Dredge.
More Greely largesse led to another Wildcats run in the fifth. After Orso reached on another error, an RBI single from senior shortstop Kiley Blondin made it 2-0.
The Rangers had a chance to answer in the bottom half, putting runners on second and third with two down and bringing Currier, the team’s top hitter, to the plate, but Orso struck her out.
Then, in the seventh, three more Greely errors brought in four more York runs and the Wildcats went on to a 6-0 victory.
Orso scattered five hits and struck out a dozen as York improved to 2-0 on the young season and in the process, dropped the Rangers to 3-2.
“We just didn’t make plays,” Greely coach Rob Hale said. “We didn’t play fundamental softball. It’s as simple as that.”
Neither team was on the short list of Class B South favorites prior to the season, but each has shown early promise.
York had played just one countable game to date, but it was an impressive one, a 5-0 victory at preseason favorite Wells.
Greely started slowly, falling at home to Wells in the opener, 6-0, but they turned it around and blanked visiting Cape Elizabeth (5-0), then rallied for three runs in the top of the seventh inning to stun host Gray-New Gloucester, 4-3, and Saturday, held off visiting Yarmouth, 3-2.
Last spring, the Rangers won both meetings, 3-0 at home and 14-7 in York.
Monday, the Wildcats earned their first win over Greely since 2016, as the Rangers gave them ample opportunities to turn miscues into runs.
Currier worked out of a jam in the top of the first, as after Orso singled to right-center, she stole second base. Currier then fanned Blondin looking, got Dredge to ground out to third, with Orso moving up a base, and junior first baseman Abi Kavanagh to ground out to short to end the frame.
In the bottom half, Currier walked leading off, but was also stranded. Sophomore shortstop Saywer Dusch looked at strike three, junior second baseman Anna Smith grounded out to first, with Currier taking second base, and senior catcher Maddie Rawnsley popped back to Orso, who made a nice running catch.
Currier registered three strikeouts in the second and stranded one runner. After fanning senior second baseman Wendy Donnell looking, senior centerfielder Lexi York blooped a single to right-center, then stole second. Currier responded by getting junior third baseman Katie Tetrault to watch strike three and after York stole third base, Currier got freshman rightfielder Meg Bachelder to strike out looking as well.
Greely went quietly in the bottom half, as Orso got junior centerfielder Taylor LaFlamme and freshman first baseman Lindsay Eisenhart to chase strike three and sophomore leftfielder Hannah Johnston to ground back to the mound on a full count pitch.
The Wildcats then scored the only run they’d need in the top of the third.
After Currier caught junior leftfielder Nikole Keech looking at strike three, Orso grounded the ball to Dusch at short, but she couldn’t handle it and Orso was aboard. And that spelled trouble. Orso stole second and after Blondin struck out swinging, Dredge lined a single to left and Orso came home with the game’s first run. Kavanagh followed with a ground ball to Smith, who threw the ball away to put runners at the corners. Kavanagh stole second and Donnell walked to load the bases, but York watched strike three to keep the score 1-0.
The Rangers couldn’t answer in the bottom half, as Orso caught junior third baseman Janelle Taylor looking at strike, blew strike three past freshman rightfielder Delia Knox and after Currier blooped a single to right on an 0-2 pitch for Greely’s first hit, Dusch lined the ball hard, but right at Donnell at second for the third out.
The fourth inning went quickly, as Currier got Tetreault to ground out to second on a 3-2 pitch, then struck out Bachelder swinging and freshman Colleen Daly looking and Orso retired Smith on a ground ball to second, fanned Rawnsley swinging and got LaFlamme to ground out to first on a 3-0 pitch.
York added an unearned run in the top of the fifth.
Orso led off with a sharp ground ball to third and it got through the legs of Taylor, allowing Orso to steam into second. Blondin then singled to right and Orso again scored easily for a 2-0 lead. Blondin took second on the throw home, then moved to third when Eisenhart dropped Dusch’s throw off a ground ball by Dredge. Currier then bore down and got Kavanagh to strike out, Donnell to pop out to second and York to bunt back to the mound, where Currier tagged Blondin coming home for the third out.
The Rangers had their best chance in the bottom half.
Eisenhart led off with a ground ball off Kavanagh’s glove for single. Johnston struck out swinging, but Eisenhart moved up when strike three went in the dirt. Taylor then popped up a bunt in front of the plate and when it landed between a lunging Dredge and Orso, Greely had runners at the corners. Knox struck out, but in the process, junior pinch-runner Courtney Rog stole second, putting the tying runs in scoring position for Currier. Orso then dug deep and fired strike three past a swinging Currier to end the threat and preserve the 2-0 lead.
“In that spot, we had the person up we wanted, but she’s a tough pitcher,” Hale said.
Currier channeled her frustration into a dominant top of the sixth, fanning Tetreault looking, Bachelder swinging and Daly swinging as well.
In the bottom of the frame, Dusch grounded back to the mound and Smith struck out swinging, but Rawnsley ripped a double over the head of York in center. Orso again escaped further damage by getting LaFlamme to ground out to second.
Any lingering doubt was set aside in the top of the seventh, when the Rangers helped the Wildcats score four more runs.
Orso led off with a slow roller to third and beat it easily for an infield single. After Orso stole her third base of the game, Blondin popped out to first, but Dredge’s grounder to short led to a throwing error, scoring Orso and allowing Dredge to reach safely. Junior Rachel Carr pinch-ran for Dredge and moved to second on a single to right by Kavanagh. Donnell followed with a fly ball to right that bounced off the glove of Knox for an error, which brought home a run and put runners at first and second. York looked at strike three, but Tetreault walked to load the bases and Bachelder’s ground ball got through Eisenhart’s legs for an error which scored two more runs. Daly grounded out to first to end it, but the damage was done and the Wildcats had a 6-0 advantage.
In the bottom half, Orso fanned Eisenhart swinging and after Johnston singled to right and moved up on a wild pitch, Taylor bounced out to second and Knox looked at strike three to end it.
Orso improved to 2-0 by pitching a five-hit shutout. She walked just one, struck out 12 and threw a wild pitch.
“(Abby’s) speed gave us trouble,” Hale said. “We fouled a lot of balls into their dugout. Her speed was too much for two-thirds of our lineup and she pitched Kelsey well.”
Orso also paced the offense with two hits, three runs scored and three stolen bases.
Carr, Donnell and Kavanagh also scored runs.
Blondin and Dredge had RBI.
York stole two bases and Kavanagh also had a steal.
The Wildcats stranded nine runners.
For Greely, Currier fell to 3-2 after giving up six runs (just one earned) on six hits. She walked two and struck out 14.
“Kelsey pitched probably her best game, but we handed them a lot of runs,” Hale said. “They didn’t hit the ball that solid.”
The Rangers’ offense was paced by a double from Rawnsley. Greely left six runners on base.
York is back in action Wednesday at Cape Elizabeth, then Saturday hosts Freeport.
Greely, meanwhile, is home against Freeport Wednesday and Lake Region Friday, as six of its first seven countable contests will be played at Twin Brook.
“I hope we’ll put this behind us,” Hale said. “I don’t think we’re big-headed. We have to play better defense for Kelsey. We still have some work to do and a lot of road games to play.”
York sophomore pitcher Abby Orso prepares to deal a strike.
Greely senior Kelsey Currier throws a pitch. Currier struck out 14, but took the loss.