Falmouth edges Greely in slugfest
FALMOUTH—Just 24 hours after suffering an 11-7 loss at rival Greely, the Falmouth softball team got another crack at its rival and this time, the Yachtsmen got the job done.
Saturday afternoon at Stetson Memorial Field, Falmouth overcame some early sloppiness to grab a 7-3 lead, but the potent Rangers parlayed four two-out hits into a four-run rally in the top of the sixth inning to tie the score.
With the possibility of an agonizing loss staring them in the face, the Yachtsmen dug deep and got a clutch RBI triple from sophomore first baseman Liz Walker to retake the lead.
That left the game in the able right hand of junior pitcher Amanda Carver, who closed the game with a 1-2-3 inning and Falmouth held on for a much-needed 8-7 victory.
The Yachtsmen improved to 3-3, dropped Greely to 6-2 and earned a big dose of confidence in the process.
"We'll take it," said Falmouth's first-year coach Ray Fox. "We needed it. It gives us confidence and energy. The program's going in the right direction."
Back and forth
Greely has long been a top contender in Western Class B and a year ago, got to the regional final before losing to Fryeburg, 8-1.
The Rangers welcomed a new coach in Jess Gomez this spring, but had no answers for Fryeburg in the opener, a 4-1 home loss. Greely, behind timely hitting and the pitching of senior Dani Cimino, then rattled off six straight victories: 15-2 over visiting Lake Region, 2-0 against visiting Gray-New Gloucester, 6-0 at Poland, 9-0 over visiting Sacopee, 4-2 against visiting Wells and 11-7 over Falmouth Friday afternoon at Twin Brook Recreation Center.
Falmouth was an 8-9 team a year ago, reaching the Western B preliminary round, where it lost, 7-4, to Gray-New Gloucester.
This season, Fox took over and the Yachtsmen struggled in their opener, losing at Cape Elizabeth, 11-1. After a 4-3 win at Freeport, Falmouth was blanked by visiting Fryeburg (10-0), then won, 4-2, over visiting Gray-New Gloucester. Friday's 11-7 loss at Greely followed, but the Yachtsmen did erupt for four runs in the final inning to make it respectable.
Last year, the Rangers drubbed host Falmouth, 14-2, in a mercy rule five inning game. The Yachtsmen came into Saturday's contest having dropped four straight to Greely, including a 2-1 loss in the 2011 preliminary round of the playoffs. Falmouth last beat the Rangers, 11-5, at Greely, May 7, 2011.
Saturday, the Yachtsmen got over the hump, but it wasn't easy.
Falmouth's shaky defense almost did it in at the start of the game, committing three errors in the top of the first inning.
Greely freshman shortstop Sarah Felkel hinted at a sensational day to come when she led off with a single over third. Sophomore centerfielder Haley Felkel sacrificed Sarah Felkel to second and a sharp single to left from junior third baseman Elyse Dinan scored the first run. Dinan moved to second when Walker couldn't come up with the ball and took third when the throw to the infield went awry. After Carver fanned Cimino for the second out, sophomore leftfielder Miranda Moore reached on an error by Falmouth senior second baseman Jayde Bazinet and Dinan came home to make it 2-0.
The Yachtsmen bounced right back in their half of the first to take the lead.
Senior third baseman Maddie Inlow led off with a walk, moved to second on a sacrifice by junior catcher Alyse Bazinet and moved to third when freshman shortstop Julia Treadwell blooped a single to right. After Treadwell stole second, Inlow came home on a passed ball and Treadwell moved to third. After Walker drew a walk and stole second, Carver grounded out to second and Treadwell scored to tie it, with Walker moving to third on the play. Another passed ball scored Walker and Falmouth was up, 3-2.
Carver retired the first two hitters in the second, but Sarah Felkel singled to left, Haley Felkel beat out an infield single and Dinan reached on an error to load the bases. Cimino then grounded sharply to Treadwell, who made a nice pickup and threw to Inlow just in time for the force out to retire the side.
The Yachtsmen got a two-out triple from Inlow in the bottom half, but she was stranded when Alyse Bazinet grounded out to second.
Moore led off the top of the third with a single, but Carver retired the next three hitters.
Falmouth then extended its lead in the bottom of the inning.
Treadwell reached on an error to start, Walker reached on a bunt single and after Carver bunted the runners into scoring position, Treadwell came home on a wild pitch and Walker scored on an error by Greely freshman catcher Charlotte Benoit. With two down, freshman first baseman Jess Collins doubled and junior designated player Chelsea Fagan was hit by a pitch, but Cimino worked out of the jam by striking out freshman centerfielder Krysia Lesniak.
The Rangers crept back to 5-3 in the top of the fourth when Sarah Felkel doubled with one out and Dinan singled to center to score her one out later.
Falmouth immediately stretched the lead to 7-3 in the bottom half.
Inlow led off with a single to center and stole second. After Alyse Bazinet sacrificed Inlow to third, Treadwell looked at strike three, but Walker walked and stole second and Carver helped herself with a single to right, scoring both runners.
Carver quickly set Greely down in the top of the fifth, getting junior rightfielder Abby Nielsen to line out to Inlow at third, fanning sophomore pinch-hitter Audrey Mann, then retiring junior first baseman Mykaela Twitchell on a fly out to deep right.
Cimino worked around a one-out single by Collins in the bottom of the inning to keep the score 7-3.
The Rangers then roared back in the top of the sixth.
After freshman designated player Evan Carrell lined back to Carver, Sarah Felkel got the uprising started with a double to the left-centerfield gap. Haley Felkel grounded out for the second out, but Dinan came through with another clutch hit, a single to center, cutting the deficit to three. Cimino singled to center and was replaced by sophomore pinch-runner Elizabeth Shibles. Moore then cracked a double to right-center to score both runners, cut the deficit to a run and place the tying run in scoring position. Nielsen then came through as well, singling to left to score Moore to make it 7-7. Nielsen moved to second on an error, but Carver ended the frame the way she began it, getting Mann to line back to the mound.
Falmouth was staggered, but the game was only tied and the Yachtsmen set about regaining the lead in the bottom of the sixth.
"I just said, 'We're in it, it's a tie score, we just need one,'" Fox said.
After Cimino got Alyse Bazinet to fly to center, she walked Treadwell and Walker made her pay, lining a shot to left-center that split the outfielders. Treadwell raced home with the go-ahead run and Walker got to third with a triple.
"I wasn't looking for a specific pitch, just trying to put it in play," Walker said. "I just tried my best and made good contact. I thought I hit it pretty well."
"I was going to go into small ball, but I wanted to give Walker the at-bat and she came through big-time," Fox said.
The Yachtsmen weren't able to deliver an insurance run, however, as Carver struck out and Jayde Bazinet grounded to first, but with three outs to go, Falmouth had an 8-7 lead.
Carver didn't toy around in the seventh and put a quick end to the game.
She got Twitchell swinging for the first out, induced Carrell to ground out to Jayde Bazinet for the second out, then, with Sarah Felkel threatening to start another rally, reared back and fired strike three swinging to end it.
"I think I was ready to get people out," Carver said. "We were all fired up. It means a lot to us. Greely's a hard team to beat."
"We had a few errors, but we came back and got stronger," Walker said. "Yesterday carried over. We're getting better."
"The leadoff batter was four-for-four and (Carver) struck her out at the end," Fox said. "I didn't want to see another batter."
Falmouth (which overcame five errors) had a balanced offensive attack, as Collins, Inlow and Walker each had two hits. Treadwell and Walker scored three times and Inlow touched home twice. Carver drove in three runs and Walker had one RBI. Collins (double), Inlow (triple) and Walker (triple) all had extra base hits.
"We're seeing the ball well, making good, solid contact and we're executing bunts," Fox said. "The last inning of (Friday,) we scored four runs on (Cimino) and that carried over to today."
Walker stole two bases, while Carver, Collins, Inlow and Treadwell each swiped one.
Carver improved to 1-2, working around 14 hits. She allowed seven runs (six earned) and didn't surrender a walk. She did strike out seven hitters.
For Greely, Sarah Felkel had four hits (including two doubles), Dinan three and Cimino, Moore (who doubled) and Nielsen two apiece. Felkel also scored three times. Dinan had two runs and Moore and Shibles one each. Dinan had three RBIs, Moore a pair and Nielsen one.
Cimino fell to 6-2 after giving up eight runs (four earned) on eight hits and four walks. She fanned five, but hit a batter and threw a wild pitch.
Greely begins the second half of its season Monday at Freeport. After hosting York Wednesday, the Rangers visit Yarmouth Friday.
Falmouth hopes to get a winning streak going Monday at Lake Region. The Yachtsmen are at Wells Friday and play host to York Saturday.
"We need to keep our hitting strong, like today, make fewer errors and grow as a team," said Carver.
"We still need to field," Fox said. "We have 20 errors in three losses. If we catch the ball and throw the ball, we'll be fine."