LEWISTON – Lewiston and Edward Little don’t usually require trumped-up enthusiasm to play each other in any sport, at any time, under any conditions.
For the first three innings of Tuesday’s rainy rivalry game at Marcotte Park, however, only the Blue Devils looked the part of a softball team that wanted to pour on their neighbors’ parade. And it took the Red Eddies even longer than that to duck their head from the clouds.
Lewiston scored three runs in the first inning, plated three more in the third and coasted home to a 6-3 Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference victory.
Three-through-five hitters Brittany Dubuc, Maria Labbe and Danielle Willey each went 2-for-3 for Lewiston (4-5), which christened the contest with five consecutive hits in the bottom of the first inning. Dubuc and Labbe combined for four RBIs.
“We know a lot of the players over there really well,” said Labbe, who slapped an RBI single down the left field line in the first frame and ripped a run-scoring double to center in the third. “They beat us last year in extra innings. We didn’t forget that.”
Willey held the Red Eddies scoreless through five innings and escaped a pair of late jams by leaving the bases loaded in the sixth and stranding two runners in scoring position in the seventh. She scattered six hits and struck out seven.
Kate Dargie beat out an infield single in the second inning, clubbed a triple in the fourth and sliced a two-run single down the right field line to put the tying run at the plate in the seventh for EL (2-7). Willey froze Kim Lawrence for a called third strike to end it.
“Our bats woke up today, which was nice,” said Lewiston coach Fred Royer. “We made some nice plays defensively, and Danielle Willey pitched a good, solid ballgame.”
Neither team had much time to think specifically about the season’s first Battle of the Bridge after playing a game the previous day.
That probably was a plus for Lewiston, which was steaming mad Monday after playing well enough to win but falling 2-0 at Cony, and a minus for EL, which pulled out an emotional win over Morse.
“I dont think they were emotionally into the game from the start,” EL coach Elaine Keene said of her Eddies. “They wouldn’t say it, but it’s true. It was a quiet pre-game. We have nine seniors, but it’s hard when those kids haven’t enjoyed a lot of success in the past.”
EL didn’t advance a runner to third base until Dargie’s two-out triple in the fourth, and Melissa Lacroix ended any aspirations of a rally with a nifty running catch in left field to rob Kim Lawrence.
By then, Willey and Blue Devils enjoyed the luxury of a 6-0 lead. Allie Morin and Erica Morin ignited the first-inning flurry with a pair of infield singles. Dubuc delivered a triple over the left fielder’s head prior to Labbe’s single and a Willey double.
Erica Morin walked, advanced to second on a passed ball and stole third to light the match in the third inning. Labbe cranked a double and Willey added another, making life easier for herself a day after she pitched a three-hitter as the hard-luck loser at Cony.
“It’s much better to pitch when the bats are behind you like that,” Willey said.
Lawrence tossed three innings of one-hit, shutout ball in relief of Alyssa Levesque for the Red Eddies.
“We have two freshmen pitchers, and sometimes our older kids don’t always know how to pick them up when they need it,” Keene said. “We’ll learn our lesson and move on. We are not the same team we were (earlier in the year), and we’re playing teams that could put us in the playoffs if we beat them.”