LEWISTON – Some of the faces were familiar, but the positions certainly weren’t.
What starters remained for the Lewiston softball team were scattered around in different positions as the Blue Devils opened the season Wednesday. The revamped lineup didn’t look too out of place in a 7-0 victory over Leavitt.
Only first baseman Ashley Morgan started at a position she played regularly last year. Maria Labbe, Allie Morin and Danielle Willey all started in new spots but proved ready to step into larger roles.
“I thought the seniors played a great game to help bring the youngsters together – Allie Morin at shortstop, Brittany Nadeau at second and Melissa LaCroix in left field,” said Lewiston coach Fred Royer.
Morin was an outfielder last year and was superb at short, finishing off the game with a nice double play. Labbe had played second last year and started at catcher, driving in the first run. Nadeau had two hits and scored twice. Willey, who started three games last year, hurled a fine game, allowing just four hits while striking out six. Leavitt’s Brittany Gurney scattered six hits and struck out five.
“We were definitely looking to get ahead in the count and make them choose their pitches,” said Willey. “It’s really nice if you get ahead in the count. Then you can really hit your corners.”
The Hornets got a triple from Steph Healy in the first and a pair of hits from Jess Paladino. Beth Burgess also singled for the Hornets, which had just the four baserunners.
“We didn’t hit the ball,” said Leavitt coach Pete Higgins. “Hopefully, we can correct that.”
The Hornets had the chance to strike first when Healy tripled with two outs. Willey got a fly out from Burgess to end the threat.
“When she hit that, you never want someone on third,” said Willey. “It was pretty nerve-wracking but we got out of it.”
Instead, Lewiston took the lead in the first. With two outs, LaCroix walked and scored on Labbe’s double.
“It’s always nice to get runs in the first couple of innings,” said Willey. “It’s a relief for the pitcher.”
Leavitt nearly escaped a threat in the fourth when third baseman Heidi Swett, Burgess at first and catcher Liz Sabine combined for a double play. Lewiston still added to the lead when Brittany Dubuc scored thanks to back-to-back errors, and Morgan singled in Nadeau.
“They took advantage of our mistakes,” said Higgins.
In the sixth, Lewiston added four more runs. Steph Doucette drew a bases loaded walk to plate Labbe. Dubuc and Nadeau scored on an error, and Erica Morin singled in Doucette.
“They played really well,” said Royer. “I was pleased. They played with fundamentals. We got the breaks when it mattered. That’s all you can ask for.”