AUBURN – One swing might have done it.
As the Sacopee Valley softball team put runner after runner on base in the first few innings Monday, all the Hawks needed was that one big wallop.
When that didn’t happen, unbeaten Sacopee Valley had to go to Plan B.
“Our team is pretty laid-back,” said Sacopee pitcher Michelle Libby. “We try to get the runners in, but if we don’t, we don’t hang our heads or anything. It makes us stronger. We just come right back and work harder next time.”
Instead of belting its way to victory against St. Dom’s, the Hawks had to be a little resourceful in a 4-0 win over the Saints.
Sacopee Valley left 15 runners on base but still mustered enough offense.
“The runs that we did get we scrapped for them,” said Hawks coach Tim Vacchiano. “That’s how we have to play the game.”
Sacopee Valley (14-0) only produced four hits. St. Dom’s had three hits of its own. The Hawks had Libby pitching and an errorless defense behind her. The Saints had two errors and 11 walks.
“We got three hits and they got (four) hits,” said St. Dom’s coach Dan Samson. “They didn’t have the errors, and they didn’t have the walks. You take that away, it’s a whole different game. We’d still be playing right now.”
Libby, who had a perfect game in a 12-0 win against St. Dom’s earlier in the year, struck out 15 and walked just one. She struck out every member of the starting lineup at least once.
“I just tried to hit my spots this time,” said Libby, who struck out eight in the first game against the Saints. “If you hit your spots, it doesn’t really matter how hard you throw. If you can locate it, it’s harder for them to hit it and keeps them guessing.”
Robyn Kennedy, who walked in the third, was the only Saints baserunner through the first four innings. Mary Lewis and Kate Eslinger had hits in the fifth, and Autumn Bell had the only other single for St. Dom’s (10-4) in the sixth.
After stranding five runners in the first two innings, the Hawks finally put one across in the third. Libby singled and Kayla Crowley doubled to produce half of the Hawks offense in one inning. It was a bases-loaded walk to Danica Barrows that plated Jen Verrill with the first run.
“I’m actually kind of glad it worked out that way,” said Vacchiano. “Come playoff time, we know what we have for pitching, but some of the mistakes we made are mistakes we’ve made throughout the season. Now I can tell them, Don’t be content. All this did so far is earn us a good spot for the playoffs. We did that last year, too, and went home early.'”
Sacopee added three more in the fourth. Brittany Murch scored on a three-base error on a Colleen Donovan grounder. Donovan then scored on a wild pitch. Barrows later drew another bases-loaded walk to score Crowley.
“All unearned runs,” said Samson. “Not one earned run. You can’t keep making mistakes and mistakes and mistakes.”
Danielle Jamison came on in relief of Jen Cullen in the fifth and allowed no hits and no runs in three innings.