Spruce Mountain pitcher Hannah Turcotte goes into a windup against Greely during a Class B South softball preliminary in Cumberland on Tuesday. (Tony Blasi/Sun Journal)
CUMBERLAND — Greely High School coach Rob Hale found the Spruce Mountain Phoenix to be a pesky bunch who took pride in annoying his Rangers.
But Hale and his persistent No. 6 Rangers used timely hitting, strong pitching and base running to shoo away bothersome No. 11 Spruce with a 10-4 victory in a Class B South softball preliminary on Tuesday afternoon.
“We put the ball in play, whether it was a hit or just put the ball in play,” Hale said. “Put the pressure on. Put the ball in play in softball and things happen.
“We haven’t been doing that. We have been seeing some third strikes, a little hesitancy. We have had troubles with a couple of bad innings defensively, letting teams back in. We didn’t have that today.
“We played a pretty clean game for the most part, for us. They (Phoenix) kept putting the ball in play. Very impressed. There wasn’t an easy out. They did not fold.”
Although the Phoenix’s four errors didn’t help their cause on this gray day, Spruce hammered out nine hits to Greely’s eight. The Rangers did not commit an error and that made all the difference.
“We told the kids afterwards, ‘We actually hit the ball well today. We didn’t have a lot on the scoreboard to show for it,” Spruce Mountain coach Clint Brooks said. “Sometimes it is hard to reconcile those two things.
“Again the thing that haunted us on the defensive side is, one, we were a little soft with the gloves tonight. It wasn’t a great night. As we talked to (losing pitcher) Hannah Turcotte all year long, the walks can haunt you.
“I told the kids, I said, you know we are going to miss two or three seniors, no question about it, but we are going to have a very strong team next year. Hannah is going to be exponentially better. This is her second year pitching softball.”
The Phoenix came straight at the Rangers in the opening inning when outfielders Calley Baker and Ally Acritelli got on with singles. They both came home on third baseman Hailee Perkins’ two-run single to put the Phoenix ahead 2-0 in the top of the first inning.
Not to be outdone, the Rangers answered with three runs in the bottom half. Greely took advantage of two Spruce errors, and third baseman Lindsay Eisenhart’s two-run double to make it a 3-2 game.
Greely doubled its fun when shortstop Sawyer Dusch, winning pitcher Kelsey Currier and outfielder Taylor LaFlamme each doubled, inciting a four-run uprising that put the Rangers firmly in control, 7-2.
“(Currier) likes to battle. She competes,” Hale said of his pitcher.
The Rangers collected two more runs on an error and two hits in the third inning. They also scored their 10th run thanks to outfielder Mollie Obar’s RBI single.
Spruce Mountain kept trying to chip away with a run in the third and fourth innings. Perkins drove in her third run with a double in the third. In the fourth inning, catcher Abby Ortiz led off with a double and came home on Haley Turcotte’s RBI double.
The Phoenix conclude the season at 9-9.
Spruce Mountain shortstop Haley Turcotte tries to put the tag on Greely’s Sawyer Dusch (7) as Phoenix second baseman Brooke Buotte (9) watches the action. Dusch was safe on the play. (Tony Blasi/Sun Journal)
Third baseman Hailee Perkins tries to put the kibosh on Greely’s Anna Smith’s stolen-base attempt during a Class B South softball preliminary on Tuesday in Cumberland. Smith was safe on the play. (Tony Blasi/Sun Journal)
Spruce Mountain coach Clint Brooks smiles as he speaks with a player during a Class B South softball preliminary on Tuesday in Cumberland. (Tony Blasi/Sun Journal)