H.S. softball: Martell, Gray-NG shut down Poland

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Poland’s Ally Gagne gets safely into second base while Gray-New Gloucester shortstop Lydia Espling awaits the ball during the Patriots’ win in Gray on Monday. (Wil Kramlich/Sun Journal)

GRAY — Pitching, hitting and defense were all working for Gray-New Gloucester in Monday’s game against Poland.

Patriots senior pitcher Alie Martell flashed all three in just the first inning and a half of a 6-0 Class B South softball win over the rival Knights.

Martell struck out the side in the top of the first, led off the bottom half with a home run, then struck out two more and knocked down a hard liner in the top of the second.

“We just needed some outs,” Martell said. “So however I can get them is fine.”

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The solo homer proved to be the only run Martell needed for support, but after striking out five batters in the first two innings she only struck out two more the rest of the way, getting help from the defense behind her.

“We can’t expect her to come in and strike ’em all out,” Gray-NG (7-4) coach Amanda Harmon said. “The defense has to have her back and make the plays when the ball is … in play. So I think that we came in ready for that today, and just were aggressive to get those outs behind her.”

Amelia Cobb ranged to a low pop-up to end a Knights (5-5) scoring threat in the third.

“Their second baseman lit up the entire game, catching every single ball that went to her,” Poland co-coach Kayla Vannah said. “And the right fielder too. We couldn’t hit a gap to save our life today.”

Martell gave herself another insurance run in the third, reaching after getting hit by a pitch in the head, then moving around the bases on a fielder’s choice, a steal of third and an error.

“I mean, it’s a run,” Martell said. “Runs matter in these type of games.”

Poland had two more runners in scoring position in the fourth but Martell and the Patriots got out of a jam again.

Poland’s other co-coach, Kat Seeley, said the Knights’ “confidence in the batter’s box” was a problem in the game.

Gray-NG strung together four hits in its half of the fourth to score two more and make it 4-0. Madi Pelletier and Alexa Thayer doubled before Lydia Espling and Chelsea Davis singled.

“We’ve always just kept putting into the girls’ (minds), ‘One run’s never enough, two runs never enough,'” Harmon said. “So we try to score a run every inning, get a girl on base — we don’t want to leave her out there.”

The Knights only had one baserunner the rest of the way. Patriots right fielder Sydney Rodrigues took care of that mini-threat quickly by running to catch a fly ball for the third out of the fifth. She later charged on a grounder into shallow right to start a force-out in the sixth.

The Patriots scored two more in the bottom half of the inning. Martell’s looping two-run double just eluded the diving catch of center fielder Amanda Gagne.

Martell scattered four hits and three walks while striking out seven.

Ally Gagne struck out seven batters as well for Poland, and was tagged four six run on seven hits, a walk and three hit batters.

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Gray-New Gloucester’s Madi Pelletier jogs in to score while Poland catcher Chloe Tufts watches the play in the field unfold during the Patriots’ win in Gray on Monday. (Wil Kramlich/Sun Journal)Gray-New Gloucester first baseman Jordan Grant gets under a pop-up during a win over Poland in Gray on Monday. (Wil Kramlich/Sun Journal)Poland’s Ally Gagne fouls off a pitch during a loss to Gray-New Gloucester in Gray on Monday. (Wil Kramlich/Sun Journal)Gray-New Gloucester’s Jordan Grant connects for a single during a win over Poland in Gray on Monday. (Wil Kramlich/Sun Journal)Gray-New Gloucester right fielder Sydney Rodrigues tries to track down a fly ball during a win over Poland in Gray on Monday. (Wil Kramlich/Sun Journal)

Gray-New Gloucester pitcher Alie Martell follows through on a delivery during a win over Poland in Gray on Monday. (Wil Kramlich/Sun Journal)

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