Taylor Depot hits the ball at a recent game against Hamden Academy. (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)
The high school softball season is now a week old and many teams have played their first game, despite Mother Nature doing her best to prevent them from doing so.
Preventing has been difficult for some of those teams that have played — preventing runs, that is.
Being stuck inside all preseason, many teams have been able to work on hitting in batting cages, but accurately mimicking a dirt-and-grass field on a hardwood basketball court is hard to do. That may help explain some of the high run totals from the first week.
Edward Little and Hampden Academy put on an offensive show Wednesday in an 11-10 Red Eddies victory. The score was 6-3 EL after one inning, and Hampden went ahead 7-6 after two.
The teams combined for 24 hits, but it was two by Hampden’s Brooklynn Scott and one off the bat of EL’s Emmy Lashua that were the loudest.
Scott blasted a two-run home run well over the fence in the second to put the Broncos ahead, and hit another two-run shot even farther to straightaway center to give Hampden the lead again, 10-9, in the sixth.
“Brooklynn Scott had two monster shots that were just beautiful to watch,” Hampden coach Matt Madore said.
Lashua was playing center field, and just turned around and watched Scott’s second home run go well over her head. Her own home run, a lead-off shot in the bottom of the seventh, went the same direction, but just barely cleared the fence. That solo homer tied the game, and EL coach Elaine Derosby said Lashua “lives for that moment.”
Fellow senior Taylor Depot led EL with four hits. Derosby called Lashua and Depot “big-time performers.”
Poland shows production
Poland was able to play on the first day of the season last Thursday, and even had its opener against Freeport moved to its home field because of more favorable field conditions than in Freeport.
The home-field advantage proved helpful to the Knights, who were able to put together 17 runs on 10 hits and four Freeport errors, all while pitcher Ally Gagne and the defense held the Falcons to just one hit and no runs.
Poland co-coach Kayla Vannah called the game “a pleasant surprise.”
“We have been working hard to have good discipline and focus at the plate and in the field,” Vannah said. “I think we showed a strong team effort through our first regular season game but still have a lot of work to do for a tough season ahead.”
Vannah said before the season she thought Freeport was a team that could surprise some people, and she still feels that way, even after the season opener.
Buckfield bats silenced
At the other end of the spectrum from teams like EL and Poland was Buckfield, which had to wait until its final at-bats for its first hit of the season last Friday. The Bucks ran into Traip Academy pitcher Reilly Eddy, who they had seen the previous season. Eddy recorded 16 strikeouts and allowed only that seventh-inning hit.
Eddy struck out 12 batters in a Buckfield win at home last year.
“I’m not worried about our offense,” Buckfield coach Sandy Albert said. “She pitched the best game of any time we faced them. We got zero walks as she was very consistent. Last year we were able to manufacture some runs by getting some walks and being able to execute some bunts, which we weren’t able to do that, either.
“I really think that because it is so early and we are not even out on our field yet, this caused some troubles for us. We had some great at-bats but just weren’t able to get the bat on the ball as well as I know we can, except for the triple by the freshman (Cara) Merrill in the seventh that just came too late for us.”
Albert said she’s glad her team will get to face Eddy again later in the season. She said last Friday’s game gave her team “insight” on what they need to do better against Eddy the next time they face her.
Hits not enough
Oxford Hills got plenty of hits in its season-opener against Messalonskee, but still feel short 8-6. The Vikings had 10 hits, to the Eagles’ 11.
The Vikings, last year’s Class A North runners-up, got two hits apiece from four players, including a double and a single from sophomore Haley Dillingham.
Around the state
Wells coach Kevin Fox picked up his 200th career victory with the Warriors in a season-opening win over Greely last Thursday.
Fox nearly recorded the milestone win in last year’s Class B South regional final, only to have a Fryeburg seventh-inning rally spoil the opportunity. The longtime coach, now in his 19th season at the helm of Wells, will try to go for win No. 201 at Gray-New Gloucester on Friday.