Hornets strike quickly, cruise past Red Eddies

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AUBURN – With two easy outs, the first inning nearly ended quickly for the Leavitt softball team Tuesday.

Before Edward Little could get the third out to finish off the inning, however, the Hornets’ bats swung into action.

Leavitt clouted four consecutive hits, producing three quick runs that held up in a 3-1 victory over the Red Eddies at Tribou Field.

“It kind of set the flow of the game,” said Leavitt pitcher Brittany Gurney. “We knew that we could hit the pitcher.”

From there, the Hornets rode the solid pitching of Gurney and the near-flawless defense around her. Gurney scattered six hits and got fine plays in the field from third baseman Heidi Swett, shortstop Steph Healy and first baseman Beth Burgess.

“Defensively, we played O.K.,” said Leavitt coach Pete Higgins. “That’s what we need to do.”

The win solidified the Hornets’ position in the Eastern A standings. Leavitt (8-8) was ranked 10th in the latest Heal Points.

“My best guess is we’re too far out of ninth,” said Higgins. “So we’re probably going to stay 10th.”

For EL, it was a must-win scenario. The Red Eddies (4-12) were ranked 14th and needed a win to earn a playoff berth.

“We needed to win, but the way we ended the season the last two weeks, everybody counted us out but we played like we had only two losses in the last two weeks,” said EL coach Elaine Keene. “They played hard, and they got better. Our ultimate goal is to make the playoffs, but the goal that is right up there is to play your best at the end, and they were.”

Despite the early deficit, EL made a game of it. Freshman Alyssa Levesque held Leavitt to just four hits the rest of the way and didn’t allow another run.

“The two freshmen, both pitched a lot this year,” said Keene of Levesque and Kim Lawrence. “Now we have a good solid base for a long time.”

Gurney ended EL’s hopes for a quick inning with a two-out single. Burgess followed with a hit before Healy tripled. Swett doubled in Healy for the 3-0 lead.

“That’s probably been our biggest nemesis this year,” said Higgins. “We really haven’t hit well. If you look at our losses, 2-1, 3-2 and 2-0, they were games that we were in, but we didn’t get real timely hits when it counted.”

Healy and Liz Sabine each finished with two hits for Leavitt. EL got a pair of hits from Levesque.

EL had two runners on in the first and fifth, but Gurney ended both threats. It wasn’t until the sixth that Kate Dargie doubled, and April Gerry singled her home.

“We’re in playoff mode,” said Gurney. “After getting the three runs, we were laid back. We knew that we could do this.”

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