THOMASTON — Not all undefeated starts to the softball season are created equal.
There is Lisbon High School’s impressive, four-game surge to christen the Mountain Valley Conference campaign. The Greyhounds showed a mix of pitching, power and pluck, asserting themselves as one of the most improved teams in the league.
And then there’s Georges Valley High School’s theater of the absurd. The Buccaneers are averaging more than 15 runs per game. Four different pitchers have a stake in two combined no-hitters.
Hey, give previously unblemished Lisbon credit for its three singles in Wednesday’s 13-1 defeat. That inflated the total number of base hits allowed this spring by the Buccaneers’ pitching staff to a whopping four.
“I think the positive is that we did get the ball in play quite a few times today,” said Lisbon coach Mike Fortier.
Contact is hardly par for the course against Georges Valley senior Danielle Frye, who surrendered only an infield single to Haley Eck and one unearned run in her five innings.
Frye struck out the side in the first inning and fanned five overall against one walk. And she’s doing it all with a torn ACL in her left knee, suffered near the end of basketball season.
“I have to be really careful. I kind of had to modify my motion this year,” said Frye, who wears a heavy brace to stabilize the knee. “I have to land with my foot pretty much completely straight, and if I don’t my knee buckles.”
One such awkward touchdown caused a brief delay in the fifth inning.
Sophomore left-hander Jill Bradbury hurled the sixth. Frye moved to third base, and it was her two-run single up the middle that ended the game by virtue of the 12-run mercy rule.
“It’s been really hard, but right now things are going good,” Frye said. “I’m lucky that my doctor said I could play, because the rest of my knee was really strong. I’m not really risking anything. I can’t do much more damage.”
She’ll have reconstructive surgery immediately following the season. The way things look right now, that could be late June. Georges Valley (4-0) is shooting for its third Class C title in the last four years.
“We start three freshmen and three sophomores, but they’re pretty talented at the plate,” said Georges Valley coach Rusty Worcester. “They pay attention and hit the ball well. It’s a good group.”
Rachel Frye and Kennadi Grover each blasted a home run over the left field fence. Otherwise, the Buccaneers mostly took advantage of singles and walks against Lisbon’s Kimber Morse.
The other big hit was Grover’s RBI double in a four-run first. Morse struck out three and allowed only seven hits through five innings before six consecutive Buccaneers reached base in the sixth to end it.
“She settled down in the middle innings. It just got to a point where a good-hitting team is going to put the ball in play, no doubt about that,” Fortier said. “They made their adjustments and put the ball in play.”
Shauna Riordan and Amber Cloutier joined Eck with base hits for the Greyhounds.
Cloutier reached base and advanced to second on a pair of Georges Valley errors in the second. She raced to third on a wild pitch and scored Lisbon’s lone run on a groundout by Kyrstin Ramich.
“We’re still pleased with the way we started,” said Fortier. “Obviously we’re going to take our (wins) where we can get them and take our best shot against the top-tier teams.”