PARIS — It seemed like every fly ball to the outfield Monday was knocked down and kept close by the fog, drizzle and slight wind.
Every ball except Molly Russell’s.
“I saw the infield in and I was hoping I’d have a good hit,” said Russell. “It felt really good. I was very happy with it.”
The Cony outfielder drilled a three-run homer that sailed over the heads of the Oxford Hills outfield and led the Rams to a stunning, come-from-behind 6-4 win over the Vikings.
“That was a shot,” said Oxford Hills coach Cindy Goddard, whose team played at the high school field rather than at the rain-soaked Gouin Complex. “That was a nice hit. That’s what this field can sometimes do. Shots can go out there and keep rolling. “
The three-run blast by Russell made it 5-4, and the Rams added another run for a five-run seventh inning. Cony took advantage of three Vikings errors in the inning, two walks and two hits.
“The seventh inning, I definitely knew we’d step into it,” Cony pitcher Emily Soule said. “After a couple times of facing the pitcher, we start to get hits.”
Soule escaped a Viking threat in the bottom of the seventh to secure the win. She allowed 10 hits and struck out six. Mariah Martin had four of those hits while Allyson Snow and Breanna Martin each had a pair.
Oxford Hills was up 4-1 going into the seventh, but the Rams had the top of the order coming to bat.
“They’ve got a good top of the order,” said Goddard. “I told my kids going into that inning that we were going to have their top up. When they scored the first one on an error, the tide kind of changed. They got someone on and then the tying run was up.”
Vikings pitcher Crystal West allowed seven hits. She walked Nicole Rugan to start the seventh. Rugan advanced on a wild pitch and scored on an error trying to throw her out on the bases.
Then Soule walked and Liz Barker reached on an error. Russell came to the plate and worked the count full. She fouled off a couple pitches before driving it to right.
“I was just thinking about anything close and it was a perfect pitch,” said Russell, a sophomore.
Cony added another run with an Allison Cote single. Cote finished with a pair of hits for the Rams (9-3).
The Vikings (9-3) had a chance in the bottom of the inning. Mariah Martin singled and Alex Rowe walked. Both advanced and were in scoring position with two outs. Soule then struck out West on three pitches to end the game.
“I knew I just had to throw hard and pitch around her,” said Soule. “I knew where she liked it from the previous times. So I just knew where to pitch it.”
Cony had rallied to win the first game against the Vikings, 10-9. Both teams were in the top five in Eastern A and are jostling for playoff position. Both teams were sloppy in the field. The Vikings had eight errors while the Rams had five.
The Vikings were able to build the early lead with a Breanna Martin RBI single in the second. Then in the third, Mariah Martin drove in Dayna Schultz with a single and scored on a pair of Cony errors.
Cony got one back when Rugan singled in a run in the fourth, but the Vikings made it 4-1 in the sixth. Reba Smith scored on an error of a Schultz grounder.
“We knew they were a good team and all, but we’re good hitters,” said Soule, a junior. “It takes us a little while to get into it. I knew it would come around.”
Both teams did get some fine defensive play. Schultz pounced on a squeeze bunt and tagged out the runner at the plate in the second. Schultz also picked off a runner at first. Cony got a diving catch in center by Cecilia Fuller to rob Schultz of extra bases.