DXFIELD — Freshman Amber Wilson laid down a bunt to score Moriah Larson with the winning run in the bottom of the seventh inning as the Cougars triumphed 8-7 in a wild contest against Madison at Marble Park on Wednesday.
Dirigo (3-2) entered the bottom of the seventh tied, but quickly seized the opportunity to win when Larson singled sharply up the middle. Natasha Deroche reached safely when her fly ball bounced out of the left fielders glove, and Larson advanced to second. Wilson, the No.9 batter, took a pitch before laying down a slow bunt in front of the circle. Madison pitcher Kayla Booker picked the ball up and threw it into right field, and Larson, already rounding third, sprinted home.
“We just needed to get the ball in play and take advantage of our speed,” Dirigo coach Clint Dolloff said. “Moriah got on quickly and then we received a break when Natasha’s ball was dropped. I was just hoping for a sacrifice at that point but (Amber) laid down a perfect bunt. That was good seeing a freshman pull through in that situation.”
Larson led the offense with three hits and two runs scored, but there was plenty of support. Deroche had two hits, including a two-RBI single, and Morgan Hutchins and Alyssa Charity each scored two runs. The Cougars were itching to get back on track after having lost to Telstar and Mt. Abram.
Madison (2-2) blew an early four-run lead before coming back to tie the game in both the fifth and sixth innings. Kayla Booker singled and scored on an error and Emilee Berry singled home Natalie Michaud.
“We needed to get people in position to score,” Madison coach Al Veneziano said. “We needed a key hit in the sixth, but it didn’t happen. We had used the bunt early on to make things happen because there is a lot of good pitching in this league.”
Dirigo started Kyme Dolloff, but completed a double switch with eventual winning pitcher Alyssa Wade. Dolloff threw the first two innings and the fourth while Wade threw the third and then the fifth-through seventh.
“I wanted to try and keep the Madison batters off balance,” Dolloff said. “Kyme changes speeds and Alyssa is more of a power pitcher. But I guess that (strategy) backfired.”
Madison broke a 1-1 tie by scoring four runs in the third on four bunt singles. The Bulldogs sent nine batters to the plate, and Sierra Leblanc Michaud, Carolyn Gunther and Kayla Belanger each scampered home.
Dirigo regrouped and scored six runs in the next three innings. The key blows were Deroche’s two-run single, Dolloff’s single, Wade’s sacrifice fly and Paige Murphy’s ground out.
“It was great to see the girls stay positive and come back,” Dolloff said. “They didn’t get down on themselves and that has been a battle.”
The Cougars’ defense shined in the fourth after Madison loaded the bases with no outs. Charity, a catcher threw out a runner at third base and Hutchins threw out a runner at home plate.