AUBURN — It was the kind of result the Edward Little softball team didn’t want to relive, but as Mt. Ararat began to rally in the sixth inning, the Red Eddies couldn’t help but fear history was repeating itself.
“Two weeks ago today, we were in that situation and were on the opposite end because we couldn’t maintain our focus,” said EL coach Elaine Derosby. “For them, it was a learning experience and it wasn’t a good feeling. They knew they had to focus and settle down.”
Two weeks ago, EL was leading Lawrence by three runs going into the seventh but watched the Bulldogs rally and eke out a one-run victory. Friday, the Red Eddies didn’t allow that kind of disappointment to happen again. EL held off a Mt. Ararat rally and earned its fifth straight win with a 6-4 win over the Eagles.
Down 5-0 in the sixth, the Eagles (4-8) produced two hits and took advantage of two EL errors to cut the deficit to 5-4. Mt. Ararat even had the tying run at third, but EL pitcher Miranda Martin served up a ground ball out to end the threat. EL (9-3) got an insurance run in the bottom of the inning. Though Mt. Ararat put two runners on in the seventh, EL got a pop up to catcher Kirsten Prue and a ground out to Ashlee Arnold at second to end the game.
“That definitely makes us feel a little nervous, but we’ve been in tough situations like that before,” said Martin. “We knew how to handle it. I have confidence in the team being able to make the plays.”
Martin allowed just four hits while Kayla Cummings had a pair of hits and drove in a run. Prue had two RBI while Kristen Whittaker also had a pair of hits. It was a five-run fifth that broke open a scoreless tie and gave EL a seemingly comfortable lead.
Emily Johnson led off the inning with a single and Whittaker followed with a hit. Katie Delorme reached on an error to load the bases. Emily Grund, who had a couple of dazzling plays at short, hit a hard grounder that was booted, allowing both Johnson and Whittaker to score.
“Emily Johnson has been doing really well this year,” said Martin. “Once she gets us going, everyone else starts feeling the emotion.”
Kayle Nadeau drove in a run with a ground out. Cummings followed with an RBI triple and Prue then doubled her in for the 5-0 lead.
“It was nice to get up and ahead because it relieves the pressure a little bit,” said Martin.
That comfort didn’t last long. Mt. Ararat bounced back in the top of the inning with the help of two EL errors. Miranda Riendeau singled in the first run. After a run scored on an error, Tess Hitchock drove in Riendeau with a fielder’s choice. A Shauna Williams fielder choice plated another to make it 5-4 with Hitchcock at third. Martin got Amber Wallace to ground out to Arnold to end the inning.
“I just really wanted to throw strikes,” said Martin. “I knew they’ll make the plays behind me. If I can throw strikes, they’ll do the work behind me.”
Prue’s sacrifice fly in the sixth scored Delorme to make it 6-4. Mt. Ararat got runners on with a single and an error but the Eagles left both stranded.
“We need games like this,” said Derosby. “Our goal is to get into the playoffs. At this point, we can almost stamp our way in. We need games to challenge us mentally, challenge us physically and challenge us emotionally. It’s a good practice for us. When we got to the playoffs, everything is emotion. We have to be able to stay within ourselves.”