RUMFORD — Kayla Merrill is doing plenty to help carry the Telstar softball team’s typical high standard of excellence, and her power continued to help the Rebels on their march through the Mountain Valley Conference on Monday.
Telstar pulled away, scoring 18 runs in the fourth inning as the Rebels remained unbeaten in a 19-0 victory over Mountain Valley.
It was the third consecutive shutout for Merrill, and she proved to be in complete control. The right-hander allowed four hits, struck out eight and walked one.
“Sam Largess calls a good game,” Merrill said, who quickly credited the catcher for the Rebels success. “She knows me well and knows which pitches will be most effective. Today, my strategy was to throw the ball high because batters tend to swing at that pitch. The rising fastball, a high fastball and an inside fastball were my best pitches.”
Mountain Valley (2-1) actually held its own and only trailed 1-0 after three innings as pitcher Shelby Moore held the Rebel batters at bay. The senior right-hander allowed an RBI double by T.J. Cowin (two doubles, three runs) in the first inning. The Falcons defense also shined when catcher Lynsie Dupuis pounced on a fastball and threw to Moore, who tagged Nicena Walker out at home plate.
“Things just fell apart for us in the fourth inning,” Mountain Valley coach Brian Mills said. “It has happened to us before, but we need Shelby to pitch all seven innings, and she is certainly capable of doing it. In our win over Jay, she only allowed two earned runs and the other runs were on passed balls.”
Moore walked Walker and Katie Sumner, and Largess was hit by a pitch in the fourth. Tasha Farnum laced a two-run double. The next five batters walked before Moore was lifted for Hillary Dolloff, who used a slower delivery. Hannah Morin hit a two-run single and Farnum belted another two-run double. The Rebels sent 21 batters to the plate and several scored two runs each, including sophomore leadoff batter Lyndsay Merrill.
The younger Merrill sister couldn’t play last year because of a torn ACL.
Mountain Valley had four hits — a single and double by Dolloff and singles by Taylor Welch and pinch hitter Lauren White. The Falcons’ best chance came in the third when Dolloff singled and Bree Roberts walked. Largess gunned down Dolloff at third base, Hannah LaPointe flew out and McKenzie Paterson struck out on a high pitch. Merrill also fanned Brooke Dolloff and Courtney Carlson to end innings.
“We also have a pretty good defense,” Telstar coach Jim Lunney said. “But, Kayla doesn’t allow enough hard hit balls that will (test) the fielders. Their pitcher throws hard and had our number early, but has had trouble finishing games against us.”