RUMFORD — Alexii Smith returned to the mound and fired off a dazzling pitching performance at just the right time for the Jay softball team.
Smith hurled a one-hitter and the Tigers’ offense ran wild in an 8-0 shutout win over Mountain Valley.
Jay, fourth in Western Class C, jumped on Falcons starter Shelby Moore in the first on RBI bunt singles by Smith and Ashley Quirrion, and never looked back.
“I just wanted to throw strikes,” said Smith, who had thrown once this spring after suffering a leg injury. “I was worried about how my leg would respond, so I wasn’t concerned about velocity. I threw mostly on the corners and kept the ball low.”
Mountain Valley, ninth in Western Class B, was overmatched at the plate by the hard-throwing right hander, who had six strike outs, hit a batter and walked one. Smith feasted on getting ahead in the count. The Falcons were held hitless until Lyndsie Dupuis singled cleanly leading off the sixth inning. The catcher advanced on a wild pitch, but was erased on a rare 5-3-5 double play.
“They were saving (Smith) for the second half,” Mountain Valley coach Brian Mills said. “We really didn’t make any adjustments on offense. The team has hit well all season, but we couldn’t hit her.”
Jay had six hits, however it was able to pull away on a combination of Moore’s nine walks and miscues by the defense. A six-run fifth inning proved to be the Falcons’ undoing.
The Tigers loaded the bases, and Smith and Alexis Blodgett each scored on a Paula Despres batted ball, which produced two errors. A run scored when Beth Moore reached on an overthrow. Netta Shank singled home a run. Brittany DiPompo and Alexi Deering each scored twice in the game. Reliever Hillary Dolloff came in to silence the Tigers.
“Monday’s have hurt us,” Mills said. “We haven’t played well in Monday games and the (school) prom was on Saturday. Still, we’ve talked about it before, you just can’t afford to make so many errors and expect to win.”
Mountain Valley had limited chances and the Tigers’ defense came up with outstanding plays. Dupuis walked with two outs, but was thrown out by Moore who fielded Hannah LaPointe’s batted ball in center fielder. Ashley Dorey threw out Brooke Dolloff from right field.
“We are not an explosive team,” Jay coach Robin Roberts said. “We can not afford to give up many runs, so we need to rely on good pitching and solid defense. Today, our outfielders threw out runners at first and second. Now, we are gearing for Telstar this Friday, who beat us 1-0.”