LIVERMORE FALLS – The Monmouth Academy softball team knows how to take advantage of an opportunity. The Mustangs continued the trend in the Mountain Valley Conference under sunny skies Friday afternoon.
Brit Hilton pitched another solid game and Moe Beaulieau scored the eventual winning run in the sixth inning in a 3-1 triumph over Livermore Falls.
Jessie Grey earned the save by throwing two perfect innings. The right-hander struck out three of the six batters and didn’t allow a hit beyond the infield.
Monmouth (12-1) will play Telstar in the conference championship game next week. The Rebels beat Monmouth in the second game of the season.
“Brit was just tired,” Monmouth coach Rachel Bernier said, regarding the pitching change.
“We’ve played six games in seven days, so the team is mentally and physically exhausted. The long weekend will do well; it will give the players a chance to rest.”
The score was tied when Beaulieau drew a walk, leading off the sixth.
Hilton laid down a perfect bunt and reached first base safely. Beaulieau alertly motored in to third base and scored when Kristen Cotton’s short pop-up bounced out of an Andies’ glove.
Livermore Falls (10-5), which won its previous seven games, received an excellent performance by Whitney McDaniel, who threw a five-hitter and had three strikeouts. But three of her four walks eventually scored.
“Walks will hurt you,” Andies coach Brent Hutchins said. “Whitney is only a sophomore, and she has really pitched well this season. She threw over 100 pitches today.”
The Andies tied the score in the fourth on an unearned run. Taryn Flagg had reached on a throwing error and raced home on a solid single by Erica Gats.
“We were shorthanded today, offensively,” Hutchins said. “But the girls didn’t make any excuses. Monmouth is one of the better teams in the MVC, but this team hung right in there and battled.”
Monmouth drew first blood, scoring a run in the first inning. Chelsey Grant walked and Alex Gautier singled. The next batter, Beaulieau, blooped a single behind second base, and Grant raced home.
McDaniel quickly settled down and retired the next seven batters before Beaulieau singled with one out in the fourth. Hilton was also effective, retiring the first nine batters, allowing two hits and striking out eight.
“We’ve had some close games,” Bernier said. “They’ve been very competitive. I was impressed with Livermore Falls today. They made some good plays on defense.”
Monmouth scored an insurance run in the seventh. Gauthier singled in Jen Hola.