BETHEL — T.J. Cowin went 4-for-4 and the rest of the Telstar softball team also chimed in a Mountain Valley Conference game Friday afternoon.
The Rebels broke things open by scoring five runs in the fifth inning to remain unbeaten and Kayla Merrill pitched another complete game in 7-1 triumph against pesky Dirigo. The Rebels beat Dirigo 3-0 two weeks ago in Dixfield.
Telstar (8-0) was clinging to a 1-0 lead as Dirigo starter Kyme Dolloff and Merrill were hooked up in a solid pitching dual. Merrill (8-0) has allowed three earned runs and thrown seven shutouts this season. The right-hander allowed seven singles, nine strikeouts and walked one.
“We came in knowing what to expect,” Cowin said. “Dirigo had given us our most competitive game, so we had to play hard. Every one on the team contributed.”
Cowin led the way with a single, double and two triples, including a key two-run double in the fifth. The inning had begun with a fly out, however, eight of the next nine batters reached safely. Lindsay Merrill walked and Lindsay James reached on a bunt. Kayla Merrill singled home her sister and Cowin followed with a smash in the right-center field gap. Hannah Morin added an RBI-single. Alyssa Wade came in for relief.
“A 1-0 score is a coach’s nightmare,” Telstar coach Jim Lunney said. “But this team is explosive and it was nice to see T.J. hit the ball hard. The rest of them got in on the act.”
Dirigo (4-5) was anxious to get back on track after having lost Wednesday to Livermore Falls on a grand slam in the seventh inning. Katrina Pulk singled and scored on Alyssa Charrity (three hits) RBI-single, in sixth. The Cougars had chances, but stranded two runners on base in the second and fourth innings. Charity and Mariah Larsen each singled with one out, but freshman Natasha DeRoche and Ambyr Wilson were retired.
“We thought we could make a run at this this time,” Dirigo coach Clint Dolloff said ”We’ve had a couple tough losses, but the girls still have their heads high. We have games against Carrabec, Mt. Abram at home and then at Madison on Friday and we need to win all three.”
Dolloff walked leading off the fourth and pinch runner Natalie Bolduc and Charrity each advanced on Larson’s sacrifice bunt, but Merrill struck out the next two batters.
‘’Things fell apart quickly,’’ coach Dolloff said. “We did throw the ball around some, but take away that one bad inning and it’s a 2-1 ball game.’’
The Cougars’ defense turned two double plays and third baseman Morgan Hutchins threw Cowin out at home.
Lindsay Merrill (two runs) tripled leading off the third and scored on an errant relay throw. Cowin had an RBI single and Katie Summer had two hits.
“This team is real close,” Kayla said. “We like to get runners on base and (string) together hits. At the same time, we don’t want to let opposing teams to get runners on.”