AUBURN – The only thing that might truly look familiar about this year’s Oxford Hills softball team is that it still knows how to win.
The Vikings have just one starter and only a few varsity players returning from a year ago. Oxford Hills has still started the year undefeated, adding another win Friday with a 10-1 victory over Edward Little.
“We have good pitching,” said Oxford Hills coach Cindy Goddard. “We knew that, and that’s a huge piece to it. Our JV team went undefeated last year. So we had quality players coming up. They were in a class where there was a strong senior class in front of them. So they’ve been playing a lot at that level. Now they’ve just kind of stepped into the next role.”
Jen Jarczak and Sam Dolloff have provided the pitching. The two combined to allow just five EL hits. Jarczak no-hit the Red Eddies through the first three innings, and EL didn’t manage a hit out of the infield until the seventh.
“”It’s good to start off on the right foot,” said Jarczak. “We lost a lot of seniors. We’re still young, but it’s looking pretty good. It’s been going really well.”
With Diann Ramsey’s lead-off triple, the Vikings offense sent an early message. Oxford Hills pounded out eight hits and built a 7-0 lead in the first three innings.
“At the beginning of the season, we struggled a little bit, but the last couple of games we all turned it around and have been hitting well,” said Jarczak.
Tia Pratt and Dolloff each had two hits and RBIs. Deanna Emery and Ramsay also plated two. Mindy Rugg and Megan Gauger also drove in runs. EL’s Alyssa Levesque pitched the first three innings before Kim Lawrence finished the day.
“We have two freshmen pitchers, and we’re relying on two kids to be perfect, and they’re not going to be,” said EL coach Elaine Keene. “Everybody behind them knows that. They’ve been put into the fire early, but they’re going to be strong. They’ve kept us in games and pitched well enough to be in games, and that’s all we’re asking of them.”
The Vikings (5-0) put two on the board in the first on a single by Dolloff and a bases-loaded walk to Gauger.
In the second, Ramsey tripled in a run and scored on a Dolloff ground out. The Vikings added three in the third on Ramsey fielder’s choice and a two-run double by Pratt.
In the sixth, Pratt scored on a Rugg squeeze play and Emery single in a pair.
EL (1-4) didn’t get its first hit until an infield hit by Levesque in the fourth. The Red Eddies got runners on with infield hits and errors but couldn’t capitalize. EL’s lone run came in the seventh when Kate Dargie tripled and scored on a Lawrence single.
“We came to the realization this week that we’re not as good offensively as other teams and that’s okay,” said Keene. “We just need to put the ball in play and make teams make plays, and that happened a little bit today.”