TURNER – Danielle Willey seems to co-exist comfortably with drama.
Lewiston’s resilient right-handed pitcher didn’t chalk up many 1-2-3 innings Thursday, but whenever Leavitt Hornets were swarming around her on the basepaths, her fastball turned into a fly swatter. Willey stranded 10 with the help of her own gritty disposition and some dynamite Blue Devils’ defense in an important 3-2 Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference softball win.
“I tried not to think about it,” Willey said of the continuous jam she consistently wiggled out of from the fourth inning forward. “You do your best to put it out of your mind, but it’s always on your mind when there are runners on base and power hitters at the plate.”
Willey allowed five hits, walked three and struck out three.
She coaxed two infield flies to leave the bases loaded in the fifth inning. After allowing a run in the sixth, she took advantage of a Leavitt baserunning blunder and struck out Heidi Swett swinging to leave Hornets at first and second and protect a 3-2 lead.
In the seventh, Brittany Dubuc’s diving catch in right field saved a probable leadoff double or triple off the bat of Beth Burgess. Jess Paladino lashed a two-out single to left field, but Willey coaxed earlier nemesis Amy Chiasson (2-for-4, one RBI) into a pop-up to catcher Maria Labbe to end it.
“That was a great ballgame,” said Lewiston coach Fred Royer. “Both teams played good, solid ball, and we made some great defensive plays. It’s a well-deserved win.”
Both teams went 2-1 in this week’s wet, four-day stretch to even their records at 5-5.
Dubuc is nursing an ankle injury, making her gem with the glove shine even more brightly. She wears a brace above her left shoe but says the right foot bothers her more.
“I just try to fight through it,” Dubuc said.
Willey slapped two of Lewiston’s three hits. She notched the Devils’ first run when she singled, stole second, advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt and scored on Brittany Nadeau’s groundout.
Lewiston scored two unearned runs in the top of the fifth during a productive, eight-pitch at-bat by No. 9 hitter Steph Doucette. Nadeau raced home on a wild pitch and Ashley Morgan crossed the plate on a fielder’s choice.
Chiasson knocked in Stephanie Healy with a single in the fourth, then scored Leavitt’s second run after reaching on an error to start the sixth.
“They took advantage of their opportunities, and we didn’t take advantage of ours,” said Leavitt coach Pete Higgins. “We tend to help the other team more than we should.”