AUBURN —  Kory Norcross thought she was toast.

“Coach was telling me to slide so early,” Norcross said. “I thought for sure I was going to be out. But then I saw it go by.”

Norcross swiped second base after walking in the bottom of the fifth inning, scampered to third when the throw went into the outfield, and then trotted home as another throw sailed into the Saco dugout.

Her run, followed by a 1-2-3 sixth inning as Auburn Suburban’s pitcher lifted the squad to a thrilling 3-2 win over District 4 champion Saco in an elimination game at the Little League Major Division state softball championship at Sweetser Field in Auburn on Wednesday.

Norcross’ patience and persistence both in the circle and at the plate — she drew three walks in three plate appearances — typified her team’s effort, just four days removed from suffering a 10-0 loss to the same Saco team.

“Let’s face it, we didn’t show up (on Saturday),” Auburn Suburban coach Bill Reynolds said. “We gave 16 batters first base in that game. Tonight, Kory went out there and just stood on her head. That’s the Kory we all know.”

Saco threatened a repeat performance in a game delayed a day due to rain. Alyssa Zamjohn ran through her coach’s stop sign at third base after belting a triple to right and scored under the tag of Auburn catcher Makayla Norcross. A walk to Jordan Agger, a passed ball and a pair of wild pitches from Kory Norcross plated Agger with a second Saco run.

“We made some mistakes out there, but the biggest thing is we came back from those mistakes and didn’t hang our heads,” Reynolds said. “There were some instances where we could have thought, ‘Oh no, here we go again,’ but they hung tough.”

Kory Norcross settled in from there. She finished the game with 10 strikeouts and three walks. All of those free passes came in the first inning.

“Last time I got flustered early,” Norcross said. “I tried to stay as calm as I could through the whole game.”

Saco, meanwhile, couldn’t stay patient like it had in the first meeting with Auburn.

“We made the pitcher battle a little bit more last game,” Saco coach Dennis Avery said. “We were kind of jumping out at stuff today, taking early swings. In the first game, we made her work, throwing 7-8 pitches every batter, we’d fouled pitches off, work walks. (Wednesday) we were just jumping at pitches here and there.”

Auburn, on the other end, completed the role reversal, forcing Saco hurler Bailey Tremblay to throw 65 pitches through the first three innings, including three-ball counts to seven of the first 12 batters she faced.

“We saw her at the beginning of the game, that she wasn’t as consistent as last time,” Norcross said. “We were just telling ourselves if we wait, we’ll be able to get on base, get her off her game early.”

Auburn plated a pair of runs in the fourth inning. Kory Norcross started things with a one-out walk. Emily Schario beat out an infield single and both runners advanced on a passed ball. Kylie Martin drove Norcross home with a hit back to the pitcher, and Schario scored on a wild pitch to knot the score, setting up Norcross’ heroics in the fifth.

Meanwhile, in the circle, Norcross mowed down Saco’s lineup, setting down 12 in a row to end the game.

“It helped to be last batters,” Norcross said. “I knew if they tied up the game, or if anything bad happened, we could go in and get the runs right back.”

The Auburn squad will again face elimination Thursday when it faces Calais at Sweetser Field.

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