BATH – The hardest part of Thursday afternoon’s softball game might have been staying warm.

Despite temperatures over 50 degrees, a brisk and blustery wind had the Oxford Hills Vikings covering and cowering to keep out the cold. At one point, all the players in the field had varying means to stay warm, from tucking hands into armpits to curling up into a ball in the outfield during a break from action.

Though the wind was blowing in, the Vikings were hitting the ball out and cranked out 14 hits in a convincing 16-0 win over Morse in five innings.

“I thought we looked sharp, and we hit the ball really well,” said Oxford Hills coach Cindy Goddard. “The kids came out with a good mental attitude hitting, and that set the tone.”

Heather Verrier, Ashley West and Breanna Martin all had three hits and drove in two runs. Mariah Martin drove in three runs while Dayna Schultz and Reba Smith also produced RBI. Verrier finished with a two-hitter and struck out five.

“I tried to throw a no-hitter, but it’s okay,” said Verrier, who didn’t walk a batter. “I just pitched as hard as I could.”

Verrier mowed down the Shipbuilders (0-1) through the first three innings in a  game shortened by the 12-run mercy rule.  Emma Seely had the first Morse hit in the fourth and Hannah Russell had the other in the fifth.

“I just tried to blow it by them because they were swinging,” said Verrier.

Oxford Hills (1-0) spent some of the preseason in Florida. It was the third time the Vikings have made such a trip. The team played eight games there and had another two preseason games in Gorham prior to Thursday’s opener.

“We didn’t really look sharp in Florida, and we didn’t look all that sharp in Gorham,” said Goddard. “We’ve had some discussions about what our expectations are and our goals. They’re kind of set with what they want to do. So they’ve become a lot more focused.”

The Vikings focused in on the offerings of Morse pitcher Amber Tuplin from the start. She wasn’t helped by five errors in the field behind her. Breanna Martin led off with a single and quickly scored on a West hit off the glove of Tuplin.  Schultz later scored on a wild pitch and error. Then Mariah Martin doubled in a pair for a 4-0 lead in the first inning.

“It was pretty big to get the early lead,” said Verrier. “She’s a pretty consistent pitcher. So it was like batting practice for us. So we just took our chances with it.”

Oxford Hills added five more in the second. Toney Cray scored on an error off a Breanna Martin fly. Martin and West both scored on wild pitched, and Verrier doubled in a run. A ground out by Mariah Martin scored Verrier for a 9-0 lead.

“Since we had our bats going and were scoring a lot, I thought I’d work on pitching and throw as hard as I could,” said Verrier.

The Vikings added two more in the third. Schultz tripled in a run and Verrier followed with an RBI double. In the fourth, Breanna Martin doubled in a pair and later scored on a wild pitch. West also drove in a run with a single. In the fifth, Reba Smith’s fielder’s choice plated a run.

“We’ve got EL (Friday) and they’ve always been a good game,” said Goddard. “It’s nice to get this one under our belts and play well.”

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