If she can’t live without it, she’s learning to live with it.

Spruce Mountain pitcher Paula Despres has been battling a nagging hip injury this season. It’s hampered her at times, but the Phoenix hurler has managed it nicely as the season has progressed.

“It kind of gets to me, especially after a long time pitching,” said Despres. “When I don’t have to throw a lot of pitches, it’s a lot easier. If it’s kind of a tough game, and I have to throw a lot, it can get to me.”

The nagging hip injury began bothering her last fall. She’s been struggling to deal with it but has learned to adjust to its quirks.

“Some days it’s good and some day it’s not,” she said.

Lately, Despres has been pretty good. The Phoenix are currently 10-3 and have won seven straight. During that time, Despres has allowed just seven runs and posted two shutouts. That included a blanking of Mt. Abram and a four-hitter against Wiscasset, a 14-1 win.

“I know when I’ve had enough and what I can do and can’t do,” she said.

The Hills are alive

After a 2-2 start, the Oxford Hills softball vaulted its way up the Eastern A standings with a recent winning streak.

The Vikings won six straight, including a 1-0 win over previously unbeaten Erskine.

“That was huge,” said pitcher Crystal West, who pitched the shutout. “That helped move us into third.”

Oxford Hills had lost to the Eagles 2-1 earlier in the year during a 2-2 start. The Vikings went toe-to-toe with unbeaten Erskine, and it was a solo home run by Breanna Martin that lifted Oxford Hills to the win.

“We fought with them all game,” said Martin. “A one-run difference is not a huge blowout by any means. There was no comfort the whole game. It could have gone either way.”

The Vikings have tightened up the defense and gotten some of the bats going during that recent surge. During those six straight wins, the Vikings outscored opponents 45-5 and had two shutouts.

“It showed that we can stick with some good defenses,” said Oxford Hills coach Cindy Goddard. “That really helps. We haven’t been giving up a lot of runs. It’s been whether our offensive game can get enough runs.”

The Vikings’ streak ended Wednesday in a 9-2 loss at unbeaten Cony. Oxford Hills then had a setback at Bangor. The Vikings had four errors in a 12-0 loss.

The Vikings have dropped back to fifth in Eastern A. With some key games with Messalonskee, another club in the top three, and Mt. Ararat, battling for a playoff spot, the Vikings will have to fall back to what worked during that win streak down the stretch.”

“The teams in the top eight are the one’s you need to stick with because it’s those teams fighting to stay in the top eight,” said Martin. “So they’ll be going for the big points.”

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