TOPSHAM — The last time the Mt. Ararat High School softball team took on Lewiston, Eagles catcher Taylor Pare had a day to remember, finishing 5-for-5 with a pair of home runs and six RBIs.

In the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference rematch on Wednesday, Pare continued to wear out the Blue Devils, beginning the day by singling twice and picking up three RBIs.

So, in a tight 5-5 contest in the seventh inning, it was little surprise that Lewiston coach Erica Crowley directed pitcher Erica Brochu to not give Pare anything close to the plate to the hit.

Problem was, Pare still turned a walk into the equivalent of home run, stealing second, taking third on a wild pitch and scoring moments later on a second wild pitch to give the Eagles a 6-5 walk-off victory.

Lewiston dropped to 1-11, while Mt. Ararat improved to 4-8. The Blue Devils host Lawrence on Friday, while the Eagles play host to Bangor on Friday.

“I have been watching their squad and they have come a long way,” said Mt. Ararat coach Rick Bartlett of the Blue Devils. “We hung in there and played good defense, and did what we had to do to win.”

For Crowley, the strategy of pitching around Pare was easy.

“She was a big contributor to their runs, and it was our plan to pitch around her, knowing she is a phenomenal hitter. I would rather give up a base,” said Crowley.

With two outs in the first inning, the Blue Devils showed how far they have improved, stringing together four straight singles for a 2-0 lead. Michelle Malia, Brochu, Maegan Mathon (RBI) and Mikaela Brown each hit the ball solidly.

Mt. Ararat cut the deficit in half in the first, as Pare singled to score Micaela Mitchell.

Lewiston kept hitting as Lauren Belleau doubled to the gap in right-center field, went to third on single by Sami Rioux and scored on a Kim Leslie wild pitch. Rioux scored moments later on a ground out by Cleo Miller for a 4-1 Blue Devils lead.

“Every game we want to get better and every time we have played a team a second time, we have gotten better and the margin has shrunk,” said Crowley of her team’s improvement. “We know we won’t change things overnight, but the goal is to change our program for the better.”

The Eagles bounced back in the second, led by a Pare two-run single that scored Mitchell and Mallory Nelson to tie the game, 4-4, and Mt. Ararat claimed a 5-4 lead in the third when Leslie scored on an error.

Lewiston came right back to tie the contest in the fourth. Rioux ripped a double to the left-field fence, Miller sacrificed her to third and Rioux came home on a wild pitch.

Both pitchers settled down from there. Leslie held the Blue Devils without a hit over the final three frames. For the game, Leslie allowed nine hits and walked one.

Meanwhile, Brochu was cruising, not permitting a Mt. Ararat hit after the second inning and finishing with three strikeouts and five walks.

Two of those walks were to Pare, who began the season nursing a surgery-repaired knee sustained during field hockey.

“She has come a long way back from the knee surgery and couldn’t have done that early in season,” said Bartlett of Pare’s steal of second in the seventh. “She is the key to our team. She makes us go.”

“I wasn’t surprised, but I was hoping they would let me hit,” said Pare. “I wanted to steal and got told to steal, and that gave me a chance to get in. Lewiston has gotten better and I am proud of them. They have grown as a team. We were lucky, but it was one of our better games this season.”

“I am super proud of them, and despite the last inning, it shows how far they have come,” said Crowley of her squad. “This was our best hitting game. We have struggled letting seven, eight girls on base, and today we came through.”

Mitchell was 2-for-4 for Mt. Ararat, including a double, while Hutchins made several solid plays at second base.

Rioux, Brochu and Brown were each 2-for-4 at the plate.


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