WALES — Leaving runners on base is nothing new for the Oak Hill softball team.

The tendency is to strand a few but get some when the time is right. That still doesn’t make Allyson Collins feel any better about it.

“Leaving runners on base makes me very nervous,” said the Oak Hill coach. “I’m always anxious. We always tend to have that one big inning. So I was just waiting for it.”

Though it looked as though Telstar might make another escape in the fourth inning Friday, that big inning came instead. The Raiders scored a pair of runs with two outs and then added another in the fifth for a 3-0 win over the Rebels.

“We tend to do that a lot,” said senior pitcher Kortni Michaud. “We’ll get the bases loaded and then we’ll get out. We always have that inning that gets us the win. It’s usually the fourth and fifth every game.”

It was the 10th straight win for the Raiders (10-2). The win bounced Oak Hill up to third in Western B and with consecutive wins over Dirigo and Telstar, the Raiders are on a roll.

“I think we’ve been coming together as a team,” said Michaud. “We’ve been stepping on the field but we haven’t been cocky about it. We’ve cleared our minds and stayed in the game and made sure everything is in front. We did all of our jobs the way we needed to to get this win.”

Michaud got the shutout by allowing just six hits and striking out six. She was aided by three double plays executed by the defense behind her. Catcher Brooke LeBel also made a great catch on a pop up behind the plate.

“We had a few notes on some of them, which helped in knowing where to place the ball,” said Michaud. “We hit spots, and I had good defense behind me.”

Telstar’s Jessie Dirago allowed only five hits and struck out 12. It was a passed ball and two wild pitches that led to Raider runs.

“Jess threw a hell of a game,” said Telstar coach Jim Lunney. “She threw well enough to win. It was three pitches, and it could have been 0-0.”

Oak Hill had stranded two in the second and one in the third. The Raiders got runners to third base only to watch Dirago strike her way out of the jam.

In the fourth, it nearly happened again. After Michaud doubled and  LeBel was hit by a pitch, an error on a Kayla Veilleux grounder loaded the bases.

Dirago struck out the next two batters and had two strikes on another when a low pitch got past the catcher. Michaud scampered home. Then a wild pitch allowed LeBel to score.

“With a team of that caliber, it’s tough to see that many runners on base and not capitalize,” said Collins. “We knew she was a great pitcher. We knew they were going to be tough anyway. We had some key hits, and we had good base running. We’ve been working on our base running a lot this season. We were able to capitalize on a couple of opportunities.”

An inning later, Michaud reached on an error and advanced on a fielder’s choice and wild pitch. She scored on another wild pitch.

“That’s a good team,” said Lunney, who watched the Raiders blank Dirigo 9-0 Thursday. “I knew we had to have our A-game. They have a good defense and a very good pitcher.”

The Rebels had their chance to rally. After being held to just two hits through the first four innings, Telstar got a walk to Dirago and hits by Autumn Morin and Kelsey Averill. Like opportunities in the third and fourth, Telstar’s hopes ended with the third double play turned by the Raiders.

Then in the sixth, Autumn Berry and Becca Howard singled with two outs. Dirago, her team’s clean up hitter, came to the plate, but Michaud struck her out with a change-up.

“I’m very pleased overall,” said Lunney. “Unfortunately three pitches got away. We had our opportunities. We just didn’t do it.”

Kelsey Averill had two hits for the Rebels, who host Dirigo Monday. It likely will be a battle for the second seed in Western C.

“We had a couple base running errors and that hurt us,” said Lunney. “Still, we didn’t get bunts down. We left the bases loaded. Their pitcher is good and the change-up bothered people.”

After 10 straight wins and a home playoff game on the table, the Raiders have a showdown at Madison next Wednesday.

“We feel real good going into next week,” said Collins. “We knew Madison, Telstar and Dirigo were the tell tale signs of whether we could hang with it. Going into the playoffs, I feel good. Hopefully, we can continue on this run.”

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