AUBURN — The Edward Little softball team knew it would have a pretty good measuring stick early in the year to gauge the rest of its season by.

The Red Eddies not only played the defending Class A state champions from Scarborough in the preseason but also hosted the defending Eastern A title winners in the season opener Friday.

The Indians had already beaten Oxford Hills handily this week and did pretty much the same Friday against EL. Skowhegan scored seven in the first inning and hardly looked back in a 14-0 win at Auburn Suburban Field. The game was shortened to five innings by the 12-run rule.

“Playing the two teams that played in the state game, those are our guidelines for the end of the season,” said EL coach Elaine Derosby. “How are we going to get better? We have to work hard in practice. Games are your reward for your hard work. We need to step it up a little bit in practice. We’ve got to get better, and we’re going to get better.”

After scoring 21 runs to beat the Vikings Wednesday, the Indians continued to hit the ball with 13 hits Friday. Skowhegan scored seven runs in the first and added seven more in the fourth to put the game away.

“I think what we’re doing right now is we’re taking nice easy swings and trying to hit line drives,” said Skowhegan coach Lee Johnson. “My concern today was the short fence. I was afraid the kids would try to kill it. They realized that they could hit line drives, and they stayed within themselves. They hit the ball pretty well.”

Andrea Quirion led the Indians (2-0) with three hits and four RBI, including a grand slam in the fourth. Eliza Bedard had three hits and drove in three runs. Mikayla Toth had two hits and drove in a run while Bonnie-Jane Aiken drove in two with a hit.

“I know I have some young kids, but I’ve got some kids with experience too,” said Johnson, whose team had three game dates during the preseason and had just one practice on the field outside. Andrea Quirion, Taylor Johnson, Kaitlyn Therriault and MikaylaToth have all got four years of varsity experience, and they’ve been to a state championship game. They’re coming through for us. They’re leading the way.”

EL (0-1) managed just four hits off Therriault, who finished with six strikeouts. 

Hannah Farrington, Hannah Smith, Calli Murray and Jordyn Reynolds each had singles for EL.

“They beat us in every aspect of the game,” Derosby said. “We have to work harder. We had a pretty good preseason, but they’re the Eastern Maine champs for a reason. They believe that they can win. We just hope that we can throw strikes. We hope that we can hit the ball. We hope that we can make plays. When we don’t though, things spiral out of control.”

Skowhegan started the game with four straight extra base hits off starter Emily Schario. Bedard doubled in Toth for the first run. Then Johnson followed with a double. After a fielder’s choice plated Johnson, Aiken doubled in two for a 5-0 lead. Aiken later scored on a wild pitch, and Toth singled in a run.

After seven runs on seven hits, Molly Murray came in to pitch and finished the game. She allowed one hit over the next two innings before the Indians scored seven runs on five hits in the fourth.

The early deficit in the first inning of the regular season deflated the Red Eddies in a hurry. EL lost to Skowhegan in the Eastern A semifinals last spring, 1-0, and came into the season with high expectations for another successful season.

“We have one of the deepest lineups I’ve seen come through this school,” Derosby said. “We have 12 players that can play multiple positions. We had lots of hits last week. We had no problem. If somebody’s not having a good day somebody else can step up but we can’t have 12 people do that in one day. We have to pick each other up. We’re as good as anyone from the shoulders down.”

EL couldn’t mount much of an offensive attack. After Farrington and Calli Murray singled in the first, the Red Eddies only had four baserunners the rest of the game. EL was relatively solid in the field. Brooke Reynolds made a nice running catch in right while Molly Murray made a nice catch in the circle to get a force out.

“We’ve got to get better at the mental game,” Derosby said. “They just have to start believing in themselves and believing in each other and trusting what the coaching staff is trying to get them to do. The mental piece is the biggest piece.”

Skowhegan finished the game in the fourth with seven more runs on five hits. An infield hit by Emma Fitzgerald scored Morgan Buker. Bedard singled in a run and Johnson walked with the bases loaded. Then Quirion drilled a homer over the rightfield fence for the grand slam.

“I’ve liked what I’ve seen so far,” Johnson said. “There’s things we still need to work on, but I’m very happy with our kids’ mindset and how they’re approaching the game.”

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