AUGUSTA —  While her teammates were enjoying a pregame get-together Saturday, Arika Brochu was sleeping.

The junior pitcher from Cony has been nursing a sinus infection for the last few days and was hoping to find some rejuvenation in her rest.

“We had a pasta party (Saturday) morning, and I was sleeping on the couch,” Brochu said. “It was a little hanging out before the game, and I was sleeping and getting as much rest as I could.”

While she may not have felt well in the morning, she appeared more than fine in the pitcher’s circle in the late afternoon. She pitched a three-hitter and helped Cony beat Oxford Hills 9-2 in their Eastern A semifinal.

The Rams advance to Tuesday’s regional final against Skowhegan.

“I started feeling better throughout the game,” Brochu said. “Five-pitch innings helped out a lot. I might not have been able to make it if we’d had innings where I went through four, five or six batters.”

Brochu struck out seven and didn’t allow a hit until the sixth inning, a Madison LeBlond double. The Vikings got two hits and two runs off her in the seventh but couldn’t produce much offensively against her for much of the game.

“We didn’t make a lot of defensive mistakes and we put the ball in play more than we did last time against them,” said Oxford Hills coach Cindy Goddard, whose team was one-hit by Brochu earlier in the year in a 2-0 loss.

Brochu was aided by a six-run fourth inning. Oxford Hills pitcher Crystal West had no-hit the Rams for the first three innings, but a lead-off hit by Olivia Deeves that bounced off the first base bag got the inning rolling.

“It was a domino effect,” Brochu said. “That was really nice to have. It took the pressure off me. I didn’t have many great at-bats today, but it was nice to see everyone else pick up my slack.”

Maggie Russell had a pair of hits and drove in two runs while Autumn Sudsbury also had two hits. Alyssah Dennett had one of the bigger hits in the game, a three-run triple that doubled the lead. Michayla Dostie and Delaney Keithley also drove in runs for the Rams (15-3).

“The kids hit well,” said Cony coach Rocky Gaslin. “We made some good things happen. We got some good clutch hits.”

Oxford Hills (13-5), which had won six straight games, got a hit and RBI from Shannon Fillebrown. LeBlond and Anna Winslow had the other hits, both extra bases.

It was a pitchers duel for the first three innings as Brochu and West breezed through the order. The only base runners were Dennett, hit by a pitch in the first, and Russell, on a walk in the second.

In the fourth, Deeves’ single got things going for Cony. After an out, Kassidy Turgeon was hit by a pitch and Russell walked to load the bases. A grounder by Dostie to short was thrown home for the force, but Deeves beat the wide throw for the first run.

“We should have pulled them in and gone for the out instead of the play at home,” Goddard said. “That kind of kept the inning alive. Then they get a couple of hits.”

A Keithley grounder to short got an out on a tag of the runner heading for third, but Turgeon scored to make it 2-0. After another walk, Sudsbury singled in a run and Dennett followed with the three-run triple.”

“That took a little fizzle out of us,” Goddard said. “It took a little bit to come back. I’m glad we came back in the seventh. Their pitcher had a lot of runs to work with, but we still hung in there. We didn’t roll over and die.”

Cony added to the lead in the sixth, scoring three runs on two hits and two more walks.

“A lot of pitchers we faced were not getting a lot of strikes,” said Gaslin of his team’s discipline at the plate. “So we try to stay off the bad pitches. We try to sacrifice and get on base. Early on, we weren’t doing that. We were swinging at bad pitches and popping up. Being a little more disciplined at the plate has helped out a lot.”

Turgeon plated Sudsbury on a fielder choice and then Russell followed with a two-run single for a 9-0 lead.

“Autumn Sudsbury, she’s our No. 9 hitter and she had two hits,” Gaslin said. “That was nice to see.”

The Vikings got the double from LeBlond with two outs in the sixth. Then with one out in the seventh, Winslow tripled. She scored on a Fillebrown single. After walks and an error loaded the bases, Erin Morton, who has stepped in to replace the injured Taylor Johnson at short,  walked in the second run. Brochu then settled down and got the two final outs, a strike out and a long drive by LeBlond that was caught in center.

“(LeBlond) had some good hits,” Goddard said. “She’s got a lot of power for a little 80-pound body.”

The Vikings had played Cony tough in the regular season loss and knew they could provide a challenge Saturday. That six-run inning proved too big a deficit for Oxford Hills.

“They got the big hits when they really needed to,” Goddard said. “If we’re down two runs, it’s a whole different game. Six runs is a lot to come back from.”

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