PARIS — Friday morning, the Edward Little softball team was probably as excited to board a bus as the Sandra Bullock character in the movie Speed.

The Red Eddies endured a lengthy, frustrating day Thursday on a road trip to Bangor for a game that was  eventually washed out because of the weather.

The trip included travelling with two other teams on a packed bus. Because the EL boys’ tennis team played indoors, the other two squads had to wait once the baseball and softball games were postponed. The teams didn’t arrive home until after 9 p.m.

“It was awful,” Edward Little pitcher Sarah Hammond said. “We got up there and warmed up and came home. It was two hours for practice and two hours back. It was awful.”

After another day of school, the Red Eddies were back on the bus for a key KVAC showdown at Oxford Hills. 

“I give them a lot of credit,” EL coach Elaine Derosby said. “They came back and were fired up today. They were not happy that they were on a bus yesterday. Today, they decided they were going to put it together.”

EL produced a complete effort and earned a significant victory over the Vikings. Hammond pitched a three-hitter and earned the shutout in a 4-0 victory. It was the fifth straight win for EL, which was ranked sixth in Eastern A prior to the win.

“We were itching to play,” the junior pitcher said. “We were ready for Bangor and I think that just moved over into today.”

Hammond didn’t allow a hit until the fifth inning. Two of the Vikings three hits were infield hits. Only Cody Akers managed a hard hit single off her. Hammond had lost earlier in the season to the Vikings, 9-8.

“Earlier in the year, I was just getting going,” Hammond said. “I was still getting into it. I had a rough game that game. So I wanted to redeem myself and do it for the team.”

She got plenty of support, both at the plate and in the field. Molly Murray had two hits and two RBIs for EL, while Hannah Smith and Olivia Jensen also drove in runs. The Red Eddies had some great plays in the field. Calli Murray made a nice running catch in center that led to a double play. Molly Murray started a nifty 4-6-3 double play in the seventh.

“They played together and pulled together,” Derosby said. “They’re really buying into what we’ve been trying to do, which is believe in each other and that we’re one group. No role is too big or too small. When we all do our roles well, good things are going to happen.”

It was the fourth loss in the last five games for Oxford Hills (10-5), which was fourth in Eastern A entering the game. The Vikings got some solid pitching and play in the field but just couldn’t get any offense going.

“We didn’t really get anyone on with no outs,” said Oxford Hills coach Cindy Goddard. “So we weren’t able to bunt. (Hammond) did a nice job. We didn’t really have any rhythm. When we hit it, we hit it right to someone. We hit some pop flies. They really hit the ball well today.”

EL (11-4)  got its first run in the third. Emmy Lashua led off with a triple. Smith followed with a ground out to second that plated the first run.

Then in the fourth, Calli Murray and Grace Beaudet led off with singles. That chased Akers from the circle. Molly Murray greeted Whitman with a triple on the second pitch for a 3-0 lead. Jensen followed with a sacrifice fly.

Hammond kept the Vikings in check through the first four innings. Annika Kahkonen reached on an error in the first, but she was the lone base runner until Akers singled in the fifth. She was caught stealing on a throw by Lashua. Anna Piirainen reached on an infield hit later in the inning, but Hammond ended the threat with a strike out. She struck out five and walked none.

“She’s really coming along,” Derosby said of Hammond. “She doesn’t believe in herself. She doesn’t believe when we say that she’s one of the best pitchers in the league, but maybe she’s catching on.”

The Vikings got a Madison LeBlond infield hit in the sixth, but that inning ended when Calli Murray made a nice running catch in center and had a runner caught off first for the double play.

Oxford Hills got a runner on in the seventh when Hannah Kenney reached on an error, but a ground ball to Molly Murray at second was tossed nicely to Taylor Depot for the force at second. She fired it to Jordyn Reynolds at first for the double play. Hammond struck out the next batter to end the game.

“To Molly’s credit, the other day, she tried to tag and wasn’t successful with it,” Derosby said. “We talked about her having to make that throw. I saw her hesitate, but she knew she had to make the throw. Good credit to Taylor. She had some tough throws from shortstop and made that throw and it was a good stretch by Jordyn. It was all of them.”

The Vikings had their own dazzling plays in the field. LeBlond had a couple of nice catches at short. Shannon Fillebrown made a nice running catching in center and Akers made a nice play at third to start a double play that ended the fifth.

Akers and Whitman combined to scatter eight hits, two coming off Whitman in relief. Oxford Hills just couldn’t match EL’s offensive production.

“The second half of the season, our hitting hasn’t been as powerful as the beginning,” Goddard said. “We haven’t been as hot. Pitchers are getting better.”

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