Gray-New Gloucester’s Hannah Dixon makes a diving stab at a fast sinking line drive during Wednesday’s softball game against Poland. Dixon made the catch and the Patriots beat the Knights.

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Gray New Gloucester pitcher Alie Martel winds up for a pitch in the fist inning of Wednesday’s game agaisnt Poland. She had a no-hitter with 2 outs in the 7th

Gray New Gloucester pitcher Alie Martel winds up for a pitch in the fist inning of Wednesday’s game agaisnt Poland. She had a no-hitter with 2 outs in the 7th

GRAY — Alie Martell was one strike away from throwing a no-hitter against rival Poland, then Sarah Walton laced an 0-2 pitch into right-center for a double.

It wasn’t a big deal for the Gray-New Gloucester junior pitcher, who got the next batter out to finish off a big win for the Patriots in a 7-0 Class B South softball victory Wednesday.

“They were going to get a hit at some point,” Martell said. “I was hitting my spots well, and she just happened to make really good contact.”

Walton was the only Poland (6-10) batter to get into scoring position. The only other Knight to reach base was Tori Tibbetts, who drew a walk on 3-2 pitch with two outs in the second.

“Stepped up too late,” Poland co-coach Kat Seeley said. “I think we got to be ready to play first inning.”

“We didn’t swing the bat,” co-coach Kayla Vannah added. “Can’t hit the ball if you don’t swing the bat.”

The Patriots (9-6) had no problem swinging the bat, collecting 14 hits off Poland freshman pitcher Karley O’Leary. Eight of the nine batters in the Gray-NG lineup got a hit, and the lone one who didn’t was able to successfully move over a runner who eventually scored.

“It was great to see,” Gray-NG coach Amanda Harmon said. “It’s also great for them to feel that, too, and also understand that, yeah, you know, a fielder’s choice or I popped up or flew out, I still advanced a runner. That’s important, that helps score runs. That’s something that we’ve also been pushing for them to understand, and today is a good show of that.”

The Gray-NG bats got going two batters into the bottom of the first. Cara Waltz doubled, then Martell, Hannah Dixon, Izzy Brindley and Mikaela Ryan all followed with singles to put the Patriots up 3-0.

“We’ve been building with momentum,” Harmon said. “We’ve been trying to use that as a key. However, we still have to play the rest of the game, even if it was three runs in the first inning, three runs in the fifth inning. We still have to play offense and defense to win the whole game. We can’t just think it’s enough to move on, we have to continue on to get more.”

Well, the Patriots did keep the bats going. Haley True led off the bottom of the second with a single and Alexa Thayer followed with another. Martell drove in True two batters later with a sacrifice grounder.

After taking an inning off from scoring — though Jordan Grant did single to become the eighth Patriot with a hit — Gray-NG got back onto the scoreboard in the fourth. Thayer singled with one out, stole second, moved to third on a passed ball, then scored on Martell’s bloop double inside the first-base line.

“We’ve been working hard just waiting for our pitch, and hitting it hard,” Martell said.

Two more runs came across in the fifth. Ryan led off with a single on the first pitch of the frame, then groundouts by Grant and Chelsea Davis moved her to third before she came home on True’s RBI single. True advanced on an error in the outfield on the play, then made it home on Thayer’s single that dropped into right field.

That gave the Patriots seven runs — or one more than they scored in a season-opening, 13-6 loss to the same Knights they beat Wednesday.

“It’s a completely different game,” Martell said. “Completely different.”

Martell’s pitching was a big difference. She struck out 12 batters, including one in each inning and five to start innings.

“I felt really good coming into it,” Martell said. “We’ve been working really hard, and it’s all coming together now.”

The Patriots could feel good entering the game, knowing their ticket to the postseason was already punched. The Knights, however, needed a win to help their own playoff push.

Vannah said she wasn’t sure if that shaky playoff outlook had any effect on her team Wednesday.

“I didn’t put it on them that way,” Vannah said. “I said, ‘If we win this game, we’re solidifying our own fate. If not, then we’re waiting to hear what everybody else does in order to see what happens.’ I tried to come into this as light and loose as possible, but it could be personally-added pressure.

“If this ends our season, this isn’t the way that I wanted to end our season.”

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Gray-New Gloucester’s Mikaela Ryan hustles out an infield hit and manages to get to first safely before Poland’s Maddy Simard can put a tag on her during Wednesday’s game in Gray.

Poland’s Sarah Walton makes a diving stab at a line drive but can’t come up with the ball during Wednesday’s game against Gray-New Gloucester.

Poland’s Sarah Walton makes a diving stab at a line drive but can’t come up with the ball during Wednesday’s game against Gray-New Gloucester.

Gray-New Gloucester’s Haley True slides into third base as Poland’s Shelby Lafrinea fields the throw from her catcher during Wednesday’s game. True was safe on the play.


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