Edward Little’s Anna LeBlanc reaches out to tag out Hamden Academy’s Samy Ouellette at first base during Wednesday afternoon’s softball game in Auburn. (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)

AUBURN — Edward Little softball coach Elaine Derosby found her team’s mantra after just one game.

“We talk, and I’ve talked to a couple of them, and it may be our mantra, I guess, ‘How long are you going to stay in the valley? The faster you can get out of the valley, back to the peak, the better you’re going to perform at a faster rate,'” Derosby said. “And so maybe that’s for the whole team.”

Taylor Depot committed a costly error for EL in the top of the sixth, but climbed out of that valley and to the highest of peaks when her turn at the plate came in the bottom of the seventh, lining a double inside the third-base line that scored Jordan Cummings for the winning run in a walk-off, 11-10 victory over Hampden Academy at Sweetser Field on Wednesday.

Depot said the error was on her mind when she went to bat in the seventh.

“Especially since I feel like that’s on me,” Depot said. “I just have to do something for the team to get that back.”

It was a season opener full of peaks and valleys for the Red Eddies (1-0) — and for the Broncos (0-1), for that matter. Hampden jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the top of the first, only for EL to answer with six in the bottom of the frame. The Broncos struck for four more in the top of the second to make it 7-6, and the game was back and forth after that.

“Our team from last year to this year has really grown,” Hampden coach Matt Madore said. “Most of these girls played together last year as underclassmen, and so they’ve grown up getting a lot of work. They were playing in the offseason, just trying to get better at softball, and clearly it proved tonight.”

The Broncos went 3-13 last year.

The Red Eddies went 12-5 last year and were the No. 2 team in Class A North, but are much younger this season, especially in the pitching staff. Sophomore Chantel Ouellette, who had a few appearances in the circle last year, started the game and made it out of a first-inning jam, but a two-run home run by Brooklynn Scott in the second ended her day as a pitcher. Freshman Hannah Smith took over and allowed just one unearned run on one hit until another two-run shot by Scott in the sixth — which came one batter after Depot’s error kept the inning alive.

“She’s been working. At the middle school, she was their primary pitcher. So she’s pitched a lot,” Derosby said. “We’ve talked to the three pitchers about, ‘it doesn’t matter what your stuff is, we know that there’s two others that can come in on any given day and any given moment,’ and they’ve prepared themselves for that. So Hannah mentally was ready, that we knew that was going to happen, and she knows that the other two have her back.”

Sydney Hatch pitched the whole game for the Broncos, but she was a different pitcher after the first inning, according to Madore.

“It’s one of those things we’re actually working on right now with her, once she gets warmed up, kind of in the game by an inning or so, she’s lights out, she’s really pitching well,” Madore said.

Hatch struck out seven batters, starting with a pair of punchouts to end the second after EL had put runners at second and third.

However, the Red Eddies got to her for 15 hits, led by four from Depot and three each by Emmy Lashua and Caroline Hammond.

All of Lashua’s hits were for extra bases, with a run-scoring double in the third and a lead-off double in the fifth before scoring and tying the game 8-8. She homered to center to lead off the bottom of the seventh to tie the game at 10 and set up the Red Eddies’ walk-off.

Jordan Cummings followed with a double inside the first-base line that landed just ahead of the charging right fielder. That put her in scoring position with Depot stepping to the plate. Derosby called having Lashua, Cummings and Depot (the Nos. 2-4 hitters who combined for nine hits) start off the bottom of the seventh with the game on the line “almost the perfect scenario.”

Depot admitted to having nerves before her last at-bat, but knew she had to focus and “block everything else out.”

“Emmy just got a home run — which she’s been working for really hard — and Jordan got a nice hit to get on second. And those two were doing their part, it was my turn to do mine. So I was just looking for contact any way I could to get Jordan home,” Depot said.

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Edward Little pitcher Hannah Smith launches the ball during Wednesday afternoon’s softball game in Auburn.Edward Little’s Taylor Depot slides into third base where Hamden Academy’s Eliza Murphy waits with the ball during Wednesday afternoon’s softball game in Auburn.


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