Emily Swan of Leavitt beats the throw to Fryeburg Academy catcher Morgan Fusco to pull the hornets within one run during the first inning in Turner on Saturday. (Daryn Slover/Sun Journal)

TURNER — Fryeburg did all it could to help the confidence of its freshman pitcher, Emilia DeSanctis. By the time Leavitt was able to shake DeSanctis’s confidence it was too little, too late.

The Raiders scored a pair of runs in the top of the first before DeSanctis even stepped into the circle and they never let go of that lead, beating the Hornets 8-5 in a Class B South softball game Saturday.

“That’s what we needed to do, and we talked about that on the way here, is getting that lead early against them, and hopefully get our pitcher some confidence,” Fryeburg coach Fred Apt said.

The Raiders (2-1) got to Leavitt pitcher Hannah DeBlois in the first. Tina LeBlanc walked with one out, then Kaylee Emery and Paige O’Connell hit consecutive singles to bring home the first run. Emery later came home when Maddie McIntyre drew a bases-loaded walk.

The Hornets (1-3) responded with a run of their own in the bottom half of the frame. Emily Swan led off with a single, and Hannah Chouinard reached on a failed fielder’s choice. DeSanctis followed by getting two quick outs on a pop up and a strikeout, but Annika Mitchell slapped a single into left field to score a run.

Fryeburg knocked DeBlois out of the circle in the top of the second before scoring two more runs. After a strikeout and a full-count walk freshman Leah Maheux took over pitching for the Hornets. She was greeted with consecutive run-scoring singles by LeBlanc and Emery before settling down and retiring six of her next eight batters — with the two both reaching on errors.

“Not many freshman can do that,” Leavitt coach Kevin Leonard said. “There’s certain individuals that you know that can do that. I honestly didn’t have a second thought bringing (Leah) in.”

The Raiders got to Maheux again in the fourth, with Emery and O’Connell hitting triples on consecutive pitches to make it 5-1.

“We got some big hitters, as you saw,” Apt said. “As long they can keep that up we’ll be okay.”

After a quiet second and third the Hornets nearly scored against DeSanctis in their own half of the fourth, but she induced a groundout with runners at the corners to end the threat.

A pair of groundouts sandwiched around a walk got DeSanctis within an out of getting out of the bottom of the fifth, but the Leavitt hitters didn’t let her escape again. Maheux started a string of four-consecutive singles that scored three runs. Maheux drove in Chouinard, then Mitchell and Kassie Murch both singled on grounders to load the bases. Anna Prosser looped a two-run single into right to drive home two more and cut it to 5-4. Mallory Casey walked on full count to load the bases again, but DeSanctis induced another inning-ending groundout.

“We talked to kids about taking more pitches,” Leonard said. “Stop jumping on it, and whether or not that had much to do with it, I’d like to think it was my coaching call. There are a lot of things that went into it, there was some luck that went into play.”

The Raiders immediately responded to give DeSanctis insurance again. Morgan Fusco led off the sixth with a double, then scored on LeBlanc’s RBI single. LeBlanc made it to third on the play, advancing on a throw to home and an error. That allowed her to score on Emery’s groundout.

Emery’s fifth and final plate appearance resulted in another run. She drew a bases-loaded walk against Swan, who took over to pitch in the seventh. That gave the Raiders an 8-4 lead.

“She’s just a great kid who wants to battle,” Apt said. “And that’s what she is, a battler.”

Leavitt got one run back in the bottom of the seventh. Maheux led off with a single, moved to second on Mitchell’s groundout, and scored on Murch’s single. But DeSanctis induced a fielder’s choice grounder, then ended the game with her fifth strikeout.

“That’s one thing with this club, there’s no end. You almost have to tell them what inning it is because they just keep on going and going,” Leonard said. “But yeah, we just came up short today.

“We had some issues, a lot of mental issues. … It could have been a much closer game if we played our best. Unfortunately we didn’t.”

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Fryeburg Academy second baseman Kayrin Johnson grabs a line drive for an out during Saturday’s game against Leavitt in Turner.  (Daryn Slover/Sun Journal)

Paige O’Connell of Fryeburg Academy smiles at her coach, Fred Apt, after hitting an RBI triple against Leavitt on Saturday. (Daryn Slover/Sun Journal)

Leavitt coach Fred Apt holds baserunner Leah Maheux up at third base as the ball comes in from the outfield to Paige O’Connell of Fryeburg Academy in Turner on Saturday. (Daryn Slover/Sun Journal)


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