AUBURN — St. Dominic pitcher Kathleen Dean excelled in the circle and at the plate during St. Dom’s season-opening doubleheader sweep of Old Orchard Beach on Thursday.

Dean started in the circle and earned the win in both five-inning games, a 13-6 Saints victory in the opener and an 11-1 win in the second game.

Dean also was a catalyst for St. Dom’s offense in the first game, going 4-for-4 with a double and three singles and driving in four runs.

She pitched the first four innings, giving up only one run on three hits. After the Seagulls scored three runs on reliever Emily Andrews in the top of the fifth, Dean returned to the circle and finished off the victory. She finished with nine strikeouts in 4 2/3 innings.

“We brought her in to close that game, so it didn’t get too extended,” St. Dom’s first-year coach Scott Berube said. “We also wanted to take a look at our secondary pitcher.”

Dean pitched all five innings of the second game. She again struck out nine batters and held Old Orchard Beach to five hits and one run.

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Dean said that one of the goals of Thursday’s doubleheader was developing chemistry with Berube and catcher Cami Casserly. 

“Really working spots with the catcher, and figuring out placement with the coach, as well,” Dean said. “Getting a good chemistry between all three of us and figuring out which signs are going to work the best. Learning the lineup — that’s the nice thing about the doubleheader because the first game you get a chance to get to know the whole lineup, then the second game you have a better knowledge of where they’re going to hit, generally.”

She went 0-for-2 at the plate in the second game, but did walk in a run, giving her five RBIs in the two games.

The Saints finished the day with 26 hits (17 in the first game, nine in the second).

Dean credited their work offseason work for Thursday’s success at the plate.

“I am so proud of our bats,” Dean said. “You can tell it’s paying off, the preseason is. These are our first games and it’s so gratifying to see how our hard work is paying off in the games and what we are putting in (is) giving valuable outputs.”

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Andrews excelled at the plate in both games, finishing with five hits, four RBIs and four runs.

Three of those hits came in the opener, when the Saints plated seven runs in the second inning and two apiece in the first, third and fourth.

Old Orchard Beach’s Summer St. Louis pitched all five innings of the first game. She also hit a triple and a solo home run. In the fifth inning, she walked scored a run during the Seagulls’ five-run rally attempt. 

“She’s a phenomenal player,” Old Orchard Beach coach Jason Webber said. “She’s the leader of our team, is vocal, and usually sparks those big innings. The girls gravitate to her.” 

While the Seagulls’ game one comeback fell short, St. Louis kept their momentum going in the second game, ripping a double in the top of the first and then scoring on a throwing error to give Old Orchard a quick 1-0 lead. 

“We got better from game one to game two, and while it might not show on the scoreboard, it showed them the difference between a well-rounded team like St. Dom’s, who you know have four or five girls that play year-round, compared to our girls who picked up a bat three weeks ago,” Webber said.

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The Saints, though, quickly regained control in their half of the first. Ava Apodaca began the five-run frame with a double and then scored a single from Andrews.

Dean struck out the side in the second inning then got out of a jam when Old Orchard Beach had two runners in scoring position in the top of the third. 

In the bottom of the third St. Dom’s batted around the order for six runs and took an 11-1 lead. 

Casserly notched a team-high three hits in the second game, while Andrews had two more hits and three more RBIs, and  Sophia Franciose drove in a pair of runs.

“I think our pitch selection was very good, and we made very good, solid contact with the ball,” Berube said.

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