TURNER — The Gardiner softball team hasn’t scored many runs this season. Friday’s game against Leavitt, a fellow contender in Class B South, wasn’t much different for the Tigers, who squeaked by the Hornets 3-2 at Leavitt Area High School.

“We have been struggling offensively all year,” Gardiner coach Ryan Gero said. “We have been scoring enough runs to get by, and pitching has been winning games right now. Once the bats come alive, we will be fine.”

The victory is the second this season in which the defending state champion Tigers (5-0) have scored three or fewer runs.

Both starters got through the first two innings pretty much unscathed. Leavitt’s (4-1) Abby Albert ran into trouble in the top of the third when a Maddie Inman sacrifice bunt sent Grace Plourde to third base. Plourde reached third when there was a throwing error trying to get Inman out at first. Inman tried to take second base, but Leavitt threw her out.

Gero said he’s fine with Inman taking chances on the base paths because of her speed.

“She’s so frigging fast, you have to let her do her thing,” Gero said. “She can make plays happen, and she can make errors happen because of how fast she is.”


Gardiner catcher Devon Clary’s dropped a single into center field to plate Plourde. Clary then stole second during Ray Gilbert’s at-bat. Gilbert, Gardiner’s starter, helped her own cause with a single to right field, and Clary scored for a 2-0 Tigers lead.

“We knew coming in this was a big game for us,” Gilbert said. “We needed to score first. That was the goal for us. I think we did pretty well. We have been struggling a bit, but I think we are getting back in our rhythm.”

Albert got Dakota Lovely to ground out to end the top of the third. Gilbert then put Leavitt down in order in the bottom of the third.

Gardiner ended Albert’s day during the top of the fourth. Taylor Takatsu led off with a double and scored for a 3-0 lead when Lainey Cooley singled up the middle. After Cooley’s hit, Albert left the game for freshman Hailey Cyr. Cyr got the next three batters out.

Albert allowed three runs, four hits, had two walks, and struck out two in three-plus innings.

“Our pitcher was starting to get the ball up,” Leavitt coach Kevin Leonard said of Albert. “She did well up to then, we just didn’t score the runs.”


Cyr allowed two hits, had one walk, and struck out three batters.

Leavitt bats came alive in the bottom of the fourth.

With one out, Sam Deblois cranked a fly ball to deep center field that carried over the fence for a solo home run. The next batter, Nola Boutaugh, blasted line drive down the right field line and raced around the bases. She arrived at home plate standing up as there was no throw to the plate because of a dropped relay throw after Boutaugh had already rounded third.

Cyr kept the momentum going with a single to right field. Kylee Spugnardi came in to pinch run, but during Hailey Turcotte’s at-bat, Spugnardi left first base early and got called out. Gilbert struck out Turcotte to end the inning.

Gardiner left two on in the top of the fifth, while Sam Withee started to Leavitt’s bottom of the fifth with a line-drive single to right field. Jordyn Boulay came in to pinch run and reached third after an Emily Poland sacrifice bunt and a fly out by Megan Dutil to center. Logan Arseneault also got on base in the inning.

Boulay and Arsenault were stranded in scoring position as Gilbert ended the inning with a strikeout.

Gilbert allowed a single to Boutaugh in the bottom of the sixth, but that was the last Leavitt batter to reach base. Gilbert retired the side in order in the bottom of the seventh to end the game.

Gilbert allowed six hits, no walks, and had eight strikeouts.

“She had a shutdown performance today,” Gero said, “other than two swings, and they were great hits.”

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