Visiting Poland kept things close with the Gray-New Gloucester through four on Friday, April 15 – but Patriots Alie Martel and Alexa Thayer both crossed on pass balls in the fifth to put their squad ahead for good. The Patriots added four more in the waning innings to cap a comfortable, 8-2 W.
“We just started manufacturing some runs,” said G-NG head coach Amanda Harmon. “We were able to lay down bunts and get aggressive on the bases. Playing small ball, getting each player confident – (from) the No. 8 batter to the No. 2 batter.”
The Knights’ second batter, Sydney Hudson, crossed home in the first to give her team a quick, 1-0 lead. The Patriots regained the advantage in the third, though: Mikaela Ryan walked onto base, then advanced when Cara Waltz bunted. Waltz, though she was likely to be thrown out on the play, nevertheless ran – exactly what a smart batter does – and, somehow, beat the throw to first.
“We had a couple situations where we had really great bunts laid right down in front of the plate, a girl on first, advanced her over, got her in scoring position.” said Harmon.
Martel then stepped to the plate and cracked a double to left, rounding both Ryan and Waltz and setting the score at 2-1.
Poland grabbed another – by Erin Brewer – to balance the books at 2-2 in the top of the fourth, but from there, the Knights’ bats dried up while the Patriots’ did not. Martel and Thayer, as mentioned, scored on pass balls in the fifth for another G-NG advantage; Ryan scored on a Poland error in the sixth; and Waltz, Martel and Thayer all scored in similarly anticlimactic fashion in the seventh for the 8-2 final.
“Offensively, we took advantage of a couple of their fielding errors,” said Harmon of the game’s shifting momentum. “We just kind of frazzled them, and kept capitalizing off of that – making them keep making mistakes.”
Harmon had high praise for some of her players, including Thayer. “Alexa – she’s our freshman catcher. It’s not a position she’s used to; it’s completely new (to her). In the first or the second inning, she held on to the ball during a collision at home plate. That was a big play for us. For her to hold to that showed she’s settling into the position, getting confident.”
“Both our pitchers,” Harmon added. “Haley True started the game and pitched through four innings, and then Alie Martel came in and closed it out. The combination of them really worked for us.”
G-NG jumps to 1-0 with the season-opening victory. They looked to maintain that momentum on Wednesday, April 20, when they welcomed Kennebunk, and Friday the 22nd, when Sacopee Valley swung into town; they travel to Poland for a rematch on Monday the 25th.
Haley True takes a cut at the ball early in G-NG’s matchup with Poland on Friday.
Haley True pitched the better part of the Patriots bout with visiting Poland on Friday.
Patriot Amanda Thayer hurls a ball from the shallow outfield after contact by a Poland batter on Friday.
Hannah Dixon unwinds into a throw from short to first for the Patriots vs. Poland on Friday.
G-NG centerfielder Mikaela Ryan reaches for an incoming ball on Friday.
G-NG catcher Alexa Thayer holds onto the ball as Poland runner Sydney Hudson barrels into her, trying to dislodge it and safely tag home.