NAPLES—Chelsea Davis capped a top-seventh surge for the Patriots with a two-RBI single at Lake Region on Wednesday afternoon, May 8. Gray-New Gloucester had begun the game out front, only to fall behind 3-2. They found their mojo again as the game neared its conclusion, however. Final score: 5-3.
“We just stayed, and finished the game,” G-NG head coach Amanda Harmon said, asked what allowed her girls to pull out the W. “We played hard through that last pitch, that last pitch at-bat, that last pitch for the final out of the game.”
“It really comes down to something quite simple,” Lake Region head coach Wayne Rivet said. “We went into the last inning knowing they had their top of the order up. And it’s all about making plays. Those plays that were there for us were very routine; it was nothing special. But at the moment when the game mattered, we just didn’t make the play.”
G-NG jumped ahead in their very first ups, with lead-off hitter Alexa Thayer reaching on a single, stealing second and third, and scoring on another single, this one by Morgan Curtis. Madi Pelletier also rounded the bases to begin the contest: 2-0 after half an inning.
The Lakers got one back in the third: Jordan Weese slapped a single down the leftfield line to reach, moved to second when Maddie Rock walked onto base, then arrived home on Haley Fernald’s drive double into center. 2-1.
“We knew what they were going to come in with,” Harmon said of Lake Region. “His top of the order with those two lefties – they’re able to bunt, they’re able to slap, so we wanted to try to set our fielding up to shut that down.”
Lake Region tallied a couple more in the fifth, seizing the lead. Savannah Silke kicked things off: Silke bunted, arriving safely at first on a G-NG error; she dashed to second on Weese’s follow-up hit, a grounder single toward short. Rock grounded a single as well, hers into center, and loaded the bases.
Only Silke and Weese would make it home, though; Rock would end up stranded. Silke crossed when Brooke Harriman sac-flied, and Weese when Fernald grounded towards second and coaxed an error from the Patriots baseman there. 3-2, Lakers.
“We have a lot of kids on this team with great attitudes,” Rivet said. “They say, ‘Let’s battle from inning one through inning seven.’ So in their minds, I don’t think they believe they can never come back. It was just a matter of being a little more aggressive swinging the bat. We took a lot of pitches early.”
Trailing, G-NG stumbled through their next ups, their second-to-last: Fernald (on the mound for the Lakers) and the girls behind her combined to ice the Patriots one-two-three in the stretch, inching closer to a hard-fought, comeback W.
But the Patriots regrouped and snatched victory from the jaws of…well, you get the picture. Thayer reached first on a Lakers error at third to begin it. She then stole second during Lydia Espling’s at-bat, and reached third when Espling sac-bunted – Harmon’s top priority, it seemed, was to tie the game; she could worry about grabbing an advantage after that.
And G-NG did tie things up: Thayer scored on a Pelletier single. Curtis then walked on, and the team had two more girls eager to strike. The Patriots surged out front when Davis singled past the Lakers’ shortstop and into center. They ultimately sealed the deal with a one-two-three bottom of the seventh on defense.
“We have veteran kids in our infield,” Rivet said. “So there’s no excuse, to say, ‘Oh, we’re young, and the moment was too big for us.’ It’s just the opposite. We have a veteran team for the first time in I don’t remember how long. When big moments come up, we want them to be able to make plays. And they should be able to, by the time they’re juniors and seniors. So, good for Gray that they battled right to the end.”
“Madi definitely pitched a great game,” Harmon said, asked who played well for the Patriots. “She stayed composed, and worked her pitches great.”
Lake Region slid on the loss to 5-3. The Lakers bested the Patriots 6-2 back on April 29, so Wednesday’s result was a sweet bit of revenge for G-NG, who’re now 3-3.
LRHS was slated to visit Yarmouth on Friday the 10th, but weather forced the postponement of that game. They host Wells on Monday the 13th.
Adam Birt can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter: @CurrentSportsME.
Haley Fernald unwinds into a pitch.
Lakers first-basewoman Julia Murch leans out to grab a throw.
Jordan Weese reels in a ground ball at third base for Lake Region.
Anna Gilbert connects with a pitch for the Patriots.
Madi Pelletier awaits at third a teammate’s efforts at the plate.
Izzy Brindly holds leans out in anticipation of a throw at first.