GRAY – Even as a quality pitcher, Charlotte Lewis doesn’t doubt the importance of quality hitting. That was evident Friday in Fryeburg Academy’s 10-4 softball victory at Gray-New Gloucester.

Fryeburg and Gray-New Gloucester combined for 22 hits in the Western Maine Conference game — 13 for Fryeburg — but when Gray-New Gloucester cut an early 6-0 deficit in half, Lewis was impressed by her team’s ability to handle and work through the surge.

“We’re definitely not a team to get down on ourselves,” said Lewis, whose team handed Gray-New Gloucester its first loss. “We say what we need to get done and we do it. We don’t think about the past. We try to move ahead and get the outs so we can get in and hit more.”

Lewis struck out only two batters, but Fryeburg’s offense sustained its young defense. The Raiders (8-0) entered Friday’s game averaging nearly 11 hits, and Ariel McConkey was 3 for 5 in the win.

“We lost almost our entire infield last year, with the exception of Ariel McConkey at second base,” said Lewis, who had two hits, drove in two runs and stole two bases. “Definitely, hitting was an important factor for us. Our defense has been amazing but hitting definitely puts you up on the scoreboard. Every practice of ours is about 85 percent hitting.”

The Raiders allowed one hit through the first three innings, and in the top of the third, Fryeburg sent seven batters to the plate against starter Laura Getchell (12 strikeouts in seven innings) and took a 3-0 lead on three hits and an error.

“Fryeburg got some really nice breaks in getting to the gaps,” Gray-New Gloucester Coach Dave Getchell said. “We, unfortunately, had some nice long shots to the outfield and they were right to their players.”

The next inning, Fryeburg again sent seven batters to the plate to stretch the lead to 6-0.

“We had to score first,” Lewis said. “We had to get the bats going in the first inning. That’s the big thing.”

The Patriots (5-1) responded by cutting the lead in half in the bottom of the fourth. Abby Ryan tripled to drive in Kassie Wilson for Gray-New Gloucester’s first run, and Getchell grounded out to drive in Ryan, and Sammie Wilkins drove in Maggie Chaplin, on base with a triple. But the Raiders responded in the fifth with four runs on four hits.

“I went out and I said, ‘we’re down 6-0,’ ” said Dave Getchell, whose team scored its fourth run on Cassie Stokes’ fifth-inning home run.

“I said, ‘we have two choices right now. We can line up right now and invite Fryeburg over, or are you guys ready to take it to them? If so, let’s get out and start playing this game. You cannot give up.’

“We’ve talked about that in every game but they were definitely at a low point, and I needed to put a thought in their heads. I needed to get them thinking hard about how far they wanted to drive themselves. I was very pleased and they kept going at it.”

 

Staff Writer Rachel Lenzi can be contacted at 791-6415 or at:

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