BIDDEFORD – Any game between rivals Thornton Academy and Biddeford is filled with drama. Toss in a stirring pitching duel and the threat of a last-inning rally and, well, everything heightens.

So it was Monday afternoon when the host Tigers held off Thornton Academy for 2-1 win in an SMAA softball game at Doran Field. Biddeford junior Sarah Gilblair outdueled Thornton sophomore Julia Geaumont to hand the Trojans their second consecutive loss.

“This was a big game for us in terms of Heal points,” said Biddeford Coach Leon Paquin. “Thornton’s a good team and is going to win a lot of games. And we’ve got (undefeated) Scarborough coming up (Wednesday), so you don’t want to start snowballing the wrong way.”

Biddeford, which was eliminated from the playoffs by Thornton last year, improved to 7-1. The Trojans dropped to 5-2.

Gilblair was in control throughout, keeping the Trojans off balance and making clutch pitches when needed. She allowed five hits, struck out 11 and didn’t walk a batter.

“I was just mixing it up, trying to hit my spots,” said Gilblair. “The first strike is the key.”

Gilblair also started a key double play in the fifth inning, with the score tied at 1. Kelsey Boissonneault led off with her second hit, a single to left. She was replaced by a pinch runner, Courtney Lynch. Hannah Ebling then bunted the first pitch in the air, right to Gilblair. She caught it and threw to first baseman Heather Fecteau for the second out.

Biddeford then came up with the go-ahead run in the bottom of the inning.

Amethyst Hersom led off with a high pop-up that fell safely in the infield behind first base. With one out, she stole second, then went to third on a groundout by Renee Trotter. Kristina McCurry lined a 1-1 pitch into left-center to score Hersom with the go-ahead run.

“I just wanted to redeem myself,” said McCurry, Biddeford’s No. 6 hitter. “I had struck out (in the second inning), and my teammates helped me build my confidence back up.”

Thornton threatened in the top of the seventh, when Chrissy Remmes led off with a single and was sacrificed to second. But Gilblair struck out the next two batters to end the game.

“When she hits her spots she’s as good as anyone, and she made quality pitches today,” said Paquin.

Biddeford’s other run came in the second, when Trotter was hit by a pitch and scored on a two-out single by No. 9 hitter Brianna Michaud.

“The ball was where I like to hit it,” said Michaud.

“One thing I tell the kids is that every time they go to bat, they’re dangerous,” said Paquin. “You could have struck out four times, but that fifth time, you might get the winning hit.

“It takes a team to win, not one person, not two people. A team. That’s the message I’m stressing this year.”

Gilblair agreed. “We worked as a team, and that’s all I can ask for,” she said.

The Tigers overcame an error that led to a run in the third and made the routine plays.

“When we make plays, with a pitcher like Sarah, we can beat anyone,” said Paquin. “But when you don’t make plays, you’re not going to beat anyone. Especially your rival.”

And that’s the message Thornton’s John Provost is giving his players. The Trojans got another nice pitching effort from Geaumont, who allowed only five hits and a walk while striking out eight, but they had three errors and a couple mental mistakes.

“It’s routine stuff,” said Provost. “We’ve got to go back to the basics. It’s really a simple game.”

 

Staff Writer Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or at:

[email protected]