YARMOUTH — Greely Coach Mike Robb didn’t have to say much to his players before Friday’s softball game against Yarmouth. He and his players knew the Clippers needed a win to secure a spot in the Western Class B playoffs.

“I just told the girls, ‘These bubble teams like Yarmouth are looking at us as their way in,’” said Robb.

Well, the Rangers shut that door.

Greely supported the four-hit pitching of Mary Zambello with outstanding defense and timely hitting to beat the Clippers, 8-1. The Rangers (13-2) scored four times in the sixth inning to break open a tight game.

Yarmouth (8-8) was 10th in the region entering the game. The top nine teams qualify.

“I think that takes care of it,” said Yarmouth Coach Jim Senecal. “We had a bad two-game stretch a week ago (losing to Freeport and Poland). The kids bounced back and stuck together but, you know, we finished .500 and that’s about where I thought we’d be.”

Yarmouth’s Abbie Hutchinson nearly matched Zambello for the first six innings, allowing only three hits and two runs.

But in the sixth, the Rangers finally broke through. Danielle Cimino started it with a line single to left. Edith Aromando followed with a hard grounder off Hutchinson’s glove, putting runners on first and third.

McKenzie Gray came in to relieve Hutchinson and got an out, with pinch-runner Michelle Kahn stealing second. Then Karlee Biskup reached out on a low, outside pitch and dropped a looping single to right, the ball landing inches fair.

“I was just trying to get it somewhere on the right side,” said Biskup. “I was able to just get it (inside) the line.”

“That was a huge hit,” said Robb. “It broke things open.”

Lindsey Arsenault followed with a chopper back to Gray, and Kahn slid home safely for a 4-0 lead, with Biskup going to third. Katie Whittum hit a fly ball to center for the second out, and Abbey Ridge made a strong throw home to catcher Julie Dursema. But Biskup slid in hard to dislodge the ball and sprawled forward to tag the plate.

Caroline Hamilton, who played an outstanding game at shortstop, hit an RBI single to drive in the final run of the inning.

“It’s a little disappointing,” said Dursema, who had an RBI double. “I thought we could have won it in the first couple of innings. Then that sixth inning really hurt us.”

“Greely is a really good team,” said Senecal. “They always put pressure on you, and that pressure is hard to defend.”

The Rangers, meanwhile, defended everything well. Zambello struck out four and was aided by an early double play. Then there was Hamilton at shortstop. She made two sparkling plays, one time ranging behind the pitching circle near second base to field a grounder, the other trapping a sinking liner. Each time, she threw out the runner.

“I’m confident any time the ball goes to her,” said Zambello. “She has one of our strongest arms and I know she can get it there.”

“Isn’t she fun to watch?” asked Robb. “She loves the game, it’s like it’s in her blood.”

Hamilton said knowing the game meant a lot to Yarmouth made it easy to get up for it.

“We knew every out mattered,” she said, “and we worked hard to get each one.”

 

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

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