BIDDEFORD – Early this season, Coach Steph Coleman had questions about her young Kennebunk High softball team, especially after tough losses to South Portland and McAuley.

Each time, the Rams responded and Coleman no longer wonders about her players.

Kennebunk secured third place in Western Class A Wednesday, beating Biddeford 3-2 behind the pitching and hitting of the King sisters, senior Kelly and sophomore Hannah.

Kelly King hit a home run and allowed five hits for her fifth win of the season, and Hannah King knocked in the winning run with a two-run single in the third.

“This is definitely a big step for us,” said Coleman. “At the beginning of the year, I knew in my heart and mind that we were a top-four team. But we were still young and I didn’t know if it was attainable.

“I didn’t want to put too much pressure on the girls, so I didn’t tell them. But after we struggled early and came back, I knew we could handle it. And we set the top four as a goal. It’s exciting to be able to start a goal and finish it.”

Kennebunk finished the regular season 13-3. Biddeford dropped to 11-5, a remarkable season for a team that starts four sophomores and three freshmen. The Tigers likely will drop to sixth in the Heal point standings and play Kennebunk again in the regional quarterfinals.

“This was a good game,” said Biddeford Coach Leon Paquin. “For a young club like this to finish one run out of third place in the SMAA I’m very proud of them.

“We stuck together. We cheered each other on. That’s what you want, for a team to play like that with some emotion. That’s all a coach can ask for.”

Kelly King, who is going to Babson College to play softball, and Biddeford’s Sarah Gilblair both pitched well. King struck out five and walked only one. Gilblair allowed nine hits, a walk and struck out nine.

Kelly King gave the Rams a 1-0 lead in the second with a towering home run to left-center field.

“I had been struggling at the plate, so (Tuesday) I took some batting practice for an hour with my dad,” said King. “I guess it paid off.”

In the third, it was Hannah King’s turn. With the bases loaded and two outs, she looped a single to left, scoring two runs for a 3-0 lead.

“It was a good pitch,” said King. “I just went up there confident and made solid contact. I was pretty caught up in it. This is a great way to end the (regular) season.”

Biddeford came back with two runs in the bottom of the fourth, both coming on an error by Hannah King. But the Tigers didn’t threaten again, getting only two runners on in the final three innings.

“I was nervous,” said King, “because it was my fault. But we pulled it together.”

“This is our best-ever finish,” said Kelly King. “Our goal was to be in the top four and we are. Now we get to play in the conference tournament, and we’ve never been there before.”

 

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

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