SANFORD – Two years ago, Jan Corliss told her Bonny Eagle High softball players that she was going to retire at the end of the season. Three players — LaShawna Jackson, Connie Grovo and Hannah Goodale (now captains) — asked her to stay through their senior year.

She did. And now the Scots seem determined to keep her as long as they can.

Goodale scattered six singles and her teammates played errorless ball for the first time this season as the ninth-ranked Scots beat No. 8 Sanford 9-0 in a Western Class A preliminary-round game Tuesday.

Bonny Eagle (8-9) took advantage of four errors and five wild pitches that resulted in runs to advance to the regional quarterfinals Thursday against top-ranked Scarborough.

“As much as this is my last year,” said Corliss, in her 27th season coaching the Scots, “we don’t want it to end. So let’s prolong it as long as we can.”

Goodale struck out three and walked one. She was backed by some exceptional defense. In a 5-4 loss to Sanford in the regular season, the Scots made seven errors. This time they handled everything cleanly.

Shortstop Ally Pillar made a nice running over-the-shoulder catch in short center field in the fourth, followed by a fine play by third baseman Mariah Harrison on a foul pop near the Sanford dugout. Center fielder Ashley Usher tracked down a long fly by Samantha Adams in the fourth that might have been out with a fence. And right fielder Sandy Roma saved a couple of runs with a running catch in the gap and two runners on in the sixth.

“The defense was really good,” said Goodale. “They backed me up and were ready to play.”

“We had four practices between games,” said Grovo, the catcher. “We worked hard and it really paid off.”

Sanford (8-8), meanwhile, had one of its poorest games of the season in the field. The Redskins made several uncharacteristic mistakes, each costly.

“It was not our cleanest game,” said Coach Kristi Cochin. “We’ve been stressing all along, with the big games and good teams, that we needed to play clean ball. I don’t know if it was because of the downtime we had, but the team was not prepared to play its best game and it showed.”

Bonny Eagle scored an unearned run in the second — coming in on a clean single by Pillar — then scored four runs in the third. Goodale led off with a triple and scored on a single by Grovo.

Two runs then scored on bases-loaded wild pitches. The final run, scored by Whitney Porter, came in while Usher was being caught in a rundown.

After going down 1-2-3 in the fourth, Corliss had a talk with her players. The Scots had lost a game late after leading 5-0. She stressed they could not let up. “The kids hadn’t forgotten,” she said. “They came out and got some more.”

Again, the Redskins helped. One run scored on an infield throwing error, two more on wild pitches.

“It looked like we got surprised,” said Cochin. “We just didn’t show up to play. Give credit to Bonny Eagle. They executed when they needed to. We didn’t.”

Corliss, nicknamed “Coco” by her captains, was probably more pleased with her defense than anything else. Especially her outfielders. “They’ve really worked hard,” said Corliss. “They got great jumps on the ball, they hit the cutoffs, they correctly decided when to go for a ball and when to pull up. They made good decisions.”

 

Staff Writer Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or at: [email protected]