STANDISH – For all the success Fryeburg Academy’s softball team has had the last three years, it would be hard to call its latest title anything but improbable.

And especially satisfying.

Top-ranked Fryeburg, a two-time defending state champ, scored four unearned runs in the fifth inning Wednesday to rally past Maranacook 4-3 in the Western Class B final at St. Joseph’s College.

The Raiders, who trailed 5-0 and 3-0 in their previous two playoff games, again found a way to win.

“We just trust each other so much,” said shortstop Michelle Rascoe, who ended the game with a lunging catch of a line drive. “Even this game, I didn’t doubt we’d come back.”

The Raiders (18-1) will play Hermon (16-2) in the state final at 4 p.m. Saturday at Brewer High.

“We’re living right,” said Raiders Coach Fred Apt. “Back in March, when we were first talking about this team, I didn’t think we’d be talking here today. We were hoping for a .500 season. But the kids are awesome.”

The Raiders graduated six starters, including All-State pitcher Hannah Hill, from last year’s state champ and most regarded this as a rebuilding year. But early on, the players realized they might have something special. And it was on display Wednesday.

Second-seeded Maranacook (16-3) scored three unearned runs with two outs in the second, the final two coming in on a double by Amanda LaPorte, and pitcher Sarah Maxwell was dominating the Raiders. She allowed a first-inning single, then nothing else for four innings. And then

Maddie Pearson led off the fifth with a walk and advanced to second on a groundout. Pinch-hitter Kaela Mitchell followed with a grounder to short and beat the throw, which sailed into foul territory. Pearson scored from second.

“I think we’re like a team that once a play happens, the whole team gets fired up,” said second baseman Ariel McConkey. “Kaela got a hit, a run scored and that got us pumped up and we rallied.”

After an out, Carla Tripp bunted down the first-base line and the ball was thrown into right field, with pinch-runner Brianna Pelkie scoring the tying run. The throw home was cut off in the infield, preventing a play at the plate in which Pelkie may have been out.

“I took a chance,” said Apt. “We’re going to make them play. We’re not going to get many chances against (Maxwell) so I was going to take every chance we could get.”

Tripp went to second on the throw home, and Brylie Walker came to the plate. With two strikes, she called time just before Maxwell pitched. “She was taking a lot of time,” said Walker. “And I wanted to make sure I was relaxed.”

Well, Walker delivered a single to left and Tripp came in with the tying run. McConkey blooped a single to left, putting Walker on second. Then Maggie McConkey’s infield grounder was thrown away, with Walker scampering home with the winning run.

 

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

[email protected]