The preseason pundits didn’t expect much from the Cape Elizabeth softball team. The Capers, coming off an 8-8 non-playoff season last year, were young, inexperienced and not supposed to contend.

Well, two weeks into the season the Capers are 3-1, coming off a huge 2-1 victory Monday over Greely, the team many considered the best in the Western Maine Conference.

Coach Joe Henrikson knows the season is still young. But the confidence gained by these young Capers could lead to much later success.

“We’re starting to play with a little confidence,” said Henrikson. “We’re getting a little momentum, a little confidence, that maybe we can turn this around.

“I’m really pleased with the effort the girls are giving.”

The Capers are doing this with several players Henrikson had no idea would be in the starting lineup when preseason began: freshmen Elise Flathers at catcher and Mary Perkins in left field; sophomore Ellen Best at third; and junior center fielder Sage Hunt, a transfer.

“The lineup we have now, if you asked me four weeks ago if these girls would be in it, I would have said, ‘No way,’ ” said Henrikson. “But these kids have really stepped in. They’ve been huge contributors.

“They’re making the plays. And that’s the big thing.”

That’s because senior pitcher Ally Boyington is not a strikeout pitcher. “She can’t break a pane of glass,” joked Henrikson. “But she throws strikes and doesn’t walk anyone. And the kids are making the plays behind her.”

She’s also one of the team’s better hitters. “She’s been lighting it up so far,” said Henrikson.

Monday’s win over Greely was, in his words, “unbelievable, amazing.”

The Capers were without one of their captains and best players, No. 3 hitter and shortstop Lauren Nicholson, who became ill earlier that day.

She was replaced in the field by Emmy Ham, a junior who provided the game’s biggest hit, and in the batting order by senior Ali Johnson, who started the two-run rally in the first.

Johnson singled with two outs. After a walk, Ham hit a double to knock in both runs. Boyington gave up a run in the bottom of the first but shut the Rangers down the rest of the way, allowing only four hits with no walks.

“That’s how it’s gone so far,” said Henrikson. 

ANOTHER TEAM off to a quick start is Westbrook of the SMAA.

The Blazes, who won only three games last year, are 2-3.

First-year coach Melanie Craig isn’t entirely surprised. She saw some talent in tryouts and now her players are believing they can compete.

“They’ve been beaten up the last couple of years,” she said. “But they’re excited now. And they’re playing with more confidence.”

Case in point: The Blazes lost 10-1 to perennial favorite Scarborough. But Scarborough scored nine runs in the first inning.

“For six innings we played Scarborough to a 1-1 game,” she said. “Those are the things I’m focusing on. We have a lot to celebrate.”

But she won’t let the team let up. Nor does she expect it to.

“These are the hardest-working girls I’ve ever been associated with,” said Craig. “They’ve done everything I’ve asked.” 

EVERYONE KNEW Georges Valley had a lot of powerful hitters in its lineup, but the Buccaneers have simply erupted in their first three games, scoring 44 runs.

Jessie Veilleux has three home runs and Kenadi Grover continues to pound the ball, getting three doubles the other day.

Georges Valley will, of course, merge with Rockland next year to form one high school.

Coach Rusty Worcester said that his team is determined to make this a memorable final season.

“We’ve talked about that Gold Ball and how it would feel to bring it back in our final season,” said Worcester. “We talk about (winning the championship) every year. But this year the girls know it would be really special.”

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