PORTLAND – They both had something to prove, these softball teams from Thornton Academy in Saco and McAuley High. And while only one came away with a victory Friday afternoon, they both felt they answered some questions.

Thornton Academy got a two-run double and clutch pitching from junior Julia Geaumont to hand McAuley its first loss of the season, 3-1, at raw, foggy Mahaney Athletic Park.

Geaumont’s double broke a 1-1 tie in the top of the fifth, and then she pitched out of a couple of jams to preserve the victory.

“Our goal this year is to show up in the big games,” said Thornton’s senior shortstop Lauren Titus. “We’ve struggled with better teams so far and just wanted to come into this game and show that we’re ready to contend this year. We proved that today.”

The fourth-ranked Trojans, who hadn’t played in eight days because of the weather, are now 8-2, the losses to unbeaten teams Scarborough and South Portland.

The second-ranked Lions came into the game 11-0, but had faced only one of the top six teams in Western Class A, Kennebunk. And while they lost, they weren’t entirely disappointed.

“A hit here, a hit there and we’re 12-0,” said Robbie Ferrante, coach of the Lions. “Our kids still feel good because they know they can play. I’m proud of them as far as that.”

Shelby Bryant, the Lions’ top hitter, said her teammates simply couldn’t get the big hit off Geaumont, who stranded 10 baserunners.

“We definitely proved we can play with the top teams,” she said. “We are one of the top teams.

“And this was just an awakeing. We really have to bring it to these next few teams (Scarborough, South Portland and No.6 Biddeford) if we really want it.”

The game was tied at 1 entering the fifth — an RBI triple by Thornton’s Meghan Agger in the second, a bases-loaded walk by McAuley’s Sarah Mercier in the third — when Geaumont came up with runners on first and second with two outs.

“I was going to walk her but first base wasn’t open,” said Ferrante. “Then, ‘Boom.’ One pitch.”

Geaumont lined a shot up the middle for a double, chasing home Michelle Cote and Titus.

McAuley stranded two runners in the bottom of the fifth and then put its first two runners on in the bottom of the seventh as Bryant bunted for her second hit and Gabby Townsend walked.

The Lions were optimistic since five of their 11 wins have come in their last at-bat.

But Geaumont settled down.

“They’re scrappy and they’re going to do whatever it takes to win,” she said. “So I know I have to bear down and do my job. If I let two runners on, that means I have to hit perfection the rest of the inning or they’re going to find a way to win.

“I had to focus and find my spots.”

She got the first out on a strikeout — her 11th of the game — and then caught a pop-up for the second out. First baseman Hannah Ebling fielded a grounder for the third out and the Trojans escaped.

“Some of these games are confidence boosters for us,” said Geaumont.

“Showing that, if we do play seven innings of softball, we can hang in there and do it. And that’s what we need.”

The Trojans also continued their defensive resurgence, with another errorless game.

 

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

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Twitter: MikeLowePPH