SANFORD — Kristi Cochin has a very simple hope for her Sanford High softball team: Win one more game every year to keep the program moving forward.

The Redskins took a very big step Tuesday, beating rival Massabesic 3-1 in a Western Class A softball tournament preliminary-round game.

Eighth-ranked Sanford (10-7) trailed 1-0 entering the bottom of the fifth, but rallied behind the hitting of winning pitcher Sam Adams, who tripled in the tying run and scored the winning run on a wild pitch.

“To better ourselves every year, to win one more game every year, is one thing I’ve had as a goal every year I’ve coached,” said Cochin, whose Redskins lost in the prelims last year. “And we’ve done that. It really does feel good.”

Sanford’s reward is a quarterfinal matchup at top-ranked South Portland on Thursday.

“We have to face them sooner or later,” said Cochin. “This game, though, was the one we needed to further our season. Now we can go in there with no pressure and just play softball.”

For a while it wasn’t certain the Redskins would get past a young and gritty Massabesic team. The Mustangs had lost 6-0 to Sanford in the regular season, but sophomore pitcher Dani Egan (seven strikeouts, no walks) kept the Redskins off balance and her teammates played inspired defense behind her, especially shortstop Emily Schatz and catcher Amber Libby.

The Mustangs (6-11) got to Adams for a run in the second when two walks and a single by Taylor Kirker loaded the bases, then Libby scored on a wild pitch.

It stayed that way until the fifth.

“We have a dangerous lineup that can hit the ball productively, but it’s not going to be productive if nothing happens consecutively,” said Cochin. “And we couldn’t put any good hits together.

“I had confidence in my kids that they would break it better. I’ve seen their at-bats get better and better over the course of the game and I was hoping they would figure (Egan) out.”

With one out, Allison Legere reached on an infield error. Up came Adams and on a 3-2 count, she drove the ball to the gap in right-center field.

“I knew we needed to get our bats going,” said Adams. “I knew someone had to start it, so I figured I’d start it.”

Legere came around to score, with Adams ending up on third. Four pitches later, she scored the go-ahead run on a wild pitch.

The Redskins added a run in the sixth when Heather LeBlanc singled, advanced to third on consecutive outs and scored on a wild pitch.

Adams, who struck out 10 while allowing four hits and six walks, gave full credit to her defense, which played errorless ball. Massabesic had only three base runners over the last four innings.

“That was another huge thing for us,” said Cochin. “The cleaner the game, the better the game was going to be for us. We needed to be really clean.”

And while the Mustangs’ season came to a close, they also took a big step just by making the playoffs.

“I’m proud of them,” said Coach Bruce Norton. “To have the season we had, they’ve done really, really well.

“The girls came a long way. They put in a lot of hard work, every single one of them. So we’re happy.”

 

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

Twitter: MikeLowePPH