STANDISH — The T-shirts worn by the Fryeburg Academy softball players and fans have a very simple message: “We’ve got swagger.”

It’s not bragging when you can back it up.

And Tuesday night, that’s exactly what the Raiders did.

Top-ranked Fryeburg Academy won its fourth consecutive Western Class B championship, getting a brilliant pitching performance from freshman Sarah Harriman to beat third-ranked Oak Hill 6-1 at St. Joseph’s College’s Richard Bailey Field.

Harriman had a no-hitter for 61/3 innings, at one point setting down 16 consecutive batters before allowing two singles and a run. She didn’t walk anyone and struck out 11 as Fryeburg improved to 19-0. Harriman also drove in three runs with a triple and a single.

“She definitely had a great game,” said senior first baseman Ashley Watkins. “She told the seniors she wasn’t going to let us have a bad game. And she didn’t.”

Fryeburg, which won back-to-back state titles in 2008 and 2009 before losing in the state game last year, will play Caribou or Bucksport at 11 a.m. Saturday at St. Joseph’s. The Eastern Class B final was postponed Tuesday and will be played at 3 p.m. today

“This is starting to be fun,” said Raiders Coach Fred Apt.

Fryeburg wasted no time taking command, scoring three runs in the first inning to give Harriman all the runs she would need.

Carla Tripp led off by reaching on an error and promptly stole second. Maddie Pearson singled her to third, then Maggie McConkey blooped a single to center, scoring Tripp.

Two outs later, Harriman ripped a liner into the gap in left-center, scoring two runs and ending up on third. “I had been struggling lately,” said Harriman. “When I went up there I knew I needed to hit the ball. And it felt great off the bat.”

The early lead was crucial, said Apt, because Fryeburg had to rally in both of its previous tournament victories.

“We talked about that on the bus over,” he said. “We’ve been passive the last two games, not as aggressive as we want to be. Our one and two hitters were struggling.

“We know things can happen when those two get on. And right away, Carla got on and then Maddie got a hit.”

Freyburg added a run in the second, on an RBI single by Pearson (three hits), then two more in the fifth, on an RBI triple by Charlotte Lewis and a run-scoring single by Harriman.

“They were very aggressive at the plate,” said Oak Hill Coach Julie Boucher. “They had some great hits, hits into the gaps. And they were aggressive running the bases too.”

Harriman was nearly untouchable. She got out of the first on six pitches. Then, after hitting Hall with a pitch to lead off the second, set down the next 16 batters before Taylor Fillion got a one-out single in the seventh.

Harriman had struggled in the first two playoff games, but watched video over the weekend of her pitching motion and found a cure. She blew her fastball by the Raiders of Oak Hill, at one point striking out five consecutive batters.

“She cleared her head,” said Apt. “You know how pitchers are. All of a sudden she was great again. And she was great out there.”

Harriman knew she had regained her control in warmups. Asked if she was disappointed she lost the no-hitter, she said, “Not really. This is about the whole team. I knew if I just threw strikes and they hit it, my team has my back. And I also knew if they scored some runs, we could come back.”

Watson, who’s played on all four regional title teams, said many people are surprised by Fryeburg’s continued dominance. But she said the Raiders are here for a reason:

“We all bring intensity to the field,” she said. “And we all believe in each other.”

 

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

Twitter: MikeLowePPH