WESTBROOK — Playing the way a team on a seven-game winning streak should, the confident and fundamentally sound Biddeford High softball team made it eight straight Monday.
The Tigers strung together six hits including a two-run homer by senior captain Katelyn Lebreux to chase Westbrook starter Kayla Tibbetts in the second inning. From that point on it was a combination of error-free defense, spot-on pitching by sophomore Abbie Paquette and alert base running that finished off a 7-1 Western Class A win at Westbrook.
“If we play it right — and we have to — we’re going to be competitive,” Biddeford Coach Leon Paquin said. “We can’t be making all sorts of errors and expect to get away with it.”
The Tigers are now 8-3. The three straight losses to open the season are behind them, said Lebreux.
“Going 0-3 you know something is up. After that we focused a lot more,” Lebreux said.
Westbrook (5-5) generated just four singles against Paquette, who struck out nine and walked one. Six of the strikeouts were called third strikes.
“Abbie hit her spots. They crowded the plate and she did a good job of going inside and getting them to back off on balls over the plate,” Paquin said.
Westbrook has lost three of its last four games, including two straight.
Blue Blazes Coach Dee Allen said Paquette’s pitches had movement and good speed, “and we didn’t take a good approach. We watched a few strike threes go by and we typically don’t do that. It was just an off game for us.”
Biddeford gained control quickly with a combination of hard and gently-placed hits against Tibbetts.
The Tigers’ three freshmen starters initiated the rally.
Erin Martin grounded a single up the middle, Charlotte White laid down a clean sacrifice bunt, and Joceyln Moody followed with a ringing double down the left-field line for a 1-0 lead.
After Tibbetts struck out Sara Scott, Katie Plante stayed back just long enough on one of Tibbetts’ off-speed pitches to bloop a hit into shallow left. Showing the alert base-running characteristic of her older teammates, Moody got a good jump and scored easily. A futile throw to the plate allowed Plante to advance to second. When the throw hit the backstop, Plante went to third.
Tiger lead-off hitter Mariah Albert followed with a spinning grounder that she easily beat out, scoring Plante.
Then it was Lebreux’s turn. She connected well on a fly ball to left-center that caught a favorable breeze and cleared the fence for a two-run homer.
“I hit (a home run) sophomore year at Kennebunk so today was nice. Today was a surprise,” Lebreux said. “I didn’t know it was a homer until I was all the way to third base.”
Paquette followed with a line single back up the middle, prompting Allen to replace Tibbetts with Allie Lemay.
Lemay worked the final 51/3 innings, allowing one earned run on three hits, striking out five. She retired the final 10 batters she faced.
“Allie did great. Kayla’s been our number one all year and she’s done a nice job for us,” Allen said. “Biddeford played solid and they hit the ball well.”
Westbrook strung together a walk and singles by Clark and Emily Thornton to load the bases without an out in the sixth. Paquette responded with a strikeout and two groundouts, limiting the Blue Blazes to one run.
Steve Craig can be reached at 791-6413 or at: