Some might have looked at last Friday’s Class B softball matchup between unbeatens Cape Elizabeth and five-time Western Class B champ Fryeburg as a test to see if the Capers were legitimate contenders.
Cape Elizabeth Coach Joe Henrikson had already been convinced.
“I have to be honest. I went into that game very confident. I’m not saying I knew we were going to win but I felt like we would go up there and compete,” Henrikson said.
Down 3-0 early, Cape rallied for a 9-6 win.
Mary Perkins, Ashley Tinsman and freshman second baseman Tess Haller each had a pair of hits. Emma O’Rourke and Shannon Nicholson hit key RBI doubles. The pitching combo of right-handed starter Katie Rabasca and lefty reliever Anna Goldstein kept the powerful Raiders in check just enough.
Contributions up and down the lineup has been Cape’s calling card.
“There’s really not an easy out in the lineup,” Henrikson said.
Cape came back in its next game to rout Freeport 17-5 in five innings to improve to 10-0, with sophomore designated player Hannah Saturley going 3 for 4 and Perkins hitting a three-run homer.
Saturley has become a big addition to the batting order.
“I’ve nicknamed her ‘The Weapon’,” Henrikson said. “She’s hitting over .400. Probably closer to .450 and there’s nothing cheap about her hits.”
Tinsman is Cape’s “elite player,” and already a tri-captain with the two seniors: first baseman Nicholson and third baseman Ellen Best. Tinsman hit seven home runs as a freshman and plays shortstop with great range and a strong arm.
“I really believe she’s elevated the play of her teammates,” Henrikson said.
Before Fryeburg became the dominant team in Western B, Cape made five straight trips to the Western title game, winning the 2007 state title. In those days the Capers used the typical formula for softball success: get an elite pitcher and play good defense.
This year Rabasca and Goldstein focus on throwing strikes to catcher Elise Flathers. Cape’s defense and powerful offense (11.1 runs per game) carry the load.
The formula is producing a bundle of wins. Can it also equal a championship?
“Obviously Fryeburg’s a tremendous ballclub and they have an elite pitcher in (Sarah) Harriman,” Henrikson said. “And we almost lost to York and almost lost to Yarmouth so we have to be ready for every team.”
HENRIKSON, 57, won his 200th career game at Fryeburg. He said the milestone is really a tribute to his players over the past 16 years and the support he’s received.
“Every single thing I’ve asked for from the parents and the athletic department they’ve followed through on,” Henrikson said.
Henrikson said assistant coaches Steve Martin and B.J. Nicholson are big parts of Cape’s success. Martin has been with him the longest.
“Steve Martin is absolutely a huge reason this program is successful. He’s a great coach and he takes care of all the administrative stuff and the communication with the parents and the community,” Henrikson said.
Henrikson initially applied for the vacant baseball job. When a different applicant was chosen, Henrikson took the softball job. He quickly realized his softball players were “just as competitive,” as any group of boys and “in a lot of ways easier to coach.”
“I love it. I absolutely love it,” Henrikson said.
Henrikson’s thoughts regarding the importance of players, coaches and community support echoed comments made by Calais Coach Greg Smith in a Bangor Daily News story. Smith won his 300th game last week.
BIDDEFORD SENIOR lead-off hitter Mariah Albert showed game-changing speed in the Tigers’ eighth straight win on Monday at Westbrook. In the bottom of the third, she aggressively charged Catherine Galipeau’s apparent single to right field and came up throwing to first for a 9-3 putout. In the top of the fourth, Albert dropped a looping hit just over Westbrook shortstop Katie Clark’s glove. Halfway to first, Albert was already thinking double and her speed got her there easily.
“That sort of speed is a weapon,” Westbrook Coach Dee Allen said. “And she has the anticipation and understanding of the game to use it.”
Steve Craig can be contacted at 791-6413 or at: