SANFORD – Sanford High softball coach Kristi Cochin saw Thursday’s game with Marshwood as almost a must-win.

Thanks to a running catch by second baseman Caitlin Pierce to end the game with the tying run on base, Sanford got its win, 7-6, and got off the field minutes before a drizzle turned into a steady rain.

The Hawks had already scored twice in the inning, with a booming RBI triple from Nicole Harvey scoring Sammy Crosman and Micki Bosse’s third single of the day to drive in Harvey.

Winning pitcher Sam Adams caught Kim Hussey (2 for 4) with an inside fastball for the second out. Hawk freshman Kaylah Abdul, who already had two slap hits, then looped a ball into shallow right field.

Pierce got a great break on the ball and made a running catch with her back to the diamond.

“A little scary in every inning. My goodness,” Cochin said. “That’s a tough Marshwood team. They really kept us on our toes. They put the ball in play. Sam had 10 strikeouts but it seemed every ball they hit was a hard-hit ball.”

Marshwood’s upset win against Noble the previous day opened the door for Sanford (10-5) to possibly climb above Noble and get the fourth seed.

The advantage of finishing fourth is twofold. It assures a home-field advantage in the Western Class A quarterfinals and Sanford is 6-2 at Witham Street Fields.

More importantly, as Cochin sees it, the fourth seed gets to play in the SMAA playoffs while the fifth seed sits idle for nine days.

“That’s an awfully long time between games,” she said.

Marshwood (8-6-1) fell behind 4-1 before rallying to tie the game on RBI singles by Hussey and Abdul in the fourth, and a long home run to right by Gina Ricciardi to lead off the fifth.

The Hawks generated 10 hits off Adams, who has beaten South Portland and Scarborough.

“The bottom part of our lineup has made some changes where they’ve changed their swings a little just to put pressure on and to make sure we’re nine strong all the way through the lineup,” Marshwood Coach Renee Caverly said.

In the sixth, with the game still tied 4-4, Pierce reached on a comeback single that Harvey, the Hawks’ pitcher, knocked down but was unable to field cleanly.

That started a sequence of missed defensive opportunities that led directly to a 7-4 Sanford lead.

“I felt we had a good effort but I think there might have been a little lull after (Wednesday’s) big win. We have one more game to pull the pieces all together,” Caverly said.

Adams and Pierce had RBI singles in the first for Sanford, and Kellie Tovey added an RBI grounder to give Sanford a 3-1 lead. That increased to 4-1 when Tovey singled in the third and moved around on three wild pitches.

Both pitchers at times struggled in the wet conditions. The game started in a light rain, worked through mist and then a dry spell before the rain began again at a modest rate in the sixth inning.

Harvey allowed only five hits but walked Sanford’s first two batters in the first and both scored.

Adams was constantly getting a new ball, and lacked her usual control and pop on the fastball. Both batters she walked scored.

“The rain definitely is a factor but we knew we just kind of had to play through it. We’ve practiced in it before,” Adams said.

Steve Craig can be contacted at 791-6413 or at:

scraig@mainetoday.com