CAPE ELIZABETH – Two outs? Not a problem for Cape Elizabeth High’s softball team. Not as long as Coach Joe Henrickson can talk.
Whenever the Capers are batting with two outs, Henrickson yells a not-so-subtle reminder: “There’s only two outs.”
In an unexpectedly wonderful season, Cape Elizabeth’s hitters have heeded his words.
The latest example came Thursday when the second-seeded Capers struck for three runs with two outs in the fifth inning to rally past 10th-seeded Poland 4-2 in a Western Class B quarterfinal.
The Knights had scored twice in the top of the fifth. The Capers, who stranded eight in the first four innings, didn’t panic.
“I feel we do our best with two outs,” said third baseman Ellen Best, one of only two seniors for the Capers. “The bulk of our runs this season have been scored with two outs.”
Cape Elizabeth (16-1) will be home against sixth-seeded Gray-New Gloucester (13-5) in the semifinals Saturday.
The Knights (11-7) had taken a 2-1 lead in the top of the fifth on their own two-out hit — a two-run single by Kelsey Deburra.
And Poland looked in control when Kylie Martin needed just six pitches to get the first two outs in the bottom of the inning.
That’s when the Capers did their thing. Hannah Saturley looped a single to right and went to second when the ball squirted away, then was replaced by pinch-runner Megan Nicholson. Katie Rabasca followed with a single to left, scoring Nicholson to tie it. She was replaced by a courtesy runner, Nicole Penley.
Shannon Nicholson then lined a ground-rule double to right-center, with Penley having to stop at third when the ball rolled under the outfield fence. But Best, the No. 9 hitter, lashed a single to left, the ball tipping off the glove of shortstop Lindsey Theriault, to drive in two runs.
“I was just thinking we needed to move the runners,” said Best. “I was shooting for the gap and I’m really glad I got it.”
As each batter came up with two outs in that fifth, Henrickson would remind them loudly that there were only two outs. “That’s my saying, everyone in the league knows that,” he said.
The Capers never get tired of hearing it.
“It just rings true for us,” said Rabasca. “I think we scored our first 10, 15 runs this year with two outs.”
“It just gives us motivation,” said shortstop Ashley Tinsman. “We want to go out and get more runs and more hits.”
The Capers could have used more hits in the first four innings but were stymied by Poland’s defense and Martin’s pitching. Then the Knights got to Rabasca for their two in the fifth — and could have had more. But Tinsman threw a runner out at third on a perfect relay from center fielder Mary Perkins, then to Best at third.
“She’s a fantastic player,” Poland Coach Kat McKay said of Tinsman. “She’s only a sophomore but plays with the class of a senior. She keeps her head on in tight situations. She’s one of those players that you hate seeing the ball hit to her because she knows what she’s going to do with the ball. That throw was a dead-on throw.”
And it might not have been Tinsman’s best play. With a runner on first, she made a running catch in short center.
“I guess this shows that our team never gives up,” she said. “We have confidence and we don’t let it get to our heads that we’re losing. We just play like we usually do.”
Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or at: