June 6, 2013

Softball Notebook: Despite low seed, Clippers brimming with confidence

By Steve Craig scraig@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

They're the lowest remaining seed in any class in the high school softball playoffs, but the 12th-seeded Yarmouth Clippers were not in awe of Tuesday's 13-2 destruction of No. 5 Mountain Valley in a Western Class B preliminary game.

AREA TOP 10

1.  Scarborough

2.  South Portland

3.  Fryeburg Academy

4.  Oceanside

5.  Cape Elizabeth

6.  Sanford

7.  Thornton Academy

8.  Noble

9.  Greely

10. Biddeford

"They didn't get that excited," said Yarmouth's first-year coach, Amy McMullin. "I thought they would have, but we just came out so strong the first couple innings that they felt confident the whole game. They were very humble about it."

Pitcher and leadoff hitter McKenzie Gray set the tempo, McMullin said. A long two-run homer by freshman Mari Cooper pushed the lead to 6-0 in the second inning.

Now Yarmouth is hoping the third time will be the charm against Greely.

The fourth-seeded Rangers (12-4) won both regular-season meetings: 7-1 at home and 11-8 six days later in Yarmouth. The latter game was tied 6-6 through six innings.

Yarmouth also had close losses against No. 1 Fryeburg Academy (5-3) and No. 6 Gray-New Gloucester (5-4). The Clippers are the only team to beat No. 2 Cape Elizabeth this season.

"Those were big moral victories, losing by only one or two runs to the top teams," McMullin said. "We knew that would help us in the long run."

A year ago, Yarmouth did not make the playoffs and suffered several mercy-rule defeats.

Today's other Western Class B quarterfinals are No. 10 Poland (11-6) at No. 2 Cape Elizabeth (15-1), and Gray-New Gloucester (12-5) at No. 3 Oak Hill (12-3).

Fryeburg (15-1) has already advanced to the semifinals, beating No. 8 Lincoln Academy 12-0 Wednesday in a game moved to avoid a conflict with Lincoln Academy's graduation.

Cape Elizabeth Coach Joe Henrickson said "nothing, absolutely nothing, would surprise me," regarding the quarterfinal matchups.

For example, he noted, Poland allowed just 25 runs in the regular season.

"That means they're in every game," Henrickson said.

Fryeburg has the historical edge with its five consecutive regional titles. Fryeburg's Sarah Harriman and Greely's Dani Cimino are the division's two dominant pitchers.

Cape's sophomore shortstop Ashley Tinsman has established herself as a current and future star, hitting .547 with six homers, 19 RBI and 30 runs scored. The Capers also have an exceptional one-two pitching punch, with right-handed starter Katie Rabasca and lefty reliever Anna Goldstein.

Gray-NG is coming off a convincing 9-2 win against No. 11 Maranacook, with Stephanie Greaton pitching a two-hitter. Oak Hill played virtually the same schedule as upset victim Mountain Valley.

As McMullin put it, "Our kids play tough teams all year. Mountain Valley's schedule just didn't look as strong. As a coaching staff we were pretty confident. We just didn't want to let the kids know that too much."

 

IN WESTERN CLASS A, anyone interested in watching a pair of games has that choice Thursday. No. 3 Sanford (11-5) will play No. 6 Bonny Eagle (11-5-1) at 2 p.m. at its Witham Street field in Springvale. Then they can scoot over to Scarborough to watch the top-ranked Red Storm play No. 8 Marshwood (9-7-1) at 6 p.m.

In the other quarterfinal Thursday, No. 7 Biddeford (11-6) is at No. 2 South Portland at 4 p.m.

 

UNIVERSITY OF Southern Maine assistant softball coach Bob Grinnell was smiling as he received text messages telling him of Marshwood senior third baseman Samantha Crosman's two-homer day in the Hawks' 3-2 prelim win at Westbrook while he was at Biddeford watching the Tigers beat Massabesic. Grinnell said Crosman and South Portland catcher Sam DiBiase intend to play softball at USM.

 

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

scraig@mainetoday.com

Twitter: SteveCCraig

 

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