KENNEBUNK — In a softball game where both pitchers brought their A stuff and hits were hard to come by, Friday afternoon’s Biddeford v. Kennebunk contest came down to two key plays in the field.

Both went the Tigers’ way, and as a result they came away with the slimmest of 3-2 victories.

With Biddeford up 2-0 in the bottom of the third and starter Abbie Paquette largely sailing along, the Rams created their first true chance at a run when Allison King singled to center, advancing to third on passed ball and a Meg Cadigan sacrifice bunt.

It looked like Liz Cable would then send King home when her liner appeared to be destined for the right-center field gap, but second baseman Erin Martin leapt in the air to snag the ball for the third out of the inning.

“That was a heck of a play, it really was,” Kennebunk coach Jim Lang said. “She got up high and that ball was hit about as hard as it could be. A few plays like that here or there make a big defense.”

The other difference maker came two innings later in the top of the fifth, when with two outs Katelyn Lebreux hit a hot shot that Rams third baseman Gabby Harrison couldn’t handle.

On the next pitch Lebreux took off for second and catcher Britt Madore’s throw bounced off the runner’s leg, careening all the way into left-center to allow Lebreux to come all the way around for the Tigers’ third run without a single hit in the inning.

“We scored the winning run by being aggressive,” Biddeford coach Leon Paquin said. “If we don’t steal, they don’t throw the ball into center field and she doesn’t go all the way around to score that winning run.

“By playing the game aggressively we manufactured that last run, which turned out to be pretty big.”

It turned out to be huge in the bottom of the seventh, when after giving up just two hits all game Paquette ran into trouble when Harrison led off with a single and Katelyn Wilson followed with a double, moving to third on an errant throw as Harrison scored.

“I was proud that they came back battling,” said Lang, whose team dropped to 2-4. “It was really good to see that.”

But after the double Paquette buckled down, getting Madore to ground out to second on a play that scored Wilson for the first out. Brennan Cain tried to keep the rally going when she singled, but Paquette finished with a flourish by striking out King and pinch hitter Krystal Livermore to end it.

“They started hitting me and I was like ”˜Oh no what am I going to do,” Paquette said. “So I really started to focus and try to hit my spots, and I did. If I get into those kind of situations I know I’ve just got to go harder and believe I can do it.”

“Mentally she was in,” added Paquin, who said that relieving Paquette never crossed his mind. “If I see her body language and she looked like she was losing it and was looking in the dugout after every pitch, then we’ve got to think that way. But she stayed composed and did her job.”

On the other side Kennebunk starter Carrin Burns was just as good, giving up only two hits and striking out five.

But both those hits came in Biddeford’s two-run first inning, which got started when Lebreux struck out but advanced to first as the ball got past Madore.

Paquette followed with a single, and Lebreux then advanced to third when Cable fumbled Alyssa Baldino’s infield fly. That allowed Paquette to steal second without a throw on the first pitch to Martin, who proceeded to drive a Burns fastball into center to plate the game’s first two runs.

That was the end of the scoring until Lebreux’s trip around the bases in the fifth for the run that ultimately helped push Biddeford (4-3) to it’s fourth win in a row after starting the season 0-3.

“Beginning of the year we probably would have lost this one because we were on a losing streak,” Paquin said. “But when you’re on a winning streak you get the breaks, you make things happen and you get the wins.”

— Staff Writer Cameron Dunbar can be contacted at 282-1535, Ext. 323.

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