BIDDEFORD — Tuesday’s Western Class A softball prelim between No. 7 Biddeford and No. 10 Gorham matched up two teams that entered the playoffs scuffling. Both teams were on three-game losing streaks, with the Tigers’ last victory a 5-1 win over the Rams on May 23 that began the Rams’ season-ending skid.

Gorham got its revenge on Tuesday, as the Rams ended Biddeford’s season with a 12-3 victory at Doran Field.

Biddeford began the season 10-3, including wins over South Portland and Cheverus. But starting with a 5-0 loss to rival Thornton Academy ”“ a game that the Tigers played relatively well in but got few breaks ”“ the Tigers’ season took a turn for the worse. Biddeford survived a two-error game to beat the Rams, then lost a pair of one-run games to Bonny Eagle and Scarborough before ending the season with a blowout loss to Thornton.

Despite having more than a week to bury their demons, things started off rough for the Tigers on Tuesday. Starting pitcher Kirsten Lebreux ”“ starting her first playoff game ”“ loaded the bases with just one out in the top of the first inning on two hits and a hit batter. Lebreux was able to escape danger, however, as a force-out at home and strikeout on a 3-2 pitch ended the inning.

“A couple little, tiny mistakes and she got out of it. I thought we were going to be OK after she got out of the inning,” Biddeford head coach Leon Paquin said of Lebreux.

Lebreux settled down by retiring the bottom third of the Rams’ order in the second, but Gorham lead-off batter Samantha Robinson opened the third with her second hit of the game. Lebreux followed that by hitting another batter, then three-consecutive singles produced three Ram runs.

“They’re obviously a quality team ”¦ and we were lucky to jump on that first pitcher,” said Gorham head coach Steve Martin.

The first of the three hits was a bunt back to Lebreux, who was unable to make the throw to first with the base left unattended. The next, with the bases loaded, went through a drawn-in infield to score two runs, and Noelle Dibiase followed that up with an RBI bloop single to left.

Lebreux got the first out of the inning via strikeout, but an error by Abbie Paquette at short scored another run, and after a walk, a single by Julia Gaudette on a 3-2 pitch plated yet another run.

“It’s a helpless feeling. They had some of their hits that weren’t hit hard, but hit in the right spot, and that’s out of our control. And then we made a mistake here or there. We looked a little tight at the beginning,” said Paquin. “A couple mistakes, one little thing after another, and they can happen fast.”

A sixth run came in on a wild pitch, and after Robinson popped out, Lindsey Wilcox hit a two-run double to make it 8-0 and end Lebreux’s outing. Paquette came in and got the third out on a grounder to second.

“The key to the inning was obviously just putting the bat on the ball and being aggressive on the bases,” said Martin. “We haven’t scored that many runs in a long time. A long time, trust me.”

Lebreux tried to answer for the Tigers with a lead-off double on the first pitch she saw in the bottom of the frame, but Gaudette stranded her by getting a strikeout, a pop out and a groundout to end the inning.

Paquette opened the fourth by walking Amber Cavarretta, who stole second then came around to score on a pair of wild pitches, but then retired the next nine batters.

Biddeford finally broke onto the scoreboard with a two-run single by Brittany Roy in the bottom of the fourth to cut the deficit to 9-2, and a fielding error on a Paquette grounder to short brought home another run in the fifth.

But in both innings, the Tigers stranded a runner at third, as they couldn’t capitalize on their opportunities the way Gorham did in the game.

“Just one key hit away, or one bounce away, from getting a few more,” said Paquin.

Paquette ran into trouble in the seventh, as the first three batters of the inning got hits off of her, scoring two runs and the final run of the game came two batters later on another single by Robinson.

The Tigers tried to make some noise in the bottom of the seventh, but Gaudette snared a Cassie Ellis liner for the first out, and Erin Martin’s infield single was wasted when Charlotte White grounded into a game-ending double play.

“We hit a few balls hard that they caught. There’s fell in, ours didn’t,” said Paquin. “The kids fought, they fought ’til the end. They had a good year. They’re a young group. I’m proud of them.”

Gorham now advances to the quarterfinal round, where it will face No. 2 Thornton Academy on Thursday in a rematch of a game the Trojans won 12-0 in five innings in late April.

“That’s going to be really tough,” Martin said of facing Thornton. “I just hope, if we swing the bats, we’ll hopefully give them a game.”

Staff Writer Wil Kramlich can be contacted at 282-1535, ext. 323 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @WilTalkSports.



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