The Rams’ Grace McGouldrick hashed 11 Ks versus visiting South Portland on Friday, May 27, leading Gorham to a 7-1 victory over the Riots. 

“I felt good,” said McGouldrick. “I was a little nervous, because my warmups were a little meh, but once I actually got on the mound, I felt good. And I felt confident in my team for backing me up”

“She threw so well tonight,” Gorham head coach Renee Thibodeau said of McGouldrick. “From the beginning, I could tell she was on her game. And she stayed consistent.”

“We couldn’t put the bat on the ball today, and Grace, she’s an excellent pitcher,” said South Portland head coach Alexis Garrison. “She has great speed and good movement and she knows where to place the ball, the right position.”

McGouldrick earned two of her Ks in the top of the first, and three more in the top of the second. Meanwhile, on the other side of the plate, she and her girls posted a big, three-run bottom of the first, an opening salvo from which the Riots couldn’t recover.

Lindsey Wilcox kicked off the action with a single to shallow left; she round to third when McGouldrick singled to wide right, and scored in a collision at home with Riots catcher Abbie Jellison on Carli Labrecque’s at-bat.

McGouldrick, who’d stolen twice while Labrecque was at the plate, tagged up and scored when Shayla Harris flew out to right. Finally, Noelle Dibiase reached first on a 1-2 fielder’s choice that caught Labrecque at the plate, then dashed all the way home again when Kali Perry blasted a triple to centerfield that South Portland’s Madison Houlette couldn’t quite backhand to end the inning.

Gorham’s fiery first-ups set a tone the team surfed to victory. “When we set the tone early, we really stay that way through the whole game,” said McGouldrick. “So when we did that, I knew everything was going to be fine.”

Dibiase scored again in the third, launching a standing double off the centerfield wall, advancing to third on a Perry single to shallow center and reaching home on a hard grounder by Moira Corbett that Riots shortstop Miranda Gleason bobbled.

In the fourth, the Rams inched still further ahead when Wilcox knocked a triple off the rightfield wall and crossed home on McGouldrick’s follow-up single to left. South Portland got one back in the top of the sixth, however: McGouldrick walked Maeve Kelley onto base before Stephanie Aceto grounded out 6-3 to advance her. Kelley snuck to third on a pass ball during Houlette’s at-bat, then scored when Grace Rende sliced a barely-fair single to right.

It was 5-1, but the Rams weren’t done yet.  Labrecque singled in the top of the sixth to score both Wilcox and McGouldrick again for the 7-1 final.

“Our offensive portion was really good,” said McGouldrick. “We’ve been working on that every practice, because we’ve been struggling with that a little. Getting our bats going early really got us pumped up.”

“It’s a part that we’ve kind of been on and off,” Thibodeau said of her girls’ bats. “Tonight, it seemed like it was contagious. Once one girl started to go, the other girls got their bats swinging.”

South Portland starting pitcher Aceto didn’t work her most powerful magic on the mound that night. The sheer volume of work she’s done this season was bound to take some toll eventually, though: She’s thrown in every Riots outing this year.

For the Rams, Aceto’s fatigue proved a boon. “One thing we’ve been talking about, is how we’ve got to take advantage of our opportunities,” said Thibodeau. “I felt like we connected with that tonight.”

No. 10 Gorham jumped to 9-7 on the win. The Rams travel to No. 7 Massabesic for a prelim bout on June 7. 

For a longer writeup and additional photography, visit https://news.keepmecurrent.com/category/sports/

South Portlander Taylor Bachelor leads off third, guarded by Gorham baseman Noelle Dibiase.

South Portland ace Stephanie Aceto hurls a pitch toward home in her team’s road loss at Gorham on Friday.

Gorham’s Renee Deering connects with the ball during Friday’s bout with South Portland.

Riots second baseman Maeve Kelley reels in an infield fly vs. Gorham on Friday.

The Lady Rams sang the National Anthem as a team before the start of Friday’s bout with visiting South Portland.

South Portland’s Grace Rende leaps for a fly to left. Rende and the rest of the Riots outfield looked very strong against Gorham, despite their team’s loss.

Grace McGouldrick threw 11 Ks for the Rams vs. visiting South Portland on Friday.

Gorham’s Grace McGouldrick drops into a slide home on Friday.

Gorham second baseman Emily Murray hurls the 4-3 throw on a South Portland ground-out.

Gorhamite Lindsey Wilcox collides at home with South Portlander Abbie Jellison; Wilcox would get the better of the encounter, touching the plate for a run before Jellison could tag her out.


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