MORSE BASE RUNNER Dory Kulis slides safely into third base in front of Oak Hill third baseman Abby Nadeau during a Class B South quarterfinal in Wales on Thursday. Kulis and her Shipbuilders downed the Raiders, 9-4.

MORSE BASE RUNNER Dory Kulis slides safely into third base in front of Oak Hill third baseman Abby Nadeau during a Class B South quarterfinal in Wales on Thursday. Kulis and her Shipbuilders downed the Raiders, 9-4.

WALES

The Morse High School softball team was banging on the door for five innings of Thursday’s Class B South quarterfinal at Oak Hill. The Shipbuilders watched line drive after line drive be snared in the field and only managed one hit through the first four frames.

MORSE PITCHER DORY KULIS prepares to deliver a pitch during Thursday’s Class B South quarterfinal at Wales against Oak Hill. The Shipbuilders won, 9-4.

MORSE PITCHER DORY KULIS prepares to deliver a pitch during Thursday’s Class B South quarterfinal at Wales against Oak Hill. The Shipbuilders won, 9-4.

Then in the sixth, the door finally flew open.

Ten batters reached, eight batters scored and it was one hit after another as Morse took a commanding lead that eventually led to a 9-4 victory and a trip to the semifinals. Oak Hill couldn’t catch them all.

“If you notice early on, the three, four, five hitters, at our place, they’d have been home runs,” Morse coach Will Laffely said. “They were 10 feet from the fence here and that’s got to be 230. We play 190 or 200. She made great plays. I think we were hitting it, but right at some people.”

The line drives started falling in the sixth after No. 7 Morse (14-4) first baseman Marissa Parks laced one to center and watched No. 2 Oak Hill (13-4) center fielder Charlotte Waterman leap up and haul it in. Olivia Potter followed with a base hit and a Dory Kulis walk in the sixth spot started the rally.

Paige Faulkingham reached on an infield grounder and then moved to second when Maddie Mitchell poked an RBI groundout to shortstop. Then, in the nine hole, Mikayla Rose looped a two- RBI single into left field to break things open, 4-1. Micailah Albertson and Sierra Wallace were each hit by a pitch before Hope Faulkingham cleared the bases again with a triple from the three spot.

It had been a one-run ball game for over an hour and suddenly it was 9-1.

“We played a little bit of small ball to try and tie it and then once we tied it, the bats started to come around,” Laffely said. “I think once they saw her at least twice, that third time they were ready.”

“I think we all were more comfortable by the sixth inning,” Parks said. “We work day in, day out hitting in practice with that outside, inside drop ball, different pitches. I think once we saw her after the first time, we really got a feel for it, started driving the ball.”

Parks hit a sharp grounder to the left side that scored Faulkingham before a throw-out at second ended the frame. Morse struck six hits in the inning and drew three walks. The off-speed pitches of Oak Hill starter Sadie Waterman weren’t fooling anyone in the lineup anymore.

“We do practice with a lot of change-ups,” Parks said. “Myself and the other pitcher Dory both throw a very good changeup, so we do a lot of live stuff. I think that has prepared us very well for pitchers that throw off speed.”

Raiders threaten

Oak Hill had runners on in each of the first four innings and a few errors in the field put the pressure on Kulis to pitch out of it.

It started in the first when a bobbled ball allowed Kiera Young to reach second. Kulis battled with Emma Hlister for four pitches before inducing a third-out fly ball. Then in the second, Kulis needed a pair of strikeouts to keep Oak Hill off the scoreboard as a dropped pop-up sent Abby Nadeau around the bases and Hannah Nadeau reached after being struck by a pitch. An eight-pitch strikeout from Kulis halted the threat.

One run came across for the hosts in the third, but again in the fourth, a Kulis strikeout left two runners stranded.

“Dory being a freshman coming in, I know when I was a freshman, to be put in this situation would have been so tough,” Parks said. “I’m so proud of her, as well as she has pitched this season. I think she’s phenomenal with just keep throwing strikes with the errors in the field. Ultimately, I think she brought us through this.”

“That’s pretty composed for a young girl,” Laffely said. “ You’ve got to love the competitiveness. She wants to be on that circle. She really does.”

Kulis (three strikeouts, four walks) made it all the way to bottom of the seventh before Parks came in on relief with one out. Waterman, Young and Hlister all scored in the frame for Oak Hill, but Parks fanned a batter before Kulis dove and snatched a line drive at first base to end the game.

As the No. 7 seed heading into the contest, Laffely was unsure of what to expect from an unfamiliar opponent. As they normally do, it was the bats that came up clutch.

“ We played nobody in common, because they played a lot of Class C teams,” Laffely said. “And we didn’t play any Class C teams. “I wasn’t quite sure what we were going to see, but they’re a good club. Their record reflects the caliber that they were, but I thought we could play with them. I really did.

“Just a matter of getting the bats going and I think we can play with just about anybody.”

Morse will next battle Fryeburg Academy in the Class B South semifinal on the road on Saturday at 2 p.m.

No. 7 Morse 9, No. 2 Oak Hill 4

Class B South Softball Quarterfinal At Oak Hill High School

Morse 000 018 0 9-9-3
Oak Hill 001 000 3 4-6-2

Dory Kulis, Marissa Parks (7) and Paige Faulkingham; Sadie Waterman, Charlotte Waterman (6) and Emma Hlister. WP — Kulis. LP — Waterman. Repeat hitters — (Mo) Hope Faulkingham, Olivia Potter, Dory Kulis, Paige Faulkingham. Triple — (Mo) Hope Faulkingham. Records — Morse 14-4, Oak Hill 13- 4. Up next for the Shipbuilders — Class B South semifinal Saturday at Fryeburg Academy, 2 p.m.


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