KENNEBUNK — After the performance Wednesday by Gorham High senior Grace McGouldrick, it’s easy to see why she’s considered one of the best softball players in the state.

McGouldrick, who has earned a scholarship to play at the University of Maine, excelled on the mound and at the plate as the Rams defeated Kennebunk 6-0 in a Class A South matchup. She went 4 for 4 with two home runs, three RBI and three runs scored, and struck out 15 while allowing just three hits against a team that entered the game with a batting average of .367.

“Lights out,” said Becky Manson-Rioux, who was coaching Gorham for the second consecutive game because head coach Renee Whipkey gave birth to a boy last Saturday. “She just has tremendous ability to make adjustments whenever and however she needs to.

“We just trust her to know what to do.”

Gorham improved to 12-3 with its seventh win in a row and moved into fourth place in Class A South. Kennebunk, trying to maintain positioning for a home-field playoff game, dropped to 9-6.

Gorham got a run in the second inning on a sacrifice fly by Michelle Rowe and two in the third on a two-out single by Shay Harris.

Then McGouldrick took care of the rest of the scoring.

She hit a home run over the center-field fence to lead off the fifth. With one out in the seventh, she belted a two-run homer over the left-field fence.

“I didn’t hit very well the other day so I wanted to refocus,” said McGouldrick. “Today I just wanted to focus on making contact and getting into the groove of things.”

McGouldrick never let Kennebunk get into a groove, pounding away with her fastball. She had nine strikeouts in the first three innings and didn’t give up a hit until Britney Gregoire led off the fourth with a single. Gregoire was thrown out trying to steal by catcher Emma Shields.

Shields said McGouldrick really took control after the second inning.

“She at first was pitching strikes, but not in the places we wanted,” said Shields. “After the second and third inning, she started hitting her spots and she was throwing more strikes. It was nice.”

“She’s great,” said Kennebunk Coach Kortney Nedeau. “She’s definitely a very disciplined player across the board, very patient.”

Kennebunk got two base runners in each of the fifth and sixth innings, but McGouldrick, was aided by some good defensive plays – by Harris at first base and Kiana Tracey at third in particular – and got out of those situations unscathed.

“I know some pitchers feel it’s all on their shoulders, but I don’t feel like that,” said McGouldrick. “I’m going to throw strikes, and if they hit it, I know my team’s going to back me up anyway. If I do my job, they’re going to do theirs.”

Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or:

[email protected]

Twitter: MikeLowePPH