Currier silences Raider bats in key moment; FA falls in softball quarterfinal

Julia Quinn looks to put down a bunt early in the game. (Rivet Photo)

Julia Quinn looks to put down a bunt early in the game. (Rivet Photo)

By Wayne E. Rivet

Staff Writer

CUMBERLAND — For Kelsey Currier, it was her moment of truth.

With runners on second and third with no one out and the Rangers up 3-1, Currier was staring down Fryeburg Academy’s two big guns.

Delivering the two biggest pitches of the season, Currier wiggled out of the jam as the Raiders were unable to score.

Ball game.

Greely remained perfect at home and perfect against Fryeburg Academy this softball season, dumping the Raiders 4-1 to claim a Class B South quarterfinal win last Thursday afternoon.

With the wind gusting for most of the afternoon, Currier tossed a gem, striking out 10 and holding the Raiders scoreless over the first three frames. She allowed just five hits.

FA Coach Fred Apt hoped his Raiders could strike early against Currier and put some pressure on the Rangers, but instead saw his club fall behind 2-0 in the first inning.

Currier gave Greely some early momentum when she laced a drive over FA leftfielder Megan Fuller’s head for a double. Moria Train lined a 0-2 pitch for a base hit to right, scoring Currier. On the throw to the plate, Train moved up to second base. Sarah Felkel bunted, moving Train to third. With one out, #15 fouled off three pitches with the count full and then bounced a drive to second. FA’s Julia Quinn’s only play was to first for the out, but the Rangers went up 2-0.

Makayla Cooper takes a big swing.

Makayla Cooper takes a big swing.

After FA catcher Makayla Cooper lined a single to right-center, Currier struck out the side in the second. FA pitcher Nicole Bennett (seven hits, three strikeouts) silenced the Rangers with two fly ball outs and a strikeout.

Greely made some noise in the third with runners at second and third, but Bennett induced an infield out and ended the threat on a fly ball out recorded by Chloe Coen in rightfield.

Fryeburg finally got on the board in the fourth inning as Bennett rocketed a shot to right-center for a double. Cooper followed with a liner just inside the rightfield foul line. Tina LeBlanc plated the run with a sacrifice fly to right. With Cooper standing on second, the Raiders were unable plate the equalizer as Currier struck out a FA hitter (looking).

In the fifth, Currier hit a high fly ball both FA third baseman Faith Pelkie and shortstop Tina LeBlanc each called for. The two Raiders collided and the ball dropped.

“Both were yelling for it, they collided and it dropped. The wind had a lot to do with it, but we put a lot of pressure on ourselves,” said Coach Apt, whose club made five errors on the day. “These kids want to win badly, and sometimes, they just put too much pressure on themselves.”

Another error on an errant throw on a Greely bunt enabled Currier to score. With Pelkie playing in to guard against a bunt, Currier easily stole third, well ahead of shortstop LeBlanc trying to cover the bag.

Down 3-1 in the sixth inning, the Raiders had rally on their minds when Julia Quinn and Lexi L’Heureux-Carland each singled. A wild pitch enabled both runners to move up.

“We felt pretty good right there with Nicole and Coop up. They’ve been carrying us all year. They are our big hitters,” Coach Apt said. “She (Currier) pitched us well. She pitched us away a lot, and we expected it. It’s been our Achilles heel at times.”

Chloe Coen tracks down a fly ball in right field.

Chloe Coen tracks down a fly ball in right field.

With the count 2-2, Currier made a pitcher’s pitch with a low fastball touching the “black” on the outer part of the plate to retire Bennett.

Then, Currier made another big pitch, getting Cooper to lift a high fly ball to the right side. Two Rangers bumped, but the catch was made.

With two out, LeBlanc hit the ball hard to short, but was nipped at first on a strong throw by shortstop Train.

Greely added an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth on a single, an error and a two-out hit.

Currier slammed the door in the seventh on two strikeouts and a bouncer back to the hill.

“We battled, and I’m proud of our kids,” Coach Apt said. “This loss really hurts. The kids really care about each other; they work hard together; it’s really a great group so it’s really disappointing. Like I told the underclassmen, we’ll be back. As I get older, it gets more difficult for me, as well. I was over there crying with them.”

It was a slow walk for the Raiders (12-6) and FA coaching staff from their final team meeting in the outfield to the clubhouse.

“For our seniors, we didn’t want it to end this way,” Coach Apt said. “They’ve learned a lot. I’ve learned a lot from them. So, we move on.”

A gusting wind proved troublesome for third baseman Faith Pelkie and shortstop Tina LeBlanc as the two collided and the ball dropped.

A gusting wind proved troublesome for third baseman Faith Pelkie and shortstop Tina LeBlanc as the two collided and the ball dropped.

Update: Greely (15-3) defeated Yarmouth 8-2, and will meet York (17-1) for the Class B South title.

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