Big Maroon Machine survives scare from game Portland team and wins 6-3 in 7 innings
Written by: MParker
Sunday, July 5, 2015
The Cape Elizabeth 9/10 softball all star team coasted to victory in their district tournament opener last week, but tonight they got a taste of true tournament grit to learn what they are made of. Turns out their nerves are made of steel.
The strong pitching and defense of a surprisingly resilient Deering/Portland team gave Cape all they could handle for 5 and 2/3 innings before the sleeping giant awoke. The early part of the game was predominantly a pitcher's duel between Kathryne and Sadie (of Deering), and the game was scoreless until the bottom of the 3rd. Kathryne had a slight upper hand to that point, recording all of her outs on K's. Sadie relied on a combination of Ks and a solid defense that recorded a number of routine ground and pop outs flawlessly. In the bottom of the 3rd, Deering broke through on 2 walks and a deft delayed steal of home plate. They added another run in the 4th when another baserunner scampered home safe on a passed ball despite a close play engineered by Katharine and Kathryne.
Meanwhile, Deering continued to thwart the Cape hitters with consistent defense. The Capers entered the top of the 6th still posting a goose egg but confident with the heart of the line-up approaching the plate. Things looked promising when Dana singled and moved to second. However, the Capers and their fans were dumbstruck when the Deering shortstop made an acrobatic over the shoulder catch of Clara's pop fly to the right side of second base and doubled Dana off who was merely a step off the bag. Indeed, it seemed that the fates favored Deering. Down to their last out, however, the Capers climbed up off the mat like a punch drunk fighter gathering the stamina for one final blow.
Kat, who put the ball in play on all four of her at bats singled to keep the Capers alive and yielded to courtesy runner, Abigail. Esme, who safely reached base on all of her five at bats, followed and did not disappoint in this appearance. When the dust settled, Abigail was on 3rd, Esme was on 2nd, and the Capers had a pulse. With the bench alive and cheering wildly, the spotlight fell on Emma and with a two strike count, she rolled a grounder that ate up the pitcher and resulted in a throwing error at 1st base. Abigail and Esme scurried home, the game was tied and the Cape side was delirious. The Capers were temporarily stopped there, but Kathryne gave up only one walk and struck out the side in the home half, sending the game into extra frames.
In the top of the 7th, the Capers offense finally shined. After Hannah walked and Analise singled, the runners advanced and then Kathryne hit a soft fly that the 2nd baseman dropped. The fielder recovered nicely to cut down Hannah trying to score and keep the game tied., However, Dana then walked to load the bases, and Clara strolled to the plate intent to break through after twice popping out. After the Deering coach called timeout to gather his team and strategize, Clara jumped on the first pitch with a deep line drive to right center field, driving in all 3 runners and finishing with a clean stand-up triple - her third bases clearing hit of tournament play. For good measure, Kat singled her home.
Deering made it mildly interesting the final half, scoring a two-out run. With another runner on, the final batter then hit a soft roller past Kathryne's outstretched glove, but a charging Dana quickly turned a low flip that Clara expertly scooped and the Capers finally breathed more easily, closing out the 6-3 victory.
Kathryne turned in a special pitching performance, throwing all 7 innings and recording the first 19 outs on strikeouts before letting her defense help her with two groundouts in the 7th. Lydia threw on the catcher's gear and handled the plate duties beautifully after an injury abruptly ended Katharine's game in the 5th. Meghan contributed to the team effort in the middle innings. As always, the Capers supported each other up and down the line-up.
After the hard scrabble win, the Capers remain alone with South Portland in the winner's bracket of the District 6 tournament. The rival neighbors meet on Thursday night at Pine Street. Doubtless, both teams will have legions of supporters cheering them on, but only the Capers have a defining motto.
Have a dream, make a plan, do the work. Go Cape!