After compiling an outstanding 31-1 record in her first 32 games and leading the Georges Valley Buccaneers to a pair of Class C state softball championships, some might think Danielle Frye has reached the peak of her sport.
Not so fast.
The junior righthander may have struck out 305 batters at the Thomaston-based school, including 263 in her first two campaigns, but she has remained humble and wants to get better.
“I know there’s tons of things I still need to improve on. I’m definitely not anywhere near being perfect,” said Frye as her Bucs traveled to North Anson on Monday afternoon to take on Carrabec.
Frye, who two-hit Calais in the state championship game last spring, has flourished in a leadership role so far this season for coach Rusty Worcester, whose club graduated six starters and fields first-year starters at catcher, first base, second, third and shortstop.
But the team’s chemistry isn’t something she’s concerned about.
“So far I’m not worried at all, I think we have a great team that has a ton of potential,” Frye said.
In an attempt to hone her game over the winter, Frye pitched at Frozen Ropes in Portland, playing on the U-16 Black Bears at the indoor facility.
“I thought that would be a good opportunity to get some playing time,” she said.
“That really has helped along with natural growth, strength-wise and all that,” added Worcester.
As hard as she throws on the mound — Frye’s fastball has topped in the high 50s to low 60s (mph) — she usually reserves that fire for just that, pitching.
“Inside she’s got plenty of fire but doesn’t show anything on the outside,” said Worcester.
Frye has exhibited great command of the fastball and all her pitches, which include a two-seamer and dropball, which she’s working on, and a devastating knuckle-changeup, curveball and riser.
“People get amazed by her fastball, it just explodes on top of you,” Worcester said.
That sets up her breaking pitches very nicely, as Sumner of East Sullivan found out in the 2007 Class C state title game, in which Frye threw six consecutive changeups in leading the Buccaneers to the crown.
To say she thrives well in the spotlight is quite the understatement.
“I put pressure on myself, since we’ve won the last two years I should be able to do it this year, too,” said Frye. “Last year we had a target on our backs, this year that target is twice as big.”
Rams raise awareness
Recently, Bangor softball coach Don Stanhope approached Amanda Cost, the school-based program coordinator at Spruce Run in Bangor, about his club participating in some fundraising.
The Rams did their part, holding a team bottle drive during preseason tryouts in which they raised $100 for Spruce Run.
“What happened was, I was approached by Stanhope, he wanted to get the girls connected with our organization,” said Cost, who is ace pitcher Sam Bedore’s aunt.
Not only did the Rams raise money and awareness for domestic violence, they pitched in, helping clean up the grounds at the Essex Street facility on April 18.
“We loaded up all sorts of rakes and shovels and spent the morning raking and pulling up rocks,” Stanhope said. “They had a ball, they really did a great job.”
In addition to that, the Rams also helped remove items such as old cigarette butts from the grounds.
The team presented Cost with the $100 that was raised prior to the start of last Friday’s home game against Hampden Academy.
“It’s fairly significant coming from a youth group,” Cost said of the amount raised.
The Rams also took a tour of Spruce Run, and Cost plans on talking to them before an upcoming home game.
Local stars choose schools
Three of Eastern Maine’s top schoolgirl athletes have selected their respective destinations for next fall.
Brewer’s Leah Jackson, a standout basketball and softball player for the Witches, will head to Maine Maritime Academy in Castine, while track and field star and classmate Mackenzie DeGraff will head to Wofford University in South Carolina.
Mount Desert Island’s Heather Spurling, one of the best distance runners in the region, will attend Division III Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Ore.
Jackson, a KVAC first-teamer and a BDN All-Maine honorable mention as a senior, helped guide the Brewer girls basketball team to the No. 6 seed in Eastern Maine Class A and a home preliminary game this winter.
As a catcher on Brewer’s softball team, she was a key component of a Witches’ squad which finished the 2008 season with 14 consecutive victories, culminating with a 4-3 victory over Biddeford and the program’s first Class A state championship.
Jackson plans on participating in both basketball and softball at MMA, and she plans to room with Penobscot Valley of Howland star Casey McCloskey, one of the top pitchers in EM Class C.
Spurling has had an outstanding distance running career for MDI, and has led the Trojans to the last three Eastern Maine Class B cross country championships and a state championship in 2005 as a freshman.
She was the state Class B runner-up in the 2-mile run at the indoor track and field championships this past winter, in addition to placing fifth in the mile.
Spurling plans on competing in both cross country and track at Lewis and Clark.
DeGraff, one of the state’s top long and triple jumpers, has had an outstanding career for the Witches, leading them to consecutive Eastern Maine Indoor Track League championships.
She also earned the league’s co-Top Performer status at its championship meet as a junior, sharing that laurel with former Old Town runner Hilary Maxim.
DeGraff, who will major in biology, hopes to compete in spring track at the Division I institution in Spartanburg, S.C.
“I talked to the coach and I can walk on,” she said.
DeGraff also likes the location of the school and the intimacy of the 1,400-student university.
“I wanted to go somewhere warm. As you can tell it got a little cold here,” she said after a multiteam meet at Bangor last weekend.
Also, at the same six-team PVC meet at Cameron Stadium, Penquis of Milo’s Joe Leland was a double winner, taking the long jump with a mark of 19 feet, 1.25 inches and the triple jump at 38-10.