OLD TOWN, Maine — Even though the Old Town softball team wasn’t quite at full strength for Saturday’s game against John Bapst of Bangor, the Coyotes were nearly perfect, thanks to junior pitcher Hannah Morin.
Morin, who missed some time in the circle earlier this spring while recuperating from a leg injury, was in fine form against the Crusaders as she pitched a masterful one-hitter in the Coyotes’ 2-0 victory on a bright, sunny afternoon.
Morin was in command right from the outset, as she didn’t walk a batter while compiling eight strikeouts and facing only five three-ball counts.
”This is probably the best game she’s pitched in the three years that she’s been here,” said Old Town coach Lester Cowan, whose club improved to 9-5 while John Bapst dipped to 3-9.
Morin moved the ball throughout the strike zone and changed speeds effectively, using a devastating knuckle-changeup that was perhaps too demanding, as the grip she uses to throw the pitch caused Morin to cut her finger slightly.
“I had to go and have the extra-strength therma bond put on it,” said Morin, whose mother helped patch her up while the Coyotes batted in the fifth inning.
Old Town was missing two of its top hitters in seniors Hilary Campbell and Sarah Wilcox, who are on a senior class trip to New York City, so Cowan knew that small-ball tactics would be the difference.
“What it would come down to with the lineup that we had in there, we had to manufacture runs,” he said.
The Coyotes responded in the bottom of the sixth, finally breaking the scoreless tie.
With one out, Micayla Hussey laid down a perfect bunt in front of the plate and beat out the throw by about half a step. After Hussey stole second, Morin followed with a walk and Hussey raced to third as ball four skipped to the backstop.
Amy Singer then reached on a dropped throw at first, allowing Hussey to score. Sam McLaughlin, who ran for Morin, scored on Amy Cossar’s sacrifice bunt to give the Coyotes some insurance.
Morin needed only 14 pitches to get through the seventh.
She was quick to thank the solid game that catcher Singer called behind the plate and her defense, which didn’t commit an error.
“It was a great win. Everyone did their part,” Morin said. “[Singer] was the one calling all the pitches, she did a great job.”
Morin retired the first 10 Crusaders in order before Tori Huckestein dumped a single into no-man’s land just behind second base.
But Morin quickly erased Bapst counterpart Laura Jordan on a fly ball to left to escape that inning.
Jordan pitched a fine game herself, compiling six strikeouts while walking only three.
The normally free-swinging Coyotes did a solid job of making Jordan work.
“She has a lot of great pitches and for some reason today we just didn’t swing at high ones or low ones,” Morin said. “We tried to stay with the strikes, [which is] something we don’t normally do, but we pulled it together.”
As well as Morin pitched, Cowan was quick to point out the flawless defense.
“I’ve been preaching that all year. If we go out and make the plays that we’re supposed to make, good things are going to happen, and for the most part this year it has,” he said.
Morin had Old Town’s other hit with a double to deep center in the fourth.