ORONO, Maine — Sometimes, a softball team’s best offense is patience, and Orono exhibited that trait in fine fashion Wednesday afternoon.
The Red Riots parlayed 10 walks and 11 hits into 15 runs as coach Bill Cowan’s club responded from an early two-run deficit to subdue Dexter 15-2 in a Class C matchup.
The game ended in the bottom of the fifth inning due to the 12-run rule, after the Red Riots (3-3) pushed across nine runs without making any outs.
Consistency at the plate was an issue Cowan had been scratching his head about the last week or so, but seven of nine Orono starters recorded at least one hit while 10 Red Riots reached base at least once.
“We hit the ball pretty well today, but we need to hit better,” said Cowan. “We see very good pitching, and we need to hit better.”
Dexter (2-3) scored two first-inning runs, as Kirstie Mower tripled and scored on a wild pitch and Eva Wing drove in a run with a single.
However, Orono sophomore Andi Foster surrendered just two hits and no runs after the first inning and didn’t walk anybody.
Orono took the lead for good with a five-run uprising in the second, with Riley Mahan (single) and Jill Tuell and Jade Keezer (bases-loaded walks) driving in the runs.
“We were a little nervous at first but we know that we’re a veteran team and we were more than capable of coming back,” said Paul, who scored three runs, including a steal of home in the fourth.
The Riots put the game away in the fifth with a nine-spot, with Chloe Douglass’ two-run double to left-center forcing the mercy rule. Keezer drove in two with a single, while Lauren Dwyer and Mahan contributed RBI singles.
Before the game started, Cowan instructed his Riots to take a couple of pitches against Dexter righty Lauren Crane, who didn’t feature an overpowering fastball.
“To get a good feel for where the umpire was calling the strike zone and make sure we weren’t getting called out on strikes that weren’t actually strikes,” Paul said of that strategy.
Also, the Riots took advantage of the fact Crane was struggling to throw strikes, and methodically chipped away throughout the game.
“We need to put teams away. We can’t let teams hang around on us, because these teams are good,” Cowan said. “Dexter’s a good young team, and if you let them hang around, they can beat you.”
Orono was also looking for a solid bounce-back effort after a tough loss to Sumner of East Sullivan last week.
“This was kind of a positive influence for us, this was our spirit booster,” Paul said.
Mahan was Orono’s leading hitter with three singles, two RBIs and two runs while Dwyer had two singles, two runs and an RBI. Elizabeth Fox had two singles and a run scored.
Tuell overcame a facial injury suffered in pregame warmups to record two RBIs and a run scored while working three walks.
Wing was Dexter’s lone repeat hitter with two singles.