THOMASTON, Maine – Although Oceanside High School softball coach Rusty Worcester said junior third baseman Kennadi Grover was hitting around .480 entering Friday afternoon’s game against Gardiner, Grover said she hasn’t been swinging the bat as well as she would have liked.
But she swung it pretty well on Friday afternoon.
Grover went four-for-four with a triple, two doubles and a single and drove in five runs to lead Oceanside to a 9-2 victory over Gardiner.
The game was played on the fence-less Thomaston Elementary School field because the varsity field was waterlogged.
Oceanside improved to 6-1 while Gardiner fell to 5-4.
“I’ve been working on keeping my front shoulder in (instead of opening up too quickly),” explained Grover.
Grover blooped a one-out double down the right field line in the first inning and scored on Jessica Veilleux’s sharp two-out single to right center.
She lofted another opposite-field double near the right field line in the second to score Jill Bradbury, who had singled off pitcher Kristal Smith’s glove and moved to second on an ensuing throwing error.
Oceanside had already scored a run in the inning when Brooke Dugan singled, stole second, moved to third on Tamra Wallace’s sacrifice and scored on Hannah Hersom’s bunt.
Gardiner made it 3-1 in the third on Lilly Chepke’s single, a wild pitch and Smith’s sharp single to right. The Tigers got another run back in the fourth on Jenna Moore’s double over left fielder Dugan’s head and Steph Plourde’s crisp single to left.
But Grover’s two-run single highlighted an important three-run rally in the bottom of the fourth that expanded the lead to 6-2 and regained the momentum.
Hersom drew a one-out walk and stole second. Bradbury walked and the pair worked a double steal.
Grover then whistled her two-run single up the middle.
“That was a huge hit,” said Gardiner coach Ginger Shaw.
“I knew we needed some big hits,” said Grover who eventually scored on an infield throwing error after being caught in a rundown.
Oceanside added three more in the fifth with Grover capping the rally with a long two-run triple to center.
“That felt good,” said Grover.
“(Grover) is an athlete and a half. She’s a phenomenal player,” said Shaw.
Junior righthander Rachel Frye went the distance for the win, striking out 13 and allowing seven hits and three walks. She threw 114 pitches of which 72 were strikes.
“I didn’t pitch as well as I could have,” said Frye. “I went mostly with my fastball.”
Bradbury singled, walked twice and scored three times from the lead-off spot for the winners.
Freshman Smith had two singles and an RBI for Gardiner and pitched a complete game.
The Mariners stole six bases.
“We got our bats on the ball and we were aggressive,” said Worcester.
“I think they’re the team to beat in B,” said Shaw.
Oceanside played errorless ball behind Frye.