OLD TOWN, Maine — Emily Staples had a busy afternoon on Saturday.
The senior righthander from Caribou High School threw 206 pitches, including 142 strikes, and didn’t allow an earned run to lead the Vikings to an Eastern Maine Class B softball sweep of Old Town, 2-1 in eight innings and 4-0.
On a warm, blustery afternoon, the slender Staples threw a five-hitter in the opener and a three-hitter in the nightcap as Caribou improved to 13-2 and extended its winning streak to seven games.
Old Town, which had won five of its previous six, fell to 11-4.
The heat didn’t seem to bother Staples.
“I think I do better in the heat, actually. It revives me, I guess,” said Staples. “It was pretty nice [to get the sweep].”
In the nightcap, Staples struck out eight and walked four while allowing just three singles.
“She’s a respectable pitcher to say the least,” said Old Town coach Jenn Plourde. “She has a lot of pitches she threw at us and she handled herself very well.”
“She has great movement on the ball,” said Old Town junior pitcher Kendra Hayward, who engaged Staples in a terrific pitcher’s duel in the opener.
Staples’ teammates supported her by making just one error in the two games and making several nice plays.
She was staked to a 3-0 lead early in the nightcap as her mates pushed across a run in the second and two more in the third.
The Vikes added an insurance run in the seventh.
“I didn’t see this coming,” said Caribou coach Ryan Deprey. “They were horrible in practice yesterday and, after winning the first one, I thought they’d be content with the one win. They keep surprising me.
“I can’t remember the last time we came down state and got a sweep like this against a great team,” added Deprey.
Rebecca McDougal scored what proved to be the winning run in the second when she led off the inning with a long triple over center fielder Meagan Cousins’ head and scored on Courtney Burby’s one-out grounder to second.
In the third, Kelsie Espling hit a leadoff double into the right-center field gap, went to third on a wild pitch and scored on Victoria Bouchard’s base hit. Bouchard moved to second on a groundout, went to third on a passed ball and scored on Jamie Martin’s infield single to the shortstop hole.
In the seventh, Bouchard tripled with two outs and scored on Anesha Hersey’s single.
“I had a rough time in the first game [two strikeouts] so I just tried to focus on the second game and get my head in it,” said Bouchard, the number nine hitter in the lineup.
Bouchard and McDougal each tripled and singled for the Vikings and Espling doubled and singled.
Ashley England singled twice for Old Town and Sam Milton had a bunt single.
Freshman righty Rachel Martin pitched well in defeat, allowing nine hits with two strikeouts and no walks over the full seven innings.
In the opener, Caribou senior center fielder Jamie Martin doubled home the tying run in the sixth inning, made a spectacular diving catch in the bottom of the sixth and doubled and scored the winning run in the eighth on an infield error.
Staples and Hayward turned in dominant performances. All of the runs were unearned.
Old Town took a 1-0 lead in the fourth when Rachel Martin legged out a bunt single, stole second, moved to third on a passed ball and scored when she escaped a rundown and slid under the tag at the plate after Ashley Abbott had hit a bouncer back to Staples.
Caribou tied it in the sixth when Hersey reached on an infield error and scored on Martin’s double over center fielder Cousins’ head.
“[Hayward] threw me a fastball down the middle and I was just trying to poke it somewhere in the gap to get the run home,” said Martin who entered the game hitting .690 with a .714 on-base percentage.
“It was kind of inside and she turned on it real fast,” said Hayward.
In the eighth, Martin looped a double into short left field and scored on a two-out infield throwing error on McDougal’s grounder.
“I just tried to keep my head up and watch the ball,” said the speedy Martin who had robbed Hayward leading off the bottom of the sixth when she chased down her shallow fly with an all-out sprint before tumbling hard to the ground.
“That was an amazing catch,” said Plourde.
“Jamie was the player of the game for us,” said Staples. “She came through for us when we needed her.”
Staples struck out 11 and walked one while throwing 71 strikes among her 98 pitches.
Martin had three hits as she also had a single to go with her two doubles.
Meagan Cousins had two singles for Old Town and Hayward tossed a seven-hitter, striking out 12 and not walking anyone. She threw 92 strikes among her 115 pitches.
“She pitched real well,” said Staples. “Her junk was real good.”