AUBURN, Maine — The Edward Little softball team did something Wednesday that no team has done for almost two years: hung a loss on defending Class A state champion Cony of Augusta.
The Red Eddies defeated Cony 9-1 Wednesday to halt the Rams’ winning streak at 32 games, counting their 20-0 season last spring and their 12 wins to start this season.
“The safe answer is to say we got lucky,” said EL coach Elaine Derosby, but she said the young Eddies are coming into their own now.
“It wasn’t anything Cony did or didn’t do,” she said.
Derosby thought some people might discount the win a bit because the Red Eddies faced sophomore pitcher Arika Brochu instead of senior ace Sonja Morse, but she won’t accept that.
“Arika is one of the four or five best pitchers in the [Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference],” Derosby said. “She would be the top pitcher for most any team in our league.”
The key for the Red Eddies was making contact with their bats, according to Derosby.
“We put the ball in play a lot,” she said. “I think we had her number that day.”
Because of their youth, the Red Eddies have had a lot to work on, including getting leadership from the juniors because there are no seniors on the roster.
“We were expecting to build for 2014,” Derosby said. “We went through some bumps at the beginning of the season. Now, they’re starting to believe in what we were saying.”
It’s an ongoing process.
“They’re still young, [playing] up and down, up and down,” she said, “but our goal was to play well at the end of the season, and now we’re doing it.”
Her only returning starter who is playing the same position is junior first baseman Kory Norcross. Last year’s starting third baseman, Danny Rock, was moved to shortstop and two-year starting catcher Kennedy Hubbard is playing center field.
The defense struggled early.
“Of the first 47 runs we gave up, 27 of them were unearned,” said Derosby.
That put more pressure on a pitching staff that was only semi-experienced coming into the season.
Junior Emily Schario split the pitching duties last year, but sophomore Molly Murray only pitched one game with the varsity.
“The pitchers are not strikeout pitchers,” Derosby said. “The players have to make plays [in order to get outs].”
Overall, she has two freshmen starting, three sophomores and four juniors as the starters, and they’re getting sharper with each game they play.
“They’ve blossomed the last two weeks,” said Derosby.
Edward Little followed its win over Cony with a 5-3 verdict over Oxford Hills in South Paris on Thursday. The Red Eddies have now won seven of eight games after a 2-4 start. They have two games left before the playoffs and have jumped to fourth place in the Eastern Maine Class Heal points through Thursday’s games.
“I feel like we can compete,” said Derosby. “The goal is to play your best at playoff time, and that’s where we’re at right now.”