OLD TOWN, Maine — The Hermon High School softball team has scored 188 runs in its 16 games this season, but it has yet to solve Old Town junior right-hander Rachel Martin.
Martin fired a three-hitter on Tuesday during a masterful duel with sophomore righty Allessa Oakes as the Coyotes finished off an unbeaten regular season with a 2-1 victory over the Hawks.
All three runs were unearned and all came in the first inning as each team made miscues that led to the runs. But both teams settled down and played errorless ball the rest of the way.
Martin struck out 11 and walked one while throwing 100 pitches, 70 of which were strikes, as Old Town improved to 16-0. She had pitched an eight-inning, six-hitter in a 4-0 triumph over Hermon on May 2.
Oakes allowed only four hits with two strikeouts and no walks for 14-2 Hermon. She threw 78 pitches, 57 for strikes.
“My fastball and changeup were working today,” said Martin, who improved to 12-0 and lowered her earned run average to 1.33. “I have been taking it easy and getting some rest so I had more energy.”
“She had a good changeup and her rise ball was getting us pretty good,” said Oakes, who is -1 with an 0.81 ERA.
“She’s [Martin] a good pitcher,” said Hermon sophomore first baseman Sydney Addessi. “She had a lot of movement on her ball which makes it hard. And she had a really nice changeup. She kept it outside well.”
Martin and Old Town junior right fielder Karah Hussey said they were impressed with Oakes.
“She threw very hard and her ball had a lot of movement,” said Martin.
Hussey said Oakes threw harder than most of the pitchers they’ve faced.
Oakes said she threw a fastball, rise, screwball, curve and changeup.
Oakes had 20 first-pitch strikes to the 25 hitters she faced and Martin got ahead in the count with the first pitch to 17 of her 27 hitters.
Hermon scored its first-inning run when Hailey Perry drew the only walk off Martin. She raced to third when the shortstop dropped Martin’s throw on Oakes’ grounder back to the mound and scored on Karli Theberge’s one-out grounder to first base.
The Coyotes answered when Hussey reached on a one-out pop fly single in front of diving third baseman Lexey MacManus, went to second on an infield throwing error by the first baseman and scored on a fielding error.
Martin, who had reached on an error and raced to third on another miscue, scored what proved to be the winning run on a wild pitch as Kayla Madden struck out swinging at a low pitch that skipped away from the catcher.
“We know how to capitalize on other team’s mistakes,” said Old Town sophomore shortstop Mikayla Richards.
Each team had just four base runners after the first inning.
For Hermon, Katie Kivler reached on a third strike-passed ball with two outs in the second. Theberge lined a leadoff single to center in the fourth and was sacrificed to second by Shania Haskell before Martin struck out the final two hitters.
Then, Hailey Perry had a two-out single in the fifth and Shania Haskell ripped a long two-out double in the sixth. Richards made a nice play after Haskell’s double in the sixth to prevent the tying run from scoring when she lunged far to her right to snare a soft liner off the bat of Kylie Kennedy.
“It was mostly anticipation. I just tried to reach out (as far as I could),” said Richards.
For Old Town, Martin was hit by a pitch with two outs in the third and Meaghan Leighton followed with a single before Oakes got an inning-ending flyout.
Kayla Hayward singled off Oakes’ glove to open the fourth before Oakes retired the next three hitters.
In the sixth, Madden grounded a sharp, one-out double down the third-base line and moved to third on a groundout. But she was stranded when Hermon shortstop Kennedy made a terrific play in the hole, ranging far to her right and gunning her throw to first to nail Richards.