LINCOLN, Maine — Calais took advantage of five straight walks and a fielder’s choice in the second inning to score three runs that powered the Blue Devils past Mattanawcook Academy 7-1 Monday afternoon in a battle of undefeated Eastern Maine Class C teams.
Calais pitcher Olivia Smith held the Lynx in check, scattering four hits and three walks while striking out five.
The victory was Calais coach Greg Smith’s 300th in 21 seasons at the helm of the Blue Devils.
Patience at the plate has been an issue for Calais, said the coach.
“I told them to see at least one strike,” he said.
The waiting paid off in the second inning. After Olivia Smith flied out to left to start the inning, the next five batters MA starter Taylor Blood faced walked with Malorie Black and Meaghan Cavanaugh getting the RBIs. Maddy McVicar’s fielder’s choice produced the third run.
“I tried to let her find her strike zone,” said MA coach Dean Libbey of Blood. “A talented team like that, maybe I waited too long.”
Libbey realized that giving Calais that much of a head start was going to be tough to overcome.
In a matchup of two great teams, “you can’t give the other team anything,” said Libbey.
Smith, the coach’s daughter, also had a pair of hits for the Blue Devils (7-0) — a double that one-hopped to the fence in left-center field to open the third and was the game’s first hit and a two-run single in the fourth that concluded Calais’ scoring for the day.
“She’s been hitting the ball well,” said coach Smith.
A pair of fielder’s choices plated Smith in the third inning.
In the fourth, Black reached on an error, went to second on a walk to Cavanaugh and took third on a wild pitch by relief pitcher Nicole Ryder. McVicar walked during that sequence to load the bases, and a passed ball scored Black and moved Cavanaugh and McVicar to third and second, respectively.
Smith’s single through the shortstop hole plated the two runners for a 7-0 Calais lead.
Mattanawcook (7-1) kept pressing, though.
“They had some fight in ’em,” said Libbey. “They were disappointed. You could see on their faces they were upset. This performance wasn’t what they wanted.”
The Lynx put two runners in scoring position with two out in the fourth, but Calais third baseman Jasmine Ross threw out Mikaila Bisson at first to end that threat.
The Lynx ended the shutout with a run in the sixth on a two-out RBI single by Ryder. Bisson hit a ball back to Smith and her throw to first ended that scoring, and Calais halted MA again in the seventh with runners on second and third and one out.
A called third strike and a groundout to second ended the game.
MA starter Blood posted a strikeout and nine walks before Ryder replaced her with no one out in the fourth. Ryder struck out nine and walked one.
“I think she was throwing a screwball,” said Greg Smith of Ryder. He praised both pitchers for the movement they had on their pitches.
He said his team had faced harder throwers, but “these had more spin. They kind of baffled us.”
Libbey thought it was good for his team to face a challenge as well.
“Defensively, they made the plays. They kept us off the bases,” said Libby.
Now they’re both looking forward to the rematch on May 23 at Calais.