OLD TOWN, Maine — The Old Town High School softball team was eager to bounce back from its first loss of the season, 5-1 to Ellsworth last Friday.
The Coyotes did just that Monday.
Junior right-hander Kendra Hayward tossed a five-inning no-hitter, senior first baseman Ashley Abbott drove in three runs with a pair of ringing doubles and senior center fielder Meagan Cousins tripled, singled twice and scored three times as Old Town beat John Bapst of Bangor 12-0.
The game was called in the bottom of the fifth due to the 12-run mercy rule.
Old Town improved to 7-1 while John Bapst fell to 4-6 after absorbing its sixth loss in seven games.
Hayward struck out five and walked three while throwing 69 pitches, 43 for strikes. It was her first no-hitter in high school.
“I threw a lot of rise balls and some curves and it all worked out pretty well,” said Hayward who issued back-to-back walks to MacKenzie Hayman and Abby Marvin with two outs in the third and one to Darby Paul leading off the fifth.
“She was as strong a pitcher as we’ve seen this season,” said John Bapst coach Shannon Whiting.
The Crusaders hit just one ball out of the infield, Marvin’s line drive to right field to open the game.
The Coyotes played errorless ball behind Hayward and senior shortstop Ashley England turned in a pair of gems.
She used a full-length dive into foul territory to snare a foul ball off the bat of Walker in the third inning and held on to the ball after jarring the ground.
In the fifth, with a runner on first and nobody out, England ranged far to her left to track down a Courtney Bowers grounder, step on the bag and throw to first to complete a double play.
“[England] was awesome,” said Hayward.
Old Town scored twice in the first inning to give Hayward all the runs she was to need.
The speedy Cousins reached on a bunt single and, one out later, Hayward delivered her with an opposite-field double over right fielder Kendra Kelly’s head.
The lefthanded-hitting Abbott then ripped an RBI double to right center.
The Coyotes added two more in the second as Meaghan Leighton walked and scored on Cousins opposite-field triple to left center. Cousins scored on a dropped fly ball.
John Bapst freshman pitcher Riley Walker was hit on her pitching hand by a wicked line drive off the bat of Leighton to lead off the fourth inning and had to leave the game.
She was taken to a local hospital for X-rays.
The Coyotes then scored three runs in the fourth before adding five more in the fifth.
Following Leighton’s base hit, Sami Milton greeted reliever Dayna Detour with a base hit.
There were two walks, three stolen bases and a Kelsey Gifford single along with three run-producing wild pitches.
Katie Hammond came on to pitch in the fifth and Old Town ended the game behind Abbott’s two-run double to right center, Rachel Martin’s RBI single, three stolen bases, three walks and a throwing error.
“After coming off a tough loss to Ellsworth, we wanted to be completely focused and get our killer instinct back,” said Abbott. “We played pretty well.”
Abbott said coach Jenn Plourde has been working with her on her hitting.
“She has really helped me with my swing. I’ve been waiting on the ball [better]. We’ve all worked really hard on our hitting,” said Abbott.
“If the ball was in the [strike] zone, we were swinging and that’s what we have to keep doing,” said Cousins.
“They’re a very good team,” said Whiting. “They hit very well, they slap the ball and they run the bases [well]. We have nothing to be ashamed of. We had some unusual circumstances with our pitcher [getting hurt]. It’s hard when that happens.”