HERMON, Maine — The Hermon girls knew they were going to be in for a tight game against a good Shaker Valley team from Waterboro/Limerick on Tuesday in the state Little League softball tournament for ages 11-12.
Shaker Valley defeated Ellsworth in four innings on Monday, while many of the Hermon girls looked on and waited for their Tuesday opener.
It turned out to be a close game, with Hermon parlaying an impressive five-hit complete-game performance from righthander Olivia Albert and a pair of run-scoring singles from Breanne Oakes to edge Shaker Valley 4-2.
In the other game, Scarborough beat Oceanside 10-2.
Hermon, 1-0, will play Scarborough, 2-0, at 6 p.m. Thursday. Shaker Valley, 1-1, will take on Auburn, 0-1, at 6 p.m. Wednesday in an elimination game at the six-team, double-elimination tourney.
Albert struck out 10 and walked three, throwing 102 pitches, 61 for strikes. Her teammates made only one error, which led to one of the runs being unearned.
Shaker Valley’s Grace Tutt — who one-hit Ellsworth — turned in a quality performance, allowing five hits with 11 strikeouts and two walks. Tutt threw 61 strikes among her 89 pitches. One of the runs was unearned.
“I knew they liked high pitches, so I tried to keep the ball down and put it in the right spots,” Albert said. “They’re very good hitters.
“My fastball was pretty good today, and I got a couple of girls out with my changeup,” Albert said. “I definitely thought it was going to be a close game. I was happy with the way I pitched.”
“She was consistent. She knew where to spot the ball,” Tutt said. “She’s definitely one of the better pitchers we’ve faced.”
“She was very good,” Albert added. “She had good velocity.”
Albert helped her own cause by singling twice and scoring twice.
In the first inning, she singled off Tutt’s glove and scored all the way from first on Oakes’ single into right center.
Hermon made it 2-0 in the third on a walk, Jasmine Cyr’s sacrifice and an infield error.
Shaker Valley cut the lead in half in the bottom of the third when Hannah Collins flared a two-out double into right field, went to third on a wild pitch and scored on an infield grounder.
Collins’ double came after Hermon shortstop Megan Chamberlain made an exceptional play on Lacey Bean’s pop-up into shallow center.
Hermon added a pair of runs in the fifth, when Chamberlain poked a one-out single to center, Albert grounded a sharp single to center and Oakes lined an RBI single to center. Albert scored when Rachel Balmas grounded to first. Shaker Valley first baseman Emily Davison robbed Balmas of a hit with a nice backhanded play.
The resilient girls from Waterboro and Limerick rallied with two outs in the bottom of the fifth, when Bean rifled a double down the third-base line and scored on Collins’ line-drive single to center. Zoey DeAngelis extended the inning by lofting a single into center, but Albert induced an inning-ending grounder to first.
Collins paced Shaker Valley as she doubled, singled and walked in her three plate appearances. Bean’s double was their only other extra-base hit.
“Olivia did an excellent job and we got key hits when we needed them,” Hermon coach Aaron Oakes said.
Breanne Oakes said the key to her two-hit, two-RBI performance was “watching the ball hit the bat.”
In the other game, Mia Kelley held Oceanside to four hits while walking just one and striking out eight to lead Scarborough to the win.
Bella Dickinson sparked the Scarborough offense with two doubles, two singles and two RBIs in a 4-for-4 performance. Sydney Michelson chipped in with three singles and two RBIs while Kelley helped her cause with two singles and two RBIs. Madison Blanche, Sylvia Foley and Madison Blanchard all had a single with an RBI, while Ryanne Cox and Audrey Haigis had a single apiece.
Gabrielle Strake, Grace Woodman, Emily Wotton and Lily Judecki each singled for Oceanside.