OV softball has fast start vs. Patriots, but falls short

BRANDON — For more than half of Friday’s home game vs. Division I power Mount Anthony, the D-II Otter Valley softball team more than held its own.
The Otters did allow the 13-1 Patriots to score two unearned runs in the second and one run on two hits in the third, but rallied for four runs in the bottom of the fourth to take a 4-3 lead.
Maybe that rally just made the Patriots angry. Held to two hits and one earned run by OV starting pitcher Courtney Bushey through four innings, Mount Anthony opened the fifth with six straight hits on the way to a 10-run inning. The Patriots added four more runs in the sixth and three in the seventh.
In all, the Patriots banged out 19 hits in the final three innings in a 20-4 victory over OV that moved MAU into second place in D-I.
The Otters had won three straight games in convincing fashion to reach 6-7. But now they must defeat Hartford (7-7) on the road on Monday and then Springfield (11-2) at home on Wednesday to have a chance to host a D-II playoff game.
First they must shake off Friday’s game, in which they did make mistakes, including four errors and a couple passed balls.
“Let’s learn from this one and focus on the rest of the season,” said longtime Coach Pattie Candon. “We’ve got two big games next week.”
Candon believes her team can bounce back. She noted the Otters defeated Hartford, 14-5, in Brandon, and lost only in extra innings at Springfield.
“They should (be OK),” she said. “We’ve beaten Hartford once here, and we played Springfield to the bottom of the eighth.”
Vs. Mount Anthony, OV could have had a lead early, but squandered chances in the first and third innings. Shortstop Amy Jones and Bushey led off the first with a single and a walk, but the Otters could not bring them around to score.
In the third, second baseman Laura Wentworth, Jones and center fielder Maia Edmunds all singled to load the bases with one out, but winning pitcher Taylor Dicraman struck out the next two hitters to end the threat.
OV probably missed power-hitting third baseman Gabby Poalino in those situations and also in their fourth-inning rally, when they left two more runners on: In Poalino’s absence, OV’s Nos. 4 and 5 hitters went hitless and stranded seven runners through four innings.
MAU took a 2-0 lead in the second when two runners reached on passed balls after striking out and then scored on a two-out error. In the third, Cat Worthington doubled and scored on Dicraman’s bloop single to make it 3-0, MAU.
OV broke through in the fourth. Left fielder Caitlyn Ketcham and catcher Molly McGee walked, and Wentworth singled to load the bases. Jones’ third hit brought in one run, Bushey’s second single scored two runs, and Edmunds’s second hit of the game plated the fourth run before Micraman struck out the next two hitters to end the threat.
Then the roof caved in. Dicraman and reliever Kate Saunders (two innings) shut the door, and the Patriots erupted on offense.
Leading MAU’s 21-hit assault were Kate O’Brien (three runs, two hits), Kaden Gauthier (double, single, two runs, four RBIs), Worthington (five runs, four hits, three RBIs), Lauren Woodcock (triple, three singles, five RBIs), and Jamie Boyce (three hits, two runs, an RBI).
Candon said her team has been playing good softball, but tipped her cap to the Patriots. 
“We’ve played ball well,” she said. “But today, you can’t take anything away from Mount Anthony, they’ve hit the ball hard all season long.”

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