By Lloyd Jones
FRYEBURG — It was a good week for the Fryeburg Academy softball team. Not only did the Raiders notch three wins to move into second place in the Class B South Heal Point rankings, but they capped the week off in style, collecting win No. 200 for head coach Fred Apt.
The win, a 4-1 victory against Sacopee Valley (8-3) in Hiram, on Saturday, was No. 200. A short celebration followed with players, parents and community members embracing Apt.
"It's nice to say, 'Hey, I got 200 wins,' but it also means I've been coaching a long time," Apt said after the game, but also stressed to the players on his team, that the's been "blessed over the years with girls that have dedicated a lot of time and effort to succeed."
The gils also deserve praise for buying into what Apt, assistant coach Chris Dutton and staff have been teaching and preaching about the program. Apt expressed how happy he was to have this team now and how happy and excited he feels they have become a team and what could might be ahead.
"Speaking to me he was very humble," Dutton said, "but he really wants to make it about the girls, and the team. They are what make the program run and succeed. The support of the community, ranging from parents, to fellow students and friends have been simply awesome.
Along the way to the 200 wins, the Raiders have appeared in five straight State Championships, winning three of them.
Asked what word best describes Apt, Dutton was quick to say "accountability."
"Fred's old school," he said, "and he's big on accountability. When he says he wants to make the program about the girls, he means it. One of Fred's favorite quotes, is 'If I demand 110 percent out of you, you should demand 110 percent out of me.' He always treats every player the same way, the kids see that and appreciate how much he cares."
On Saturday, Fryeburg got off two a quick start by scoring two runs in the top of the first inning. Makayla Cooper and Kaylee Emery each drove in a run, and that was really all the offense senior pitcher Nicole Bennett needed. She cruised through the first three innings. The lone mistake she made came in the fourth when Jordan Miner belted a home run to cut the lead in half.
The Raiders created a little breathing room for themselves in the top of the seventh inning. Apt turned to Madison McIntyre, or as the team calls her 'Maddy Mac,' to pinch hit and light a spark for the girls from Fryeburg. She responded with a base hit. She was able to tryout home a few pitches later when Mackenzie Buzzell belted a towering bomb over the left field fence for a two-run tater, giving the Raiders a 401 lead.
Fryeburg outhit Sacopee 10-4 on the afternoon. Buzzed, Bennett and Emery each had two hits for the Raiders.
Bennett went the distance on the mound, scattering four hits, while walking one and striking out 12.
On Thursday, the Raiders hosted and slugged their way to a 15-7 victory over Yarmouth (10-2). The Clippers beat the girls from Fryeburg 5-1 in Yarmouth on May 5, handing the Raiders their first loss of the season. The home side was fired up from the outset to avenge that setback.
Fryeburg broke the game open early with two runs in the bottom of the first and then the girls hung an eight on the scoreboard in the second inning.
"Coach Apt was pretty adamant about being focused early and not only starting strong, but needing to finish strong," Dutton said.
Kristina Leblanc started the scoring for FA by knocking in Buzzell with an RBI single in the first.
In the second inning, Buzzell went yard again with a three-run homer over the left field fence.
Trailing 10-1, Yarmouth managed to rally to make it a ball game by scoring six runs in the top of the fourth to pul within 10-7, but the Clippers got no closer.
Fryeburg responded with a five-run sixth inning to put the contest away. Highlighting the outburst were an RBI single by LeBlanc and a two-run double by Cooper.
The Raiders pounded out 16 hits, led by Leblanc and Cooper, who both had three hits.
Fryeburg opened the week on Wednesday with a 9-0 blanking of Freeport (1-9) on the road. Bennett spun a one-hitter, walking two, while fanning 11. She took a perfect game into the sixth inning.
The Raiders, who had 14 hits on the afternoon, scored a pair of runs in the third inning and added six in the top of the fourth. In the third, Chloe Coen walked and scored on an RBI double by Buzzell. Bennett platted Buzzell with a single.
In the fourth inning, Coen, McIntyre and Buzzell drove in runs.
Bennett lost the perfect game in the sixth inning, and then the no hit bid in the seventh on a clean base hit to center.
Cooper led the hit parade with three, while Buzzell ended the day knocking in three runs on two hits.
Fryeburg is scheduled to host Gray (5-5) on Wednesday (4 p.m.); travel to Poland (6-6) on Thursday; host York (3-8) on Memorial Day, Monday (4 p.m.); and close the book on the regular season, June 1 (4 p.m.), when Cape Elizabeth (5-5) comes to town.
Fryeburg trails only Wells (12-1) in the Heal Points, but owns the lone blemish on the Warriors' record.