By James Anderson
FRYEBURG — There is a race known as the torch run, where competitors must run with a lighted torch. In order to win the torch must be still light when the runner reaches the finish line. Teams vying for a state championship in Maine experience a similar situation in the playoffs. Lose anywhere along the way and your torch is snuffed out, and your season ends.
No. 2 ranked Fryeburg Academy (14-3) had to rally in the bottom of the seventh inning for two runs with two outs against No. 7 Lincoln Academy (8-10)to keep its flame burning in a Class B South softball quarterfinal matchup at Legion Field in Fryeburg, Maine, on Wednesday, winning 3-2.
The Raiders scored first in this one when Morgan Fusco scored from third on a passed ball in the third inning.
Lincoln put together back-to-back hits in the fourth inning to take a 2-1 lead. The Eagles from Newcastle, Maine, only had five hits on the afternoon but made the most of them with all five coming in the inning.
The lead Lincoln lead held up until the bottom of the seventh when Coach Fred Apt’s troops staged a dramatic two-out rally for the come-from-behind win. The Raiders, down to their final out, got the tying run when Madison McIntyre, who has been hot at the plate lately, barreled the ball to knock in Tina LeBlanc.
That brought up pitcher Emilia DeSanctis, and the talented sophomore kept Fryeburg’s torch burning brightly as she responded with a single to score McIntyre with the winning run.
In the circle, DeSanctis held Lincoln in check with a seven-strikeout performance.
The victory means Fryeburg will return to the Legion Field diamond on Saturday (at a time yet to be determined) to play either No. 3 Cape Elizabeth (14-2) or No. 11 Gray New-Gloucester (8-9), who squared off Thursday afternoon (results not known as of press time). The winner will advance to the Regional Final at St. Joseph’s College in Standish, Maine next Wednesday at 7 p.m.
The Raiders are familiar with both Cape and Gray, having seen and beaten them during the regular season. Fryeburg beat Cape 2-0 at home on April 25 behind a four-hit shutout by DeSanctis, while the offense, which was held to just three hits, got home runs from LeBlanc and Maddie Darling.
The Raiders beat Gray 8-1 on May 15 in Gray and handled the Patriots 7-1 in Fryeburg behind three doubles from Fusco on May 21
The Raiders seem to believe in each other, and they have the firepower to make dreams come true. Keep the torch lit girls.