FA Softball - DeSanctis with Jones and Rydman

The Fryeburg Academy softball team shouldbe solid up the middle with senior Emilia DeSanctis (right) pitching; Camden Jones at shortstop; and Emma Rydman in centerfield. (JULIAN ZHU PHOTO)

By James Anderson

FRYEBURG — Judging by the early-season results, you’d be hard-pressed to believe it has been two years since the Fryeburg Academy softball team was last on a diamond. The Raiders seem to be making up for lost time, opening the season a perfect 3-0 while outscoring their opponents 22-2 over that stretch.

The Raiders took a home-and-home series from Sacopee Valley (3-2) last week, winning 7-1 at home on April 26, and then posted an 8-1 win in Hirman, Maine, against the Hawks last Wednesday.

In the opener, the girls from Hiram got off to a quick start with a run in the first on an RBI double by Kaylan Hink, and the Hawks made that run hold up through the first two innings. The Raiders got runners to third base in each of the first two innings, but could not get the tying marker across.

Finally, the Raiders broke out in the bottom of the third inning scoring four runs. Ela Bruno was the supplier on a double that plated two runs. Bruno added another double later in the contest.

Emilia DeSanctis found her groove on the bump and slammed the door on the Sacopee offense. She scattered two hits while striking out a season-high 14 batters.

The Raiders continued to score, adding three runs in the fourth and two more in the sixth on doubles by DeSanctis and Bruno.

Fryeburg had nine hits on the afternoon. Camden Jones and Morgan Fusco hit the ball hard but did not figure in on the scoring.

One humorous event occurred at the top of the seventh inning. It was Sacopee’s last inning to catch up. As the coach gathered his team for one final pep talk, which must have been, “We can still do this, one hit at a time.” Just then the sound of the Sacopee bus that was parked in the lot behind right field filled the air. If that was not enough, you could hear the rhythmic beeping of a large vehicle backing up.

DeSanctis set down the Hawks in the seventh frame 1,2,3. Now it was time for Sacopee to board the bus.

In the rematch two days later, the Fryeburg nine once again used good pitching and timely hitting as the recipe for success.

Coach Fred Apt, the Skipper, was pleased with how the Raiders scored their runners from third, which was a problem in the first game when in back-to-back innings, down by a run, the squad failed to get the runs across the plate.

Of course, the Skip had two days of practice to work on the problem, and the Raiders executed the delayed steal just as they had practiced it much to their Skipper’s delight. With Emily Walker on first, her responsibility was to get into a pickle between first and second. After two or three throws, Skip sent the runner on third and she scored before Sacopee could react and throw home to get the runner.

The rest of the story was the pitching of DeSanctis, who had 13 strikeouts in the game.

Morgan Fusco and Camden Jones were the hitting stars for Fryeburg with three hits apiece, including a long home run by Fusco in the fourth, which Coach Chris Dutton said after the game may still be flying. Let’s just say, if the game was played in Fenway Park, Fusco’s home run would have cleared the Green Monster and bounced onto the Mass. Pike. You just can’t let a hitter like Fusco see the same pitcher twice in one week and not expect some fireworks. Bruno also collected a hit on the afternoon.

The Raiders, who hosted Poland on Monday afternoon (results not known as of press time), are scheduled to host Lake Region for a doubleheader, on Friday, beginning at 3 p.m. See you at the game.

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