By JAMES ANDERSON
FRYEBURG — Rivals Fryeburg Academy and Lake Region split a doubleheader on the American Legion Field at Bradley Street on Friday. The host Raiders won the opener 5-3, while the Lakers took the nightcap 7-5.
The split lifted Fryeburg to 5-1 on the young second, and Lake Region went to 3-5 in the Western Maine standings.
Under FA Skipper Fred Apt, the Raiders not only want to win but more importantly are learning how to win. Softball can be a complicated game, but this year’s team has learned how to simplify things, and get the “W.”
Early in the season, they relied on the pitching of Emelia DeSanctis, and Emelia continues to pitch well, however, the Fryeburg offense has come alive. With the team’s ability to put runs on the board, along with DeSanctis in the circle, the Raiders have learned to play the complete game.
In the first game, in which Fryeburg won 5-3, the visitors scored twice in the first inning and carried that advantage into the third inning. As the teams were changing positions for the bottom of the frame, a Raider called out, “Let’s go hit.” It is this optimistic positive attitude that Apt has taught these girls that shows out in their winning ways.
It was DeSanctis who provided the two-run single to get the Raiders on the board and capture Lake Region’s attention. With two runs in the third inning, and two runs in the fourth, it was DeSanctis once again who knocked in the game-winner in the fourth with another single. FA added an insurance run in the sixth.
The defensive gem of the afternoon was turned in by second baseman Kayrin Johnson, who with a runner on first ranged to her right to snare a line drive right behind second base where the dirt meets the grass. With a very alert maneuver, Johnson transferred the ball to her throwing hand and fired a dart to Brooke Emery to double the runner off at first base.
Johnson and Emery have upped their game with hard work and good coaching to quite possibly make up the strongest right side in all of Western Maine. Emery is snatching up every throw from the infield and has greatly improved her footwork around the bag.
With the first game victory, Fryeburg had a chance for a sweep, but the Lakers came back and won the second game of the twin bill. Trailing 5-3 in the top of the sixth inning, the Lakers road a big four-run wave to take the lead for good.
The victory came despite the hitting heroics of Morgan Fusco, who went 2-4 with a three-run home run. It was her third long ball in four games. Fusco’s hitting success is born out of good hitting principles, not by over swinging for her power stroke. She works the count by laying off bad pitches and getting ahead in the count forcing the pitcher to throw a strike. With this advantage, Fusco can look for a certain pitch in a certain location. She is a role model for teammates, and specifically younger players.
DeSanctis has also upped her offensive production, especially with her ability to take the outside pitch down the left-field line, which is the opposite way for this lefty. Camden Jones continues getting on top of the ball, resulting in line drive scud missiles to the outfield.
Fryeburg was back in action on Monday against a familiar Poland opponent. Results were not known as of press time.