May 11—RUMFORD — The way Makayla Gross was pitching, the last thing the Mt. Blue starter wanted to do was lose steam.
The only senior on the team got her second wind, striking out 11 batters and giving up five hits in seven innings in the Cougars' convincing 10-2 softball victory over stubborn and scrappy Mountain Valley at Hosmer Field on an overcast Monday.
Gross said her changeup and fastball were working well for her, even though she was getting tired.
"I was exhausted, but I knew I had to win for the team," Gross said. "I had to give my all for the team. I always want to be in the circle."
Mt. Blue (2-4) coach Ron Smith was proud that Gross held on for a victory.
"Anytime you pitch ahead is a good thing," Smith said. "Let them hit the ball you want them to hit."
The Cougars let loose on the Falcons (1-5) in the second inning with a blistering six-hit attack, all in a row, and produced a 6-0 lead.
Katie Yeaton whacked an RBI single and KK Daggett smacked a two-run hit to start the ball rolling. Alyssa Simoneau knocked in another run with her triple and infielder Eva Stevens brought home a run with her solid hit. Brooklyn Keene and Daisy Quinn each drove in a run.
"We are a young team — one senior — so it is great for the girls to come out and have a little confidence slapping the ball around," Smith said. "The more they play, the better they are going to get."
Meanwhile, Gross continued to hold down the fort and kept the Falcons scoreless for five innings.
But in between the next several innings, Mt. Blue picked up runs in the fourth and fifth frames. Infielder Lexi Belanger drove in a run in the fourth with her first of three singles and Stevens sent Yeaton home with a run on an error to give the Cougars an 8-0 lead.
The Falcons, who tried to chip away at Gross, finally brought two runs across in the sixth.
Gracie Farnham got on with a walk and eventually scored on Brooke Brown's fly-out to center field. Autumn Freeman, who reached on a single, came home from third base on a passed ball. Losing pitcher Ali Legere, a freshman, also went the distance, giving up 12 hits.
The Cougars picked up two more runs in the seventh to top off their 10-2 win.
"I knew coming in they would be a tough team," Mountain Valley coach Gary Dolloff said. "I've been watching the standings. That second inning kind of got away from us a bit, but I though the rest of the game they played well. We stayed in the game and we are starting to hit tough pitching again.
"We are really young. I like how scrappy we are playing. We stayed in the game. We don't quit and keep playing."