SAFE: Cony High School’s Arika Brochu, right, slides ahead of the throw to Erskine Academy catcher Meryl Bond at home during a Monday’s game in Augusta.
BY MATT DIFILIPPO Staff Writer
AUGUSTA -- Erskine and Cony became an immediate softball rivalry when pitcher Sonja Morse transferred from Erskine to Cony last summer. When they met Monday afternoon, both teams came in with 7-0 records.
If Morse needed another reminder of her past, she got one in the first batter of the game: Meryl Bond, her former catcher. Bond walked and Erskine scored a run in the inning, but Morse was lights-out after that and finished with a one-hitter and 12 strikeouts as Cony posted a 5-1 victory.
"I was hoping that I would go out there and do my best," Morse said. "I felt like I had to prove myself."
Morse struck out five batters in a row at one point, and didn't allow a hit through five innings. Alyssa Gartley led off the sixth with a bunt past Morse on the right side of the infield for a clean single.
"The girls were really excited, just because of the rivalry," Erskine coach Holly Tripp said. "I'm always hoping that Sunny's successful -- not necessarily against us today, but I thought she did well."
Erskine has been one of the surprise teams in Class A this season. The Eagles were 11-6 last year but lost Morse and graduated three other key players. Ashley Green, and Gartley in relief, combined to hold Cony to seven hits, six of which were singles.
"We didn't square the ball up as much as we have, so give credit to the pitching," Cony coach Rocky Gaslin said.
The Eagles went up 1-0 in the first inning when Bond walked, then scored from first base when Morse threw away Alison Gauvin's bunt for an error. After Gauvin reached base, Morse allowed only three baserunners the rest of the way.
"The first inning, I was very anxious, just because I wasn't used to pitching to my old teammates," Morse said. "It was different, but after the first inning, I settled down."
"She threw a great game today," Gaslin said. "She kept the ball down low. She threw hard the first couple innings, then she came back with her change-up a few times and got 'em thinking."
Cony tied the game in the first inning when Arika Brochu got to first on an error, moved to second on a bunt, and came home on Nicole Rugan's two-out single.
The Rams had nobody on and two out in the fourth when they scraped together two more runs. Morse and Alyssa Brochu singled, and Morse scored on an error. After Maggie Russell walked to load the bases, Cecilia Fuller was hit by a pitch to force in a run.
"Our goal was to play errorless ball, and we didn't play errorless defense," Tripp said. "If we're going to compete with these guys, we've got to be error-free. We didn't do it today, but we can be there."
Matt DiFilippo -- 861-9243
© 2013 The Kennebec Journal - All Rights Reserved.
274 Western Avenue, Augusta, Maine 04330