Thomaston rallies past Westbrook and into Class S quarters
THOMASTON - It took a while for the Thomaston High softball team to get going but when it did, it did more than enough to keep it's state tournament hopes alive.
The third-seeded Bears rallied from a two-run deficit with a six-run sixth inning en route to a 7-3 victory over No. 19 Westbrook on Wednesday afternoon in Thomaston.
With the win the Bears (17-3) advance to the Class S quarterfinals where they will host No. 6 Canton at 4 p.m. on Friday. Canton has won two tournament games so far, edging No. 27 East Hampton, 2-1, in the first round and No. 11 Goodwin Tech, 6-2, on Wednesday.
"We kept our head in the game and kept fighting when we were down," Thomaston co-coach Gene Torrence said. "I told them if they weren't careful they were going to get bit. We got bit, but we survived it."
What bit the Bears was some unusually shaky defense that resulted in a pair of leads for Westbrook. An error and a misplayed ball in the outfield resulted in the visitors jumping out to a quick 1-0 lead in the first. Thomaston answered in the home half of the first when Abby DuPont singled to drive in Abby Hurlbert.
The game stayed tied at one until the sixth with neither team generating much offense and failing to capitalize on the chances they did have.
Hurlbert picked up the win, striking out seven with three walks, two of them coming in the top of the sixth when Westbrook took its second lead of the game.
Hurlbert walked the first two batters of the inning before getting a strikeout and a fly out to right. One out away from getting out of the inning, Hurlbert gave up a base hit to Beckylee Bennett that ticked off the top of second baseman Shannon April's glove and then through the legs of right fielder Erin O'Neill. Two runs came in to score on the play and Westbrook had a 3-1 lead and was six outs from advancing.
"It was frustrating walking two batters but I just had to focus on getting outs," Hurlbert said. "We finally broke through in the sixth and started playing Thomaston softball."
Everything changed in the bottom of the sixth as Thomaston put the ball in play, got hits, put down bunts and Westbrook fell apart defensively.
After a strikeout to start the inning, catcher Rachael DePaulo was hit by a pitch and eventually came around to score. The next five Thomaston hitters all scored as well, the final two coming on a two-run home run to center field by Karley Conway.
"We never give up," Torrence said. "I don't think there is anything that gets this team down. It started with small ball and then we got the bats going."