Cougar softball team enters playoff on a roll
DIXFIELD -- It's not always how things start out, but being able to progress is important and the Dirigo softball team would certainly agree.
That's because the Lady Cougars have won seven straight games and will enter the playoffs with some momentum.
Dirigo finished 10-6, fourth in the final Heal Points and will host Hall Dale in a quarterfinal playoff game Thursday afternoon.
"I'm looking forward to getting a chance to host Hall Dale,"said coach Sara Thurston. The Cougars had finished regular season the last two years in sixth, and lost twice on the road in the first round. "It's going to be nice to play this first round with our home crowd (Marble Park) there to cheer us on."
Dirigo had lost in the seventh inning at Hall Dale last month. It was a mirror image of how the Cougars had begun -- either on offensively and off defensively,
or on defensively and off offensively -- leading to a 3-6 record. Including four one-run losses. Thurston believes the team started to put both sides together with wins against Spruce Mountain 7-3 and Mountain Valley 11-4.
"The girls had had enough of the one run games," said Thurston. "The team has learned the importance of making the most out of every play they make, and every pitch they see, which makes a world of difference in the outcomes of games. Add that with the positive support these girls have given each other, and you've got the reason we turned our record around from 3-6 to 10-6.
The team experienced adversity with Ambyr Wilson or Alyssa Wade both taking their new assignments in stride. Wilson took on the starting pitching roll when Wade suffered an arm injury. Wilson won six of nine games. Wade won the final four games of our regular season (16 strikeouts, two walks, giving up two hits).
Dirigo has been led by MVC first team selections: Tasha DeRoche (shortstop) and defensive standout Mariah Larsen (.451 batting average) in centerfield. DeRoche paced the offense (.519, 27 hits, four home runs, 32 RBI). Wade, second team, hit .490, four HR, 26 runs. Honorable Mentions were 2B Natalie Bolduc (.434, 23 hits, 19 runs) and Wilson (.306). Also contributing was catcher Alyssa Charity .463 and Gretchen Bradbury at 3B.