High school softball

Panthers hang tough, falter late as Black Raiders move on

Young Medomak Valley experiences solid season, looks to future
By Mark Haskell | Jun 11, 2014

Winslow — Touting only 10 players on the roster, the No. 11 Medomak Valley softball team knew it would be in for an uphill battle on Tuesday, June 10 in the team's Eastern Class B prelim playoff game with No. 6 host Winslow.

But for nearly five innings, the Panthers hung tough as the visitors led in the early going and were tied heading into the bottom of the fifth.

The Black Raiders then opened the floodgates to the tune of a five-run fifth inning, which proved more than the Panthers could overcome as the hosts pulled away with a 10-3 win.

Winslow (12-5) now moves on to the quarterfinals where it will face No. 3 Hermon (14-2).

Medomak Valley's season ended at 6-11.

Leading Medomak Valley, which also lost to Winslow 7-5 in regular-season game, at the plate were Hope Lash (single, run), Vanessa Rancourt (single), Hannah Marks (run), Sophie Cohen (double), Lauren Guptill (single), Hannah Watmough (triple) and Stephanie Hill (run).

For Winslow, Paige Veilleux (single, run), Jenna Petoru (single, double, run), Hayley Pottle (2 singles, 2 runs), Brook Haskell (run), Hillary Libby (2 singles), Hannah Doble (single, run), Liz Pullen (single, run), Kaia Richards (single) and Kelsey Houston (single) paced the offense.

Marks pitched for the Panthers, allowing 11 hits and six walks, with three strikeouts. Doble pitched for the Black Raiders, allowing five hits and two walks, with 10 strikeouts.

Medomak Valley scored two runs in the third inning and added another in the sixth, while Winslow scored one in the third, one in the fourth, five in the fifth and three in the sixth.

It has been a challenging season for the Panthers, one marred by players missing time on the field for a variety of reasons including grades, appointments, injuries and class trips, said veteran coach Richard Vannah.

Vannah estimated he only had his top 12 players for “probably four or five games” all season, which was “tough to overcome because players have to be put in different [positions].”

In a nutshell, the shortage of players made this season the most difficult in Vannah's five-year tenure coaching the Panthers.

“For going through all of that, I thought they played really well today,” the coach said. “They had one bad inning, and it wasn't necessarily an error-filled inning. They [Winslow] had hits. We made maybe one mistake the whole inning and they just hit the ball pretty hard.”

Hill reached on an error to start the third inning and reached second base, while Lash then rapped an RBI-single, which plated Hill. Lash came in on an RBI-single by Rancourt, which gave the visitors an early 2-0 lead.

Winslow tacked on a run in the third and another in the fourth to tie the game before a five-run fifth opened the floodgates for the Black Raiders.

Marks reached on an error in the sixth inning and later scored on an RBI-double by Guptill to cut the Panther deficit to 7-3, but the visitors got no closer as Winslow added three more runs in the sixth to pull away.

Vannah praised the play of Lash, the right fielder, who made a difficult running catch in the outfield and made an out at first base on a quick relay.

Medomak Valley started the season with one senior, two juniors and 10 sophomores, which should give the Panthers plenty of reason to be optimistic for 2015.

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