Greenville holds off Penobscot Valley in seventh inning to win Class D championship

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BREWER — In three consecutive innings from the bottom of the fourth to the home half of the sixth South top seed Greenville High School softball escaped bases loaded james against North No. 2 Penobscot Valley High School of Howland in the 2018 Class D championship on the afternoon of June 16 at Brewer High School’s Coffin Field. The defending state champion Howlers would cut a 4-1 deficit to 4-3 in the seventh, but Greenville kept the potential tying run stranded at third to win the first state championship in program history in the Lakers’ inaugural appearance in the finale on the softball diamond.

With one out in the bottom of the seventh, Penobscot Valley freshman and No. 6 hitter Emma Buck drew a walk on a full count. Buck then got to second base on a double up the middle by senior and older sister Ryley Buck.

Howler freshman Kara Theriault found a hole in the left side of the Greenville infield for a double to leftfield to drive in Emma Buck for a run. Ryley Buck turned at third and headed home in an attempt to cut the deficit to 4-3.

Greenville sophomore Aleya Pelletier scooped the softball up in her glove and heaved it to senior catch Shelby Cowin. Pelletier’s throw hit the mark as Cowin got the ball in her glove and tagged Buck before she could slide into the plate for out No. 2 and to keep the score 4-2.

“That wasn’t the textbook way to play that,” Greenville co-head coach Michael Cabral said. “I thought they should have held the runner.”

Cabral said Pelletier has “a lot of confidence in her arm and she felt she had a play and she made it. Sometimes they know better than the coach.”

Pelletier said she thought the runner would try to score. “They needed it but it was just there,” she said.

“That’s my twin sister,” Greenville sophomore pitcher Halle Pelletier said. “That was awesome, that was the best play of the game I think.”

“I do all my plays for her because I know she’s working so hard,” Aleya Pelletier said.

Penobscot Valley’s chances were not finished as Howler leadoff hitter Alexis Ireland was up next. Despite falling into a 0-2 deficit against Pelletier, Ireland tripled to centerfield to drive in Theriault to make the game 4-3 and put the potential tying run at third.

Pelletier quickly induced a groundball by Howler sophomore Morgan Banks. Greenville sophomore Tiegan Murray made the play at first for the out to clinch the history-making state championship for the Lakers after about two hours and 25 minutes of play. Greenville finished with the year with a record of 18-1, winning 17 games in a row, and the team also snapped Penobscot Valley’s 39-game winning streak.

The Howlers left 14 runners on base, including 13 in the first six inning and three in the bottom of the fourth, fifth and sixth (vs. only six left on base all game for Greenville). Pelletier would get the strikeout to end the fourth and sixth innings with the bases loaded and the fifth ended on a groundball out as the Howlers were kept off the scoreboard in each inning.

In the sixth inning, Greenville intentionally walked Penobscot Valley senior Kortney McKechnie to load the bases with two outs. After doubling in her first at-bat the clean-up hitter was intentionally walked in her next three plate appearances.

“I talked to my pitcher and said ‘what do you think, we’re going to load the bases,’” Cabral said. He said Pelletier concurred and he then told her, “‘Strikeout the next batter and you’ll take the game. And she said ‘let’s do it, I have got this’ and she did.”

“I felt a lot of pressure but I just trust my skill and I knew my teammates would back me up and I just trusted my pitching abilities,” Halle Pelletier said.

A run in the top of the seventh would prove to be a critical insurance run for Greenville. With two outs on the scoreboard Murray dropped a single into rightfield — one of only three hits the Lakers got off sophomore Leine McKechnie — to drive in Aleya Pelletier for what would run out to be the winning run.

“That was a very, very big hit and she’s been working hard in the last couple of weeks,” Cabral said about Murray. “She had a little bit of a slump and she remade her swing and took a different approach and yesterday she was not going to be a starter.

“She did so well so well with hitting, we had live pitching yesterday. We brought in Makenzie Beaudry (of Class B Foxcroft Academy) and had her pitch to us and she pitched batting practice, and Tiegan hit her all over the park. She put us in a situation where we had no choice but to put her in the lineup and she handled herself very well.”

“I kept saying that’s not enough girls, that’s not enough,” Halle Pelletier said about the atmosphere in the dugout heading into the seventh. “Then we just had that mentality in our head and we got another one. It was 3-1 and then 4-1 which was even better because we would have lost if it was just 3 -3.

Despite being limited to just three hits, the Lakers would score three times in the fourth with two outs despite being held hitless in the inning. Cowin got the inning started by being hit with a pitch and a throwing error on the pick-off attempt enabled her to get to second base.

Two batters later sophomore Bianca Breton was intentionally walked. Halle Pelletier would groundout to first, but by putting the ball in play on the right side of the infield she enabled Cowin and Breton to both get into scoring position.

A wild pitch rolled toward the backstop as Cowin ran home and scored to tied the game at a run apiece. A ball off the bat of junior Jordan Mann was mishandled in the field and Breton scored on the error to put Greenville ahead 2-1.

Two batters later an attempt to pick Mann off at third backfired as the throw was off the mark and Mann not only was safe but she scored as the ball was loose on the outfield grass. Mann made the score 3-1 in favor of the Lakers.

“It feels great because it’s such as tight-knit community,” Cabral said. “It’s not the school’s team, it’s the community’s team. The whole community comes out, they support us and it means a lot to bring something back to give to them. They give us everything, they are always there for us.”

“It feels awesome, I can’t even describe it,” Halle Pelletier said.

Greenville team members are seniors Emma Bilodeau, Sierra Bussell, Shelby Cowin, Lily Pelletier and Makenzie Redimarker, juniors Jordan Mann and Emily Vraux, sophomores Bianca Breton, Michaela Drew, Tiegan Murray, Morgan Noyes, Aleya Pelletier, Halle Pelletier, Jessica Pomerleau and Allison Savery, freshmen Madison Kane and Katherine Worster, manager Gary Mace and co-head coaches Michael Cabral and Erin Pelletier.

Greenville 4,
Penobscot Valley 3
GRV 000 300 1 | 4
PEN 100 000 2 | 3
1-2 two BB run two SB;
Cowin 1-3 run SB;
Murray 1-4 RBI SB
2-3 2B BB SB; Theriault
2-3 2B BB RBI run;
Ireland 2-5 3B RBI
WP — H. Pelletier 7 IP
3 runs 8 hits 9 BB 9 K
LP — L. McKechnie 7 IP
4 runs 3 hits 5 BB 12 K
Records: Greenville 18-1,
Penobscot Valley 19-1

Observer photo/Stuart Hedstrom
STATE CHAMPS! — Greenville held off Penobscot Valley of Howland 4-3 to win the 2018 Class D softball championship on Saturday afternoon at Brewer High School. The Lakers got out of bases loaded jams in three consecutive innings and kept the potential tying run stranded at third in the bottom of the seventh to win the first softball state championship in school history, two and a half days after winning the program’s first regional title.

Observer photo/Stuart Hedstrom
PLAY OF THE GAME — Greenville senior catcher Shelby Cowin tags Penobscot Valley senior Ryley Buck before the baserunner can slide into the plate during the bottom of the seventh inning of the Class D championship on June 16 in Brewer. Buck tried to score from second on a hit to leftfield but Greenville sophomore Aleya Pelletier’s throw from the outfield was on the mark as out No. 2 of the inning kept the score 4-2 and helped prevent the Howlers from matching the four runs for Greenville.

Observer photo/Stuart Hedstrom
GOLD GLOVE WINNERS — Greenville finished the season atop Class D as the Lakers defeated Penobscot Valley 4-3 in the state championship on June 16 in Brewer. Greenville High School now has two additions to the trophy case in the last three-plus months as the boys basketball team also won a Class D championship.

Observer photo/Stuart Hedstrom
FINAL OUT OF THE GAME — Sophomore Tiegan Murray steps on the bag at first ahead of the runner for the clinching out of the state championship on Saturday afternoon at Brewer High School. Looking on is sophomore pitcher Halle Pelletier, junior second baseman Emily Vraux and sophomore Morgan Noyes in rightfield.

Observer photo/Stuart Hedstrom
CELEBRATE GOOD TIMES — The Laker defense gets ready to celebrate by first base in front of the team’s fans moments after clinching the 2018 Class D softball championship on Saturday in Brewer. Greenville finished the season with a record of 18-1, winning 17 games in a row and snapping the 39-game victory streak for defending state champion Penobscot Valley.

Observer photo/Stuart Hedstrom
LAKER ACE — Sophomore Halle Pelletier earned the victory on the mound for Greenville in the state championship. Pelletier struck out nine, including two to get her team out of bases loaded jams in two different innings.

Observer photo/Stuart Hedstrom
THE WINNING RUN — Laker sophomore Aleya Pelletier was driven in on a single by classmate Tiegan Murray to score run No. 4 in the top of the seventh. In the bottom of the inning Penobscot Valley would go from trailing 4-1 to 4-3 but got no closer as Pelletier ended up with the winning run.

Observer photo/Stuart Hedstrom
IN FROM THIRD — Junior Jordan Mann fields a bunt to throw the ball over to first for the out in the third inning.

Observer photo/Stuart Hedstrom
MAKE SOME NOYES — Sophomore Morgan Noyes runs over to give co-head coach Michael Cabral a hug prior to receiving her championship medal from co-head coach Erin Pelletier.

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