Published DateThe Gilford High School softball team increased its record to 13-1 after three games played this week.
On May 13, Gilford saw its fifth shutout of the season and beat neighboring Belmont 9-0. Sydney Strout was the winning pitcher striking out 14 , giving up one hit and walking none. Gilford was two players away from a perfect game. In the top of the first inning Belmont had a runner get on base with an infield error, but she was immediately picked off first base by catcher Paige Laliberte. Belmont's only other player to reach base came in the top of the second inning when Makayla Donovan hit a ball up the middle. Strout and the Gilford defense retired the next 16 batters for the victory. The Gilford offense jumped out quickly in the first inning, scoring four runs on two hits, two walks and two errors. Strout got the offense started with a bunt single, courtesy runner Kristina Hayden stole second and scored on an error. Lisa Osborne walked and scored on a Laliberte fielder's choice. Abby Harris got on with a fielder's choice and Caitlin Houston blasted a two-run double to the fence scoring Harris and Laliberte to make the score 4-0 in the first. Gilford added three more runs in the second, highlighted with singles by Mollie Dignan, Strout and Laliberte. Gilford scored two more runs in the fourth when Kelsey Buckley drew a walk and score on a Hannah Chase RBI single and Alyssa Wilson got on with a fielder's choice and scored on a wild pitch.
Gilford earned another 9-0 victory the next day, against opponents from Prospect Mountain. Strout and the Gilford defense were only one out away from a no-hitter. Prospect Mountain's second baseman (Meyer) hit a ball up the middle in the bottom of the seventh with two outs to break up Strout's no hitter. It was a gutsy performance by Strout who in the top of the secenth inning rolled her ankle after running safely through first base. Said coach Joan Forge, "Sydney is a very determined athlete and wanted to finish pitching the game despite having to be taped". Sarah Lachapelle, Gilford's back up pitcher was ready for relief, but Strout insisted on finishing the game. The Gilford defense was especially strong in the seventh inning behind their pitcher. The leadoff batter for Prospect Mountain laid down a bunt which is normally played by Strout, but Laliberte came flying out of the catcher's box to take the ball and gun it to first for the out. The second batter ripped a shot that looked like it was heading for the hole between third and shortstop, but third baseman Lisa Osborne knocked it down and threw for the second out. The third out came with a ball hit to shallow left field and left fielder Mikaela Mattice made a running dive to secure Gilford's sixth shutout. Strout finished with 11 strikeouts, gave up 1 hit and 2 walks.
Gilford scored one run in the first when Laliberte led off with a walk, advanced to second on a Buckley sacrifice bunt, Laliberte had a delayed steal to third and scored on a Caitlin Houston fielder's choice. The score remained 1-0 until the top of the fifth when Gilford scored three more. Dignan led off with a walk and scored on a Lisa Osborne single. Strout singled and scored on a Harris fielder's choice. Osborne scored on a Laliberte single. Gilford exploded for five runs in the sixth which started with Dignan leading off with a single and scoring on an error. The other four runs were highlighted by Laliberte's two run double and Wilson's two run single.
Gilford played three games in the same number of days and outscored opponents 21-0. May 15 saw Gilford battle Farmington for the second place spot in Division III. Both Gilford and Farmington had only one loss on their record and were tied behind undefeated White Mountain. Farmington's only loss came to Gilford early in the season which was a 2-1 victory in 9 innings. Gilford won the rematch with a 3-0 victory. Gilford scored one run in the second inning when Laliberte led off and reached on an error. She advanced to second on a Lachapelle sacrifice bunt and scored on a Houston single to make the score 1-0. Gilford manufactured another run in the third when Strout singled and courtesy runner for Strout, Kristina Hayden, scored on a Osborne fielder's choice to make the score 2-0. Gilford scored one more insurance run in the fourth inning when freshman Lachapelle hit her first homerun of the season. That was all the scoring Gilford needed to secure the win and second place in the standings.
Sydney Strout (2/3 at bat) was the winning pitcher striking out the first eight batters she faced and finishing with 14 strikeouts in total. Strout allowed just two hits and one walk. The Gilford defense is playing the best ball of the season right now and only committed one error in the game. This is Gilford's 5th shutout in a row.