LEWISTON — Morgan Willis was in a groove.
The Messalonskee starter threw a gem, striking out 14 in the Eagles’ five-inning 14-0 win over eighth-seeded Lewiston in a Class A North first-round softball game on Tuesday.
The ninth-seeded Eagles (6-11) will next face top-seeded Brunswick (15-1) in the quarterfinals.
Fourteen of Messalonskee’s 15 strikeouts were strikeouts by Willis.
The junior said she relied heavily on her curveball.
“Definitely how far it moved,” Willis said. “They really couldn’t touch it.”
Lewiston coach Ryan Cormier said Willis was unbeatable.
“The way Morgan was throwing today, it was off,” Cormier said. “Any team playing against her today, they would have done the same against them.”
Messalonskee took control with a big third inning. Jordan Lambert started the assault with a two-run homer inside the park that gave the Eagles a 4-0 lead.
“It was a 3-and-1 (count), and I was expecting that perfect pitch,” Lambert said. “I took the opportunity.”
The circuit is Lambert’s third of the year.
Messalonskee’s third inning also consisted of two-run singles by Elise McDonald Willis and Audrey Mihm. The Eagles scored 12 points in the frame, turning a 2-0 lead into a 14-0 cushion.
“I think they just got up there and tried to hit the ball and tried not to think about it too much, try not to get into their heads too much,” Messalonskee coach Samantha said. Tunningley. “I think it worked well for them.”
Messalonskee defeated Mt. Blue 18-0 on June 1. In that game, the most runs scored by the Eagles in one inning was five.
Lambert said Messalonskee gels at the right time.
“I think the team chemistry has improved so much that we’re all having fun, so we can play more relaxed,” Lambert said. “We’ve been hitting very well recently.”
Lewiston (6-11) finally got to Willis a bit late in the fourth, when Charlotte Cloutier beat a pitch from the shortstop for a single to the infield, then took second as the pitch went past the first baseman. Isabelle Miller also drew a walk in the inning. But Willis calmed down and struck out Brooklyn Mynahan, his 11th strikeout of the game, to end the inning.
“Our girls came out and fought. They never gave up,” Cormier said. “They fought, they did everything we asked of them – that’s all you can ask.”
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