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Softball: Cheverus continues hot start with victory over Kennebunk

Apr. 24—The talk before this softball season was that Cheverus was going to show improvement and take a step toward joining the elite teams in Class A.

Based on how the Stags have started their season, that prediction appears accurate.

Addison DeRoche struck out 14 in five dominant innings, Hailey Lamontagne scored twice and drove in a pair of runs to lead a balanced offense, and Cheverus improved to 3-0 with a 10-0 six-inning victory Wednesday afternoon against Kennebunk.

The Stags have outscored opponents 41-0, and while that figure is skewed by a victory over a brand-new Sanford team, it also includes commanding wins over a Scarborough program that is annually a Class A contender, and now a Kennebunk team that sports one of Maine's best pitchers in Julia Pike.

It's early, but the Stags have hit the ground running. And throwing. And swinging.

"It just feels awesome, it was a great team win," DeRoche said. "I think we all came together today to realize the importance of this game, because Kennebunk's a great team. ... Starting March 18, we've all come together, realized our goals and worked together as a team."

Cheverus brought back the top six hitters and seven players overall from last year's team that reached the Class A South quarterfinals, a group led by Lamontagne, who batted .460. The team also got a boost from the arrival of DeRoche, a freshman who's been shining nationally on the travel stage.

So expectations were high for the Stags. That hasn't fazed them.

"(We) just enjoy being together every day," Coach John Eisenhart said. "We haven't done anything. There are expectations, but ... we really enjoy competing. We don't think about any of that stuff."

DeRoche said the team is driven internally, not externally.

"We all know we have one another for the pressure," DeRoche said. "Our team goals individually are not what anybody's expectations are."

Cheverus scored three runs in both the first and second innings. Lamontagne (double) and Ashley Connor had RBI hits in the first, while Kelsey Cassidy (triple) and Lamontagne (sacrifice fly) drove in runs in the second.

With Pike in the circle for Kennebunk (2-2), the Stags knew they were going to need to be on.

"We definitely had to prepare before the game mentally. A lot of people were a little bit nervous," Lamontagne said. "I think in the end, getting it started early really helped everyone (think) 'Hey, we can do this.' Even though she's a good pitcher, we're good hitters."

Cheverus added one run in the third and fourth, then two more in the sixth. Everyone contributed. No. 2 hitter Delia Tremble had two hits and scored three runs, DeRoche had a pair of hits and an RBI, No. 5 hitter Anna Goodman scored twice, and Bella Napolitano-Aberle, Sadie Collins and Abby Kelly — the 7-8-9 hitters — all had hits.

"We're pretty tough, 1 through 9," Eisenhart said. "There are a few bats on the bench that I almost have to apologize to them that they're not in the starting lineup, because they are that good, they would start on most of the other teams. It's a really deep team."

Pike (four strikeouts) struggled with her command in rain that lasted through the first few innings. She was relieved in the second inning. The Rams got hits from Paige Williams and Talia Kellum, while Melody Rousselle struck out three in relief.

"We're young. We're still trying to figure it out," said Rams Coach Eddie Pike, whose team went 27-4 over the previous two regular seasons. "We can't look at what we did last year or the year before, in reference to our record and the way that we played.

"We've identified a lot of things in our game we need to get better on. But we're a different team than we have been in the past. We have to coach it differently. We're concentrating on staying positive, staying intentional, and getting better every game."

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