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May 23—Poland got big plays from its shortstop and its leadoff hitter in the first inning of Wednesday’s softball victory against Oak Hill.

The playmaker in both instances was freshman Khloe O’Leary, who gobbled up a grounder with one out and runners on first and second and got the lead runner to keep the Raiders from scoring early. O’Leary then reached base for the first of four times with a lead-off double in the bottom of the first and scored the game’s first run.

O’Leary factored into six of the Knights’ 13 runs in the win, scoring three times and driving in three more. After the double, she singled twice in the third and reached on a hard-hit grounder for an error in the fifth.

“She’s huge (for the team),” Poland coach Katrina Seeley said. “She’s our leadoff batter for a reason. Our shortstop. She can do a lot of things for us. It’s hard to believe she’s a freshman.”

O’Leary comes from a long line of softball-playing sisters at Poland. Karley O’Leary was a 2020 Poland graduate and Kaylin is a senior on this year’s team.

Generations of Edward Little athletes have circled matchups with Lewiston on their schedules as their archrivals, but in baseball there is another marquee matchup for the Red Eddies.

Every time Edward Little faces off against Oxford Hills, there always seems to be something big on the line or a good game takes place. Both were true when the two Class A North teams met in Paris on Monday, with the top-ranked Vikings coming out with a walk-off victory.

The opponent that battled his team to the final out wasn’t lost on longtime Oxford Hills coach Shane Slicer.

“It always is a battle with EL, it really is. Last time we played them (a 5-3 Oxford Hills road win the week before) we had the same situation really,” Slicer said. “They’re a good team, we’re a good team, we play each other a lot — summer time or what not — we know each other. There’s a little rivalry there, so everybody’s ready to play. Good atmosphere. It’s like a playoff game every time we play.”

The 2021 Winthrop girls tennis team feels like it is playing well, with the regular season just completed on Thursday and now the Ramblers await their playoff opponent.

They finished 5-5 during the regular season.

“We have only had two matches with a full (lineup),” Winthrop coach Jessica Merrill said. “It’s OK, it gives the girls experience and it gives us a chance to work on some things. They just had to play up (the ladder) and it’s a great experience. We are really looking hard with our doubles. Our whole motto this year is to ‘level up.’ We level up every day and do better from the previous day.”

Merrill doesn’t have any returning singles players and lost a promising sophomore.

“We lost Sophia Blanco in the first (preseason match) due to an ACL tear,” Merrill said. “That has affected us greatly, rearranging everything because she would be pretty solid for us.”

Hannah Duley suffered her first loss of the season at the state singles tournament.

“Hannah has been great,” Merrill said. “She’s a good role model for (the rest of the team).”

Duley had played doubles two years ago, along with Kerrigan Anuszewski, who has made a solid transition to singles, according to Merrill.

Lanie Roy played softball in high school and college, but her passion for baseball was always just as strong throughout her playing days. And the Mt. Abram assistant baseball coach makes no bones about being a Red Sox fan.

“When the Sox lost to the Yankees in the 2003 playoffs, with a walk-off by Aaron Boone (I still can’t stand him, haha), I was heartbroken,” she said. “I wrote a paper for my college English class about it, by far the best grade I received in my first few years of college.”