BENNINGTON >> Through the first four innings in Monday's intrastate softball matchup between Mount Anthony and Taconic (Mass.), it came down to who would blink first — MAU starter Taylor Dicranian or Taconic starter Ashley Keegan.
In the fifth, it was Keegan who broke — and Dicranian never did.
Mount Anthony scored three runs in the fifth and sixth inning as Dicranian faced two hitters over the minimum in a 6-0 no-hitter.
"Taylor showed real composure and maturity on the mound, she's put in the time in the offseason to trust her pitches," said Mount Anthony coach Katie Contrada. "[Catcher] Jamie [Boyle] is a rock behind the plate and they work together all year round. It's also nice just knowing you have a solid defense behind you."
The game moved along lightning-fast through the first four innings, with only one batter reaching base for each team — Aubrey Lazits reached on an error in the third for the Braves, while Dicranian had a base hit against Keegan.
After Dicranian retired the Braves in order in the top of the fifth, the Patriot offense came alive in the bottom half of the frame.
With one out, Kori Bow singled to right field before Dicranian crushed a pitch the opposite way to left field for a run-scoring triple to give MAU a 1-0 advantage.
"I was fouling it off, really wasn't liking the pitches," Diocranian said. "Then I said, I have to go with it, I got my hips into it, got it to the opposite field. That got the bats going and started the momentum."
Jordyn Upright came up next and during her at-bat, Dicranian scored on a wild pitch to make it 2-0. Upright singled later in the at-bat and Cheyanne Guetti walked to put two on. Upright made it to third and then scored later in the inning on another wild pitch for the third Patriot run.
"It comes down to a couple plays here and there, [Dicranian] pitched well, kept the hitters off balance and sometimes that happens," said Taconic coach Kevin Harrington. "The bats were out against Frontier, but that doesn't always translate to the next game."
The top of the sixth took all of eight pitches before the Patriots got a chance to get the bats fired up again.
Cat Worthington walked to lead off, then Lauren Woodcock singled to put two on with no one out. A Boyle groundout advanced the runners to second and third and Bow drove in Worthington with a single for the fourth run. Then, Dicranian drove both Woodcock and Bow home with her third hit of the day and third RBI for a 6-0 lead.
"Give credit to Taconic, they came out strong," Contrada said. "Once we saw [Keegan] once through the order, sometimes it takes one hit to get things going. This time, it was a senior captain in Kori taking charge."
The seventh was a formality as Dicranian retired the first two men before an error in the outfield put a runner at first. She wasn't fazed by the miscue, picking up her teammates inducing a popup to Bow at short to end the game and cap the no-hitter.
Dicranian finished the game with five strikeouts and no walks.
"I was throwing my junk [pitches]," Dicranian said. "I've been behind in the count, so it was important to get ahead in the count, so I could throw my screwball, drop ball or rise ball to change [hitters'] eye level."
Harrington said that despite the loss, his team can take something positive as the season progresses.
"My girls felt like they left at-bats out there," Harrington said. "We can learn from it. You get better playing better teams."
The Patriots are 3-0, with two shutouts on the young season. But Contrada still wants her team to keep going.
"I tell them they can enjoy the victory that night and get ready to work the next day," Contrada said. "The game has no memory. You have to come out every day and fix the little things, especially early in the season.