BANGOR, Maine — The game was barely 10 minutes old and the Bangor softball team had jumped out to a three-run lead, but the way Sam Bedore has pitched this spring overcoming a deficit like that is similar to ascending Mount Everest.
The Rams took advantage of two errors and a wild pitch to back their junior ace with three first-inning runs, and she did the rest from there, retiring the first nine Messalonskee batters en route to a 5-0 victory over the Eagles of Oakland on Friday afternoon.
Mariah Cassum led off the Bangor first with a triple off the center-field fence. After Erin Dean worked a seven-pitch walk, Cassum came home on a wild pitch.
Dean moved to second on that play, advanced to third on a groundout and scored on an error off Eliza Estabrook’s bat. Estabrook moved to third on Jeri Cosgrove’s single and stole home on a double steal with pinch-runner Jade Baumrind swiping second.
That sequence doomed coach Leo Bouchard’s Eagles, who could scratch out only two singles against Bedore, who struck out 10 and walked one.
“Sammy, she’s a heck of a pitcher, she’s fantastic,” said Bouchard. “The first inning really set us behind, we got behind the eight-ball right [away]. Two errors, you can’t do that against Bangor.”
And three early runs certainly took weight off Bedore’s shoulders, to a certain degree.
“It definitely does take a lot of the pressure off and I think we did a good job coming out aggressive in the first inning,” said Bedore, who threw 66 of her 103 pitches (64 percent) for strikes.
The 6-1 Bedore, who pitched her fourth shutout of the season and has yet to yield an earned run, changed speeds early and often and kept the Eagles off-balance with a number of first-pitch change-ups and curveballs.
“We don’t want them to time all our fastballs,” said Bedore. “Different speeds, different locations.”
Senior designated hitter Nicole Stairs added, “We’re definitely thankful for Sam as our pitcher.”
Bedore’s counterpart, Messalonskee freshman Sarah Boynton, managed to keep hard-hitting Rams off the board for four innings after the first — setting down 10 batters in a row at one point — primarily thanks to some great catches from outfielders Amy Jose and Ali Collier.
“The outfield really stepped it up today, did a good job,” Bouchard said.
Boynton, who allowed five hits and four earned runs in the loss, exhibited solid control, not walking a batter.
“She did a very good job, she threw a change in there a few times, kept us off balance,” Bangor coach Don Stanhope said.
The Rams pushed across two more runs against Boynton in the last of the sixth. Bedore and Estabrook laced back-to-back singles, and RBI groundouts from Cosgrove and Stairs plated Kendra Lenz, who ran for Bedore, and Estabrook with the game’s final runs.
Emily Weeks and Jose each singled for 4-2 Messalonskee. Boynton compiled five strikeouts.