BANGOR, Maine — In the heat of the postseason, sometimes it’s best to stay somewhat relaxed.
Inside, the Bangor softball team was fired up for Thursday’s Class A quarterfinal with Edward Little, but outside, the Rams were calm and focused as they swatted ball after ball during batting practice.
Junior righthander Sam Bedore harnessed that focus in the circle, as she pitched her 13th shutout of the spring to lead the third-ranked Rams into Saturday’s semifinal with a 3-0 victory over the sixth-seeded Red Eddies from Auburn.
The 15-2 Rams earned a trip to Skowhegan to face the No. 2 Indians, with whom they split in the regular season.
Edward Little ends its campaign 12-6.
Bedore set the tone right off the bat, retiring the first five batters via the strikeout while finishing with 16 in pitching a two-hitter.
“I was able to move my ball around more today than the Skowhegan game,” said Bedore, referring to a 6-3 setback to the Indians in last week’s KVAC semifinal game. “Today was a good confidence booster for me.”
Bedore ignited her team’s first rally with a leadoff double to center in the second. After Kendra Lenz came on as a courtesy runner, Eliza Estabrook slapped a 1-0 pitch down the right-field line and Lenz sped home from second with what proved to be the game-winning run.
Lenz, a senior who had a great track career at Bangor, has thrived in her role of giving Bedore a lift on the bases.
“She’s really done an exceptional job in her role as courtesy runner,” said Bangor coach Don Stanhope. “She did a fabulous job staying balanced and then scoring all the way [from second].”
The Rams got another run in the second, as Kate Freudenberger led off with a triple and scored on Mariah Cassum’s single.
Nicole Stairs drove in the game’s final run with a run-scoring single in the fifth.
Not having faced the Eddies during the regular season, Bedore and her teammates were on their toes from the outset.
“We really didn’t know what to expect, so we knew we had to come out strong and give everything we got,” she said. “We really didn’t know anything about them other than they were a good team.”
Bedore benefited from another stellar defensive output as the Rams didn’t commit an error.
She was comfortable in the circle from the start, as her two-seam fastball was moving throughout the strike zone and had the EL hitters guessing.
“Bangor’s a good team, they deserve to go on, we didn’t see any pitching like that in the south,” said Edward Little coach Eileen Kene, whose club made its first playoff appearance since 2003.
“[Bedore] is by far the best pitcher we’ve seen this year. She has all the stuff.Bedore consistently pitched like it was a scoreless game.
“But, I don’t need to worry about 3-0, 2-0 because I’ve got my defense. I have a great defense behind me,” she said.
Bangor was led offensively by senior third baseman Erin Dean, who went 2-for-3 with two singles and a run scored.
Megan Hussar and Alyssa Levesque singled for EL’s only hits.