BUCKSPORT, Maine — Winning the hard way has certainly been the right formula for the Medomak Valley softball team the last couple of seasons.
The Panthers from Waldoboro won the Eastern Maine Class B title out of the eighth seed last spring, and they’re one step away from doing it again.
Medomak scored three times in the top of the eighth inning and got a solid pitching performance from senior righthander Kayla Vannah en route to a 6-4 semifinal victory over fourth-ranked Bucksport at Wardwell Field on Saturday afternoon.
The Panthers (15-4) take on No. 7 Erskine of South China in Tuesday’s regional championship game in Brewer, while Bucksport finished up 13-6.
Medomak jumped out to a 2-0 second-inning lead, thanks to a walk, single, sacrifice bunt and throwing error, which plated both runs.
The Panthers got another in the third on yet another Bucksport error — one of six on the afternoon — and looked to be in control up 3-0.
But the Bucks kept battling, and came back with three runs in the fifth inning.
Two singles and an error loaded the bases for Emily Lenor, and she cleared them with a triple off the right-field fence that barely missed a home run to make it 3-3.
That’s when Vannah reassumed control, working around a one-out single to strike out the side in the sixth while setting the Bucks down in order in the seventh.
Mallory Conary singled to lead off the Medomak eighth, stole second and came around on a throwing error.
The Bucks then decided to pitch to Medomak’s top hitter, Tessa Dodge, with first base open and she lined the first pitch she saw into the right-center field gap for an RBI double and a 5-3 Panther lead.
Dodge scored on an error one batter later.
Mindy Pye hit a two-out solo homer in the bottom of the eighth for Bucksport, but Vannah got the final out via the strikeout to give Medomak the victory.
Rachel Keefe led the Panthers offensively, going 3-for-3 with a run scored while Conary scored two runs and reached on an error in the second.
Sarah Sutherland was Bucksport’s lone repeat hitter with two singles.