BREWER, Maine — It was a dramatic ending to a storybook season for the Calais Blue Devils.
Entering the top of the seventh inning of Wednesday’s Class C state championship game with an 8-3 lead, the undefeated Eastern Maine champions watched as Telstar of Bethel shrunk that deficit to a less-than-comfortable two, with two outs and the go-ahead run standing at the plate.
But Tessa Clark helped deliver the school its first state softball title — 2004 Boston Red Sox style — getting Hannah Morin to ground out to the circle which clinched the Blue Devils’ 8-6 victory and set off a wild celebration at Brewer High School’s Coffin Field.
Calais scored five times in the bottom of the sixth following a 12-minute rain delay to break open a tie game, but Telstar would not go away. Kayla Merrill plated two runs with a double and T.J. Cowin another with a single in the seventh.
But Clark kept her poise, and once she flipped the ball to first baseman Nicole Osborne to get the final out, she simply smiled and the celebration was on.
“I was just going for my catcher. We’ve worked so hard, I was just so excited I jumped right on top of her,” said Clark.
After the game, Maine Principals’ Association Assistant Executive Director Jeff Sturgis commended Brewer High athletic administrator Dennis Kiah and assistant baseball coach Dana Corey for all the hard work they did in preparing the field.
The two were out at 4 a.m. Wednesday placing new dirt on the infield.
Calais jumped out to a 2-0 first-inning lead, as Alex McVicar and Courtney Hill opened the inning with back-to-back singles. They moved up on a Clark sacrifice and came home on Nicole Osborne’s sharp single to center.
McVicar drove in another run with a second-inning single for a 3-0 Blue Devil lead but the Rebels, who defeated one of the state’s best pitchers in Georges Valley’s Danielle Frye to reach the title game, got their own offense going in the third.
Merrill knocked in two runs with a single and Cowin followed with another RBI single to tie the game.
It would stay deadlocked until the rains came in the sixth, as play was stopped after a leadoff walk to Toni Cole.
When play resumed, Osborne, who went 3-for-3 on the day to lead a balanced Calais offense, singled while Cole eventually scored on a passed ball to give the Devils the lead for good.
Osborne also hit a deep double in the third inning that just missed clearing the left-field fence.
Lara Marshall and Hill contributed RBI singles in an uprising during which Calais needed all the runs it could get.
“We knew we needed to score that inning and we came out and scored,” said Clark.
Cole added, “That was the turn of the game and the hitting for us was awesome.”
Even though the ball was wet that inning, Telstar coach Jim Lunney wasn’t using it as an excuse.
“We still made some mistakes, we gave them a couple extra runs,” he said. “They hit the ball. That’s a very well-coached team.”
Both teams hit the ball very well as each team collected nine hits. Calais coach Greg Smith had a feeling the Rebels were going to come out swinging.
“You can never grow comfortable, especially in a championship game,” he said. “They beat the two-time defending state champions, Georges Valley. I knew they could hit because that Frye girl can pitch.”
The Blue Devils, who finished the season 18-0, were undeterred by the rain that arrived as they hit in the sixth.
“I came up to bat and it just started downpouring [but] I got on base and we did our cheers and we got on base. We did our thing,” Cole said.
Cole, one of seven Blue Devil seniors, was particularly thrilled to leave her championship mark on a school that has been a basketball powerhouse over the last couple of decades.
“Being a Blue Devil at Calais High School, there’s a lot of pride in that,” said Cole. “And being a senior this year, it’s a great way to leave our mark at the school.”
Three different Calais players finished the game with multiple hits — McVicar and Hill each singled twice, drove in a run and scored another. Osborne also had a fine game defensively at first, including a snare of a fourth-inning line drive that was heading down the right-field line.
Telstar, which finishes up 17-2, was led by Merrill, who went 3-for-4 with two doubles and four RBIs. Cowin singled twice and drove in two runs.