Over the last few years, Bangor High School senior Sam Bedore has evolved into one of the state’s top softball pitchers.
The righthander, who will attend the University of Rhode Island on a softball scholarship in the fall, is among a talented group of Rams seniors who are hoping for another deep postseason run this spring.
In three seasons at Bangor, Bedore has compiled a 29-6 record with an 0.83 earned run average with 410 strikeouts — 223 as a junior — and 62 walks in 269 innings.
Bedore took time out from doing some hitting drills at a recent practice for a question and answer session.
Q: Favorite music to listen to before a game?
A: I actually like to listen to rap a lot. It’s kind of weird because I don’t really listen to rap otherwise. But it just kind of gets me pumped up and in the mood to play. I don’t listen to the words I just feel the beat.
Q: Favorite movie?
A: “Coach Carter.” I like the inspiration in it.
Q: Favorite subject in school?
A: I like math a lot, I’m pretty good at math.
Q: Least favorite subject?
A: I’m terrible at chemistry. I hate chemistry so much.
Q: Do you have a nickname?
A: All four years I’ve always been called “Kansas” because I’m [originally] from Kansas. My sister, Jennifer, went to [the University of Kansas].
Q: You and catcher Jeri Cosgrove eat raspberries before every game, why is that?
A: We’re two pretty superstitious people. For the past two years we’ve always done the raspberries and just the little alone time together before a game so we can really get concentrated and get in the zone.
Q: What are some of your thoughts on leaving Bangor to play for Rhode Island in the fall?
A: I’m just excited about meeting new people and being away from my mom and not having to depend on her so much.
Q: How do you feel about being far from home but within driving distance?
A: The coach at Rhode Island is really family oriented so she’ll make sure that we get home and get to spend the holidays with our family.
Q: Have you had a chance to speak with any girls on the team?
A: Not really, because they’re in-season now so they’re really busy.
Q: Was deciding on a place to sign a difficult and stressful decision?
A: It was kind of a lot of pressure, but not really, because once I got to go see the school I really liked it a lot. I knew I wanted to go there.
Q: Have you chosen a major?
A: I think I want to study education. I’m not sure what grade levels. I would love to coach someday.
Q: Did you play any other sports besides softball when you were younger?
A: I played basketball when I was younger but the only reason I played basketball was to stay in shape for softball. So softball was really the only sport I really loved doing.
Q: When did you know you wanted to pitch?
A: The first time I ever picked up a ball I started pitching. I think I was around 6 or 7.
Q: Why does your team participate in meditation exercises prior to practices and games?
A: We have something called ‘clean the machine,’ so anything bad or anything good that happened at school or the night before we just kind of get it all out so when its game time we can really focus on the game.
Q: How much has it helped from a mental standpoint?
A: It’s helped us a lot and I feel that this year we have more team chemistry than we’ve had in a while. So it’s just a good feeling being around so many people that really love playing softball and it’s what they’re here to do.
Q: How hungry is your team to win not only an Eastern Maine championship, but a state championship?
A: I think that’s probably everybody’s goal but I think especially for this year, because we have so many seniors and so much talent on the team, that we’re working really hard to get there.
Q: Bangor and Skowhegan are being considered the favorites in Eastern Maine. What other teams do you consider dangerous?
A: We’ve never played Erskine before, so we have to watch out for them. Messalonskee’s always a pretty good team, and Brewer and Skowhegan, obviously. But, anybody can win on any given day. We can’t focus on one team too much because anybody could come out strong one day. We treat every game like it’s the same no matter if it’s one of the lowest-seeded teams or one of the highest.
Q: The pitching distance is now 43 feet as opposed to 40. How much will that benefit pitchers such as yourself with strong breaking pitches and teams that are sound defensively?
A: It’s definitely going to help the movement pitches a lot, but at the same time the defense has got to be there, and I’m actually really glad that my team has such a strong defense. I was definitely focusing more on my movement pitches [this winter] rather than trying to gain more velocity.
Q: You and Skowhegan catcher Sam Gray (Massachusetts) will both be playing in the Atlantic 10 conference next year. What are your thoughts on that?
A: I personally think it’s really cool that I’m going to be playing [against] someone that I’ve been playing with all four years of high school. It’s just kind of neat to know the same people you played with in high school you’re going to continue to play with in college.
Q: You played with two other talented pitchers in Amy Wadleigh and Sam Besse as a freshman and sophomore. How much has that and the coaching you’ve received spurred your development as a top-notch pitcher?
A: They really helped me with just focusing on the game instead of socializing with people around me, I guess. They really helped me focus on what I need to do and what I need to get done.