SKOWHEGAN, Maine — In a softball game that featured two of the state’s top pitchers, it was a home run that made the difference.
Megan Doucette ripped an inside-the-park homer to center in the top of the second inning that gave Bangor the lead for good, and Sam Bedore kept Skowhegan off the board the rest of the way as the Rams earned a 4-1 victory in a Class A showdown Monday.
Coach Don Stanhope’s Rams improved to 6-0, winning in Skowhegan for the first time since 2008 while the Indians, the defending EM Class A champs, dropped to 4-1.
The game started about 45 minutes late after a downpour blasted through the area about 40 minutes before the scheduled first pitch.
After both teams got a run in the first, Doucette laced a 2-1 pitch from Skowhegan’s Becca McCarty and center fielder Amanda Johnson couldn’t make the catch and the ball scooted all the way to the fence while Doucette raced around the bases to give Bangor the lead.
“It was just a strike down the middle and I wasn’t looking to rip it, I was looking to make contact,” said Doucette, who went 2-for-3.
“I didn’t expect an inside-the-park home run out of it, but I just kept booking it.”
The Rams added another run in the second on Kim Jordan’s RBI double to left-center field, and Annie Guare scored on a wild pitch in the third.
After Whitney Jones tripled and scored on a balk in the first, Bedore didn’t allow another Indian to touch the plate, compiling 11 strikeouts while stranding 10 Skowhegan baserunners.
The senior righthander also got help from error-free defense, including an over-the-shoulder catch by right fielder Kate Freudenberger on Sam Gray’s opposite-field drive with a runner on in the third.
“That was huge, and it was one of those things that usually would suck the air right out of the dugout,” said Stanhope. “Every kid behind us and both coaches were looking like, ah Kate you got it.”
Skowhegan did have several other chances to close the gap, but the Indians left runners on second and third in the sixth and first and third in the seventh, with Bedore getting strikeouts to end each inning.
“We know Sam, she can carry us, she really can, she’s a phenomenal pitcher,” said Doucette. “We know that we have confidence in her.”
After her teammates gave her a 4-1 lead, Bedore just kept pumping strikes.
“It always helps to get more runs on your side, to make me relax a little bit,” said Bedore.
The Rams also appeared relaxed and in control, and were confident they could beat the Indians on the road after losing three games in Skowhegan last spring, including a regional semifinal.
“It’s huge for us this is such a big deal,” Doucette said. “It’s not going to make or break our season, we knew that coming in, but it feels really good to win.”
Gray and Megan Hancock had two singles apiece for Skowhegan.