BANGOR, Maine — For Sam Bedore’s friends and family, it was a special moment, but for the Bangor High School senior righthander, it was that, but more importantly, another softball victory.
Bedore recorded her 500th career strikeout Friday, compiling 14 on the afternoon as her undefeated Rams improved to 8-0 with a 7-0 shutout of Cony of Augusta.
Bedore came in needing eight strikeouts to reach the milestone, and when Cony’s Suzie Deeves bunted an 0-2 pitch foul in the top of the fourth, resulting in a strikeout, fans donned special-made 500 strikeout T-shirts to commemorate the accomplishment.
“We knew we had to come in here and play, I wasn’t really focused on getting that 500th strikeout,” Bedore said. “We had to come in here and play hard and that’s what we did.”
Bedore fashioned a two-hitter, not allowing any balls out of the infield after Cony’s Alyssa Brochu led off the game with a single to left field. Deeves’ bunt single in the first inning was the only other hit for Cony, now 4-2.
“We’re playing amazing right now, we have more confidence than we have any other year that I’ve played,” Bedore said.
Bangor backed Bedore up with a solid offensive output, recording nine hits, while coach Don Stanhope’s defense committed no errors.
Two hits, a wild pitch and an error led to Bangor’s first two runs in the second, and the Rams essentially put it away with a three-run uprising in the fourth.
Perhaps the most impressive trait was Bangor playing small-ball against Cony lefty Emily Soule to generate offense. Eliza Estabrook led off the fourth with a single and went from first to third on a sacrifice bunt by Kate Freudenberger, while Megan Doucette’s second hit of the game put runners on second and third.
Jade Baumrind then laid down a perfect bunt down the first-base line, and when Soule threw the ball wildly into left field after looking Estabrook back to third, Estabrook and Doucette both scored, and Baumrind eventually came in on Mariah Cassum’s sacrifice fly to left.
“We decided to shorten things up a little, we ran a bit, and we bunted extremely well,” Stanhope said. “Jade Baumrind, one of the younger kids bunted very well, Kate bunted well, and we put balls in play and made them play the game.”
Bangor got its final two runs in the fifth on an RBI single by Freudenberger and a fielder’s choice RBI by Doucette, who went 2-for-3 with two runs and the run batted in. Hannah Lust contributed a double in that inning, the game’s lone extra-base hit.
Perhaps the most impressive thing about Bedore’s 500 strikeouts – she now has 506 for her career – is the fact that she didn’t pitch every inning of every game until her junior season, as she was in a three-pitcher rotation with Sam Besse and Amy Wadleigh as a freshman and sophomore.
“Both of those kids had a great work ethic and both pitchers were very good control pitchers, they weren’t trying to blow the ball by anybody,” Stanhope said. “She was part of that great rotation where they all had a different style, and all three really focused on knowing their sport and knowing their skill.”
Bedore is getting stronger with every game, and while her curveball and screwball had Cony batters buckling at the knees, Bangor’s stingy defense has allowed her to attack the strike zone and corners with precision.
“My defense had my back so I wasn’t too worried. Our defense has been doing amazing lately,” Bedore said.