BREWER, Maine – The final score may not indicate it, but the Brewer softball team gave Skowhegan all it could handle and then some Friday afternoon.
Witches’ senior righthander Amanda Ryan was outstanding in the circle, and it took the Indians 10¤ innings to figure her out.
Coach Lee Johnson’s club pushed across nine runs in the top of the eleventh inning, with the winner coming on Anna Lorrette’s fielders’ choice RBI, as Skowhegan pulled out a 10-1 victory at Coffin Field that was much closer than the scoreboard showed.
“I’m extremely proud of Amanda Ryan, she pitched a tremendous game,” said Brewer coach Skip Estes, whose team falls to 6-5. “This team hasn’t given up many runs in the last four-five games.”
Skowhegan, which improves to 10-1, scored all nine of its 11th-inning runs with one out, starting when Whitney Jones led off with a single, went from first to third on a sacrifice bunt and beat out a throw to the plate on Anna Lorrette’s grounder to third.
Jones hesitated somewhat heading around second, but just kept going when Brewer first baseman Deaven Smith held onto the ball.
“She didn’t look like she was going to throw so I just ran to third base,” Jones said.
The damage would continue, as Makayla Hancock drove in a run with a double, while sister Megan plated two more with another double, and Amanda Johnson, the coach’s daughter, subsequently doubled in another.
Jones followed Johnson’s hit with a two-run home run while Sam Gray connected for a solo blast after that to complete the scoring.
“The intensity was definitely bigger [in the 11th],” said Megan Hancock, who went 5-for-6 with three RBIs and a run. “After the seventh inning we knew we had to go up. We had people on base every inning after the seventh, so we knew we could come out and get it eventually.”
The Indians dodged a bullet in the bottom of the 10th, when the Witches loaded the bases with one out courtesy of a walk, single and hit batter.
But Becca McCarty got a grounder back to the circle, a force-out at home, and grounder to second to barely get out of that threat, as Brewer’s Morgan Small nearly beat out the throw.
“We knew it was close, we just had to bring it [offensively] again,” said Megan Hancock. “The intensity was way up there after that.”
It was clear to the Indians that this was a different Brewer ballclub than the one they mercy-ruled 12-0 a few weeks ago.
“This time, they came to play. They’re a good team,” said Jones.
Brewer got on the board in the first on an Amy Curry infield single that deflected off McCarty’s knee, and the Witches had the bases loaded and nobody out, but two strikeouts and a groundout extinguished that flame.
McCarty’s velocity appeared stronger after that inning.
“I think you’re right,” Johnson said. “I think it was a wakeup call for us. We had a 16-0 game Monday, didn’t play until today, so I think mentally we were not sharp. Taking nothing away from them, they played a great game, but we definitely were not on our A-game today.”
Skowhegan tied it in the fifth on a single to center by Megan Hancock, which scored sister Makayla, who also singled.
Ryan walked just one batter while striking out seven for Brewer, keeping the Indians off-balance with riseballs.
“She pitched a hell of a game today,” Estes said. “That’s a very potent team, they’ve been mercying everybody until they got up here.”
“We were struggling with the riseball a little bit,” Jones said. “She was throwing it up and we would just swing under it every time.”
McCarty had 12 strikeouts for Skowhegan while Curry had three hits for the Witches, who left 12 runners on base.