BANGOR — The Bangor Rams had to be feeling pretty good about themselves early in Thursday’s Class A softball quarterfinal with Oxford Hills.
Before an out was even recorded in the bottom of the first, five Rams had touched home plate, and pitcher Sam Bedore did the rest as coach Don Stanhope’s second-ranked club breezed into the semifinals with a 9-2 victory over the seventh-seeded Vikings from South Paris.
Bangor (16-1) advances to Saturday’s 4 p.m. home semifinal against No. 3 Cony of Augusta (14-3).
Mariah Cassum led off the first with a walk and Sadie Redman laid down a bunt that was thrown wildly into right field, allowing both runners to score. Later, Kim Jordan’s two-run double and an RBI groundout by Eliza Estabrook put the Rams in charge.
Oxford Hills finishes its season 9-8.
“We have to get on top and we did,” Jordan said. “[It’s] very important so they know that we’re here to play, and [when] we get the lead, I think Sam’s comfortable with it.”
More like overpowering, as the senior righthander scattered two runs on three hits while striking out 12. Both runs and all three hits came in the fourth inning.
Two of those hits, including a two-run single by the Vikings’ Jaidyn Rice, were cue shots off the end of the bat that landed between the Rams’ infielders and outfielders.
“Those are the worst kind of hits, but you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do,” said Bedore, who recorded her 600th career strikeout. “They hit the pitches and they were good hits.”
Minus that one inning Bedore, recently named the state’s Gatorade Player of the Year, was untouchable. She located her fastball and changeup well and used an effective curveball on the outside corner.
“Sam really had her curve working on that corner,” Stanhope said.
Bedore also contributed to the Rams’ nine-hit attack with three hits, including an RBI triple in the fifth. Designated hitter Hannah Lust smacked an RBI double in the second that just missed clearing the fence.
“I was hoping [for a home run], but you can’t hope for that, you have to hit and just do what you can,” Lust said.
With Bedore assuming command in the circle, the Rams consistently chipped away at Oxford Hills righty Heather Verrier. She did settle down a bit after the first couple innings only to have Bangor score twice in the fifth and once more in the sixth, with Jeri Cosgrove driving in the sixth-inning run with a single.
Bangor also applied pressure with four stolen bases while Jordan drove in a run with a sacrifice bunt in the fifth.
“We try hard to put pressure on teams and in turn they do the same to us,” Stanhope said. Those are the things that we hope wins games.”
Bedore retired the first 11 Vikings before Brooke Ladd, Allyson Snow and Rice all singled in the third, but Bedore calmly struck out Brittina Maheux to extinguish the threat.
“Oxford Hills is a good team. They didn’t make it to the postseason because they couldn’t hit,” Stanhope said. “We knew going in they were going to put a bat on the ball.”
The Rams did just that. Most of their outs were loud, as they hit three fly balls that drove the Vikings’ outfielders back to the wall, mainly thanks to their patience at the plate.
“That was probably part of it, but I think part of it was also [coach] wants us to hit our pitch and hit it hard,” Lust said.
Jade Baumrind singled and scored on Cosgrove’s base hit in the sixth for Bangor.