BREWER — Even though the high school softball season is only at its halfway point, Jordan Nickerson had a hunch there would be a playoff-like atmosphere at Coffin Field Monday afternoon.
“We knew this was going to be a big game for us and we came ready to play,” the Brewer senior catcher said.
Nickerson certainly had her game face on, collecting three hits while driving in what proved to be the game-winning runs as the Witches overpowered Cony of Augusta 6-3 in a battle of two of the top teams in Eastern Maine Class A.
Coach Skip Estes’ Witches maintained their undefeated record (7-0) and perch atop the Heal point standings while Cony, which entered Monday’s play in third place, fell to 6-2.
Trailing 3-1 entering the bottom of the fourth inning against hard-throwing Rams lefthander Emily Soule, the first three Witches reached as Amy Curry singled to right, Morgan Haradon doubled off the fence in center and Emily Cox reached on a bunt single.
After a strikeout, Kelcey Simpson worked a walk to make it a 3-2 game, and Nickerson subsequently ripped a 2-1 pitch up the middle to drive in two runs and give Brewer a lead it wouldn’t relinquish.
With Nickerson ahead in the count, she was geared up for a fastball.
“I figured (Soule) was coming for me,” said Nickerson, “so I was ready to swing at whatever she was going to give me.”
Soule got Sarah Babin to chop out to first, but Lindsay Houp roped a two-run single to center to give the Witches some insurance runs.
“We’re a team that doesn’t give up, and we proved that today,” said Nickerson.
Brewer took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first on a walk, error and sacrifice bunt, and Witches lefty Emily Cox was dialed in early, striking out five of the first six Rams.
But Cony came back to score three times in the third, with Soule driving in two of them with a sharp single to right.
Cox settled down from there, however, allowing just one hit and three baserunners the rest of the game.
“Emily did an outstanding job and so did our defense,” Nickerson said. “We did great to hold the lead that we had.”
Cox finished the afternoon with 10 strikeouts and four walks while allowing only four hits, and had the Rams guessing with pitches on the outer half of the plate.
“She kept it outside and the kids were reaching for it,” Cony coach Rocky Gaslin said.
While the Witches did get their bats cranking in the fourth, the one thing that may be lost in that shuffle is that Cox stranded Cony’s Liz Barker on second after she had led off the Cony half of the inning with a double.
“Emily’s developing into a very, very good pitcher,” Estes said.
The Witches also showed off their versatility. Pinch runners Kelly Hatt, Missy Thompson and Hannah Simmons scored fourth-inning runs, with Simmons courtesy running for Nickerson, giving Estes a nice luxury at the bottom of the lineup.
“I can courtesy run for her, so I can use one of my fast kids off the bench,” Estes said. “We played 16 kids today. Not many teams in a big game will play 16 kids.”
Barker and Brochu both recorded doubles for Cony.