BUCKSPORT — Abby Yeo went to the pitching circle with a business-like approach Thursday afternoon, but that should come as no surprise to those who follow the Bucksport softball team.
The senior righthander posted her fifth shutout of the spring, striking out 10 while allowing only three hits as the Golden Bucks earned a pointworthy 5-0 Class B victory over Hermon at Wardwell Field.
“We really wanted to focus up and win this game because we knew that they were a really good team,” said Yeo, whose Bucks avenged an 8-3 loss to Hermon last month.
Bucksport upped its record to 6-1 while the defending state champion Hawks suffered their first setback and dropped to the same mark.
Yeo was in control right from the start, not allowing a hit until the fifth inning while using an effective dropball that had the Hawks beating the ball into the ground.
“We pitched a lot of drops today, shaking up the strategy a little bit,” said Yeo. “I usually throw a lot of curves but today it was mostly drops.”
A dropball has a similar effect as a sinkerball, and it was vital for Yeo against a Hermon club which had plated 25 runs in recent victories over John Bapst of Bangor and Mount Desert Island.
“When you throw the ball down the middle, they’re going to crunch it, especially a great team like that,” said Bucksport coach Mike Carrier. “She threw the drop very well today, her curveball was working well, and she kept them off-balance with the change once in a while and that made her fastball look even faster.”
The Bucks were also able to turn up the heat a bit offensively, plating two first-inning runs, with Sadie Wight figuring in both with an RBI single while she later scored on an error on an Andie Landford slap-bunt up the first-base line.
Jen Wight, Sadie’s cousin, drove in another run with a third-inning base hit while Mindy Pye singled in a run in the fifth, and Kacie Hurd plated another with a fielder’s choice grounder in which Sadie Wight beat a throw to the plate on Hurd’s bunt.
That was quite a turnaround from the first matchup between the teams in which the Bucks left 11 runners on base.
“Everybody’s bats were going today, last time we had the bats going but we left everyone on base,” said Sadie Wight, who had two singles, an RBI and scored two runs. “This time we pulled them in.”
Yeo didn’t allow a baserunner until the third, when Gabby Bryant reached on an error, but she was quickly erased on a double play, while Shannon Graves’ leadoff single in the fifth accounted for Hermon’s first hit.
But that didn’t faze Yeo, as a strikeout and two popouts got her out of the fifth, and Bucksport quickly scored two more runs to essentially put it away.
“She was bringing it today, she was pumped,” said Carrier.
“Her pitches were working really well today and it helped,” added Wight.
Hermon tried to piece together a two-out rally in the sixth, as Deb Colpitts walked and Sami Schultz singled, but Yeo got Ashley Thayer to pop up to first. Yeo worked around a one-out single by McKayla Bates in the seventh, striking out the final two hitters.