BANGOR — Katy Esty hadn’t pitched in a week thanks to the dreary weather plaguing the region, but the Skowhegan righthander had a simple mindset Friday afternoon.
“You’ve got to make sure you trust your stuff,” Esty said.
Esty had good reason to believe in her arsenal of pitches, as she fashioned a six-hitter to lead the Indians to a 5-0 victory over Bangor.
Skowhegan turned the tables on the Rams a bit, as the Indians were shut out by Bangor 2-0 earlier in the season.
“We definitely came into this game with a different mentality and a lot more confidence than we did in the game before,” said Esty, whose Indians improved to 6-4 while Bangor fell to 8-4.
Esty kept the Rams guessing with an array of changeups and dropballs to go with her fastball, which she placed on the outside corner often.
“She’s a good pitcher. She gave us pitches to hit and then when she needed to tighten up, we didn’t get good swings on things,” Bangor coach Don Stanhope said.
Skowhegan put some early pressure on a Rams club coming off a 10-7 loss to Brewer on Thursday. A single and an error on bunts by Shelby Obert and Mary Baker in the top of the first put runners on second and third with nobody out.
Taylor Johnson drove in Obert with a bloop single to right field, and Andrea Quirion lofted a sacrifice fly to left to score Baker.
“That was huge. Last time they shut us out, we just couldn’t put anything together,” said Skowhegan coach Lee Johnson. “Today to come out and jump on them real quick and get two runs, then get two more in the second inning, that was huge for us confidence-wise.”
Lyndsi Merrill reached on an error to open the second, moved up to second on a passed ball and to third on an Obert sacrifice and scored when a Baker fly ball landed just behind third base.
Anna Lorrette doubled home a run later in the inning, and Mikayla Fitzmaurice’s RBI double in the third concluded the scoring.
Esty was efficient throughout the game, striking out seven and not walking anybody while Skowhegan didn’t commit any errors.
Johnson has been accustomed to those types of efforts throughout the year, but now his club is finding its confidence at the plate, and the Indians went down in order only once.
“We know we can play defense, we know we pitch well, we know we can stay on the defensive side, it’s just whether or not we score,” he said, “and lately we’ve been doing a much better job of swinging the bat and putting pressure on the defense.”
Bangor’s best chance to get back in it came in the bottom of the third, when Johanna Colpritt and Kim Jordan both singled, and Sadie Redman ripped a two-out base hit to left, but a strong throw by Fitzmaurice forced Stanhope to hold Colpritt at third.
Esty got Hannah Lust to pop to second to end the inning, and the Rams only got two runners to third base the rest of the game.
“As long as you trust your defense you can throw your stuff and not have to worry about anything,” said Esty.
As good as Esty was, a high number of the Rams’ outs were loud ones.
“It was a tough emotional week with all the rain and we grew up a lot today,” Stanhope said. “This was probably one of the best losses you can have at this point in the season.”
Baker had two singles, an RBI and two runs, while Taylor Johnson was Skowhegan’s other repeat hitter with two singles and an RBI.
Lust and Kristen Hennigan each had a double for Bangor, and Jade Baumrind added a base hit.