BANGOR — The Messalonskee softball team couldn’t do much of anything off of Bangor senior righthander Taylor Lewis for the first three innings Wednesday.
But the Eagles of Oakland made up for that in the late innings, overcoming a 4-0 deficit with two runs in the fourth, five in the sixth and two more in the seventh en route to a 9-7 victory over the Rams.
Senior infielder Allie Collier helped spearhead that charge with three singles, three RBIs and two runs scored as coach Leo Bouchard’s club improved to 11-3.
“I realized that I need to move up in the box and focus on the ball more obviously,” said Collier, who popped out in her first at-bat. “So I just moved up and it worked.”
Bangor (9-5) scored three runs in the first inning and another in the second — two of them unearned — and with Lewis frustrating the Eagles, Bangor appeared to be in control.
But Messalonskee made the proper adjustments after Lewis had retired the first nine Eagles, seven via the fly ball.
“The problem early on was we were popping the ball up,” said Bouchard. “We weren’t driving through the middle of the ball. We made the adjustment at the plate and it worked.”
Bri Warren and Kylee Knight led off the fourth with base hits, and after they moved to second and third on a groundout, Collier’s single up the middle plated them both.
“We had one person going and then the next, it just kept going and it worked for us,” Collier said.
The Rams got one back in the bottom of the fourth on June Candland’s RBI double, but she was thrown out trying to stretch it into a triple.
Messalonskee then took a 7-5 lead with its five-run uprising in the sixth, while Amanda Joy drove in the go-ahead runs with a two-run single to shallow center. Tatiana Vogel and Bri Garland also drove in runs with base hits in the inning.
“The second time (through the order) it was a lot easier to realize what she was throwing for pitches and that we had to move up in the box,” Joy said.
Even though the Eagles hit the ball hard that inning, a few of their hits were well-placed bloops that landed in no-man’s land.
“They had three balls that dropped right over our infielders in front of our outfielders,” said Bangor coach Don Stanhope. “Those are tough hits.”
Bangor refused to quit, as Candland drove in another run with her second double of the day to make it 7-6, but the Eagles responded with two runs in the seventh, including an RBI triple by Hannah Jallette.
“That’s one thing this team has done for a good part of the season. We’ve been down by three or four runs and we’ve been able to come back,” Bouchard said. “Right now, they’re seeing the ball well and they’re hitting the ball well.”
Hannah Lust led off the Bangor seventh with a base hit to right, and pinch-runner Annie Guare scored when Kami Prendergast’s bloop single to center was misplayed.
But the rally was extinguished when Jade Baumrind popped out to the catcher.
The Rams began the day in fourth place in Eastern Maine, and must likely win their final two games — at home against Mt. Blue of Farmington on Friday and at Edward Little of Auburn on Memorial Day — to host a quarterfinal game.
“There’s about eight other teams who would love to be in the situation we’re in,” Stanhope said. “These kids have worked really hard, they’ve played their hearts out, they’re making some mistakes, but they’re also making some great plays and in the end I think it’s going to pay off.”
Messalonskee’s other repeat hitter was Knight, who had two singles and two runs. Candland led Bangor with two doubles and two RBIs. Lust had a single, double, RBI and run scored, and Lewis added an RBI single.