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Staples leads Caribou softball team to second upset, berth in final

John Clarke Russ/BDN | BDN
John Clarke Russ/BDN | BDN
Old Town's Meagan Cousins slides around Caribou's Sare Damboise to steal second during the third inning of their Eastern Maine Class B semifinal at Old Town High School Saturday afternoon, June 11, 2011. Caribou won 4-2 in nine innings.
By Joel Neill, Special to the BDN

OLD TOWN — Junior pitcher Emily Staples helped eighth-seeded Caribou pull off its second upset in three days when the Vikings knocked off the No. 4 Old Town Coyotes in ninth innings Saturday in an Eastern Maine Class B softball semifinal Saturday.

On Thursday the Vikings eliminated top-seeded Medomak Valley of Waldoboro 1-0.

Staples came up big again Saturday as she struck out 14 and walked only three while scattering five hits after striking out 16 against Medomak.

She also stroked a key single in the top of the ninth that triggered a Caribou rally, resulting in a two-run double by Jordan Doucette, and putting the Vikings  up 4-2 before Staples shut the door on Old Town in the bottom of the inning.

“I felt great out there today,” said Staples, who employed a commanding fastball. “I came out pumped and my teammates did a great job backing me.”

Now the amped-up Vikings (12-7) face another upset opportunity on Tuesday when they meet the third-ranked Golden Bucks for the EM Class B title at 7 p.m. at Coffin Field in Brewer.  Caribou got hits from eight of their nine starters off Old Town pitcher Kendra Hayward, and strung them together at the right times.

With two outs in the top of the ninth, Staples hit her single through the right side, and leadoff batter Anesha Hersey followed with a single. Doucette then got a pitch she liked and drove it over Old Town center fielder Meaghan Cousins’ head — who was playing slightly in — to bring around both Staples and Hersey and take a 4-2 lead.

“I was so nervous when I got up to the plate, but I got a fastball that I liked and drove it,” Doucette said. “It feels great to be in this situation right now.”

Staples then came back out on the mound and struck out McKayla Gastia, got Micayla Hussey to ground out to shortstop, and induced Kacey Hessletine to ground out to Doucette at third to secure the victory.

Caribou, which had five players quit the day before its quarterfinal matchup against Medomak, has only 10 players on its roster, but is still finding ways to win, reflecting both its will to win and high-energy approach.

“This is absolutely unexpected,” Caribou coach Ryan Deprey said. “I don’t know if this is out of spite or if they’re peaking at the right time, but these kids refuse to lose.”

The Vikings scored right off the bat in the first, as Hersey led off with a single, stole second, advanced to third on a sacrifice fly by Doucette and scored on a double by Tia McHatten. McHatten then scored on a double by Kristin Plante to give Caribou a 2-0 lead.

Old Town got a run in the bottom of the first as Cousins led off with a walk, stole second and third, and scored on a throwing error to first by Staples. The Coyotes scored again in the fourth, but they couldn’t get anymore out of Staples and the Caribou defense, which only committed one error.

“Our kids gave everything they had today, and you have to tip your hat to Caribou,” Old Town coach Paul Rodrigue said.

Doucette, Hersey and Plante each had two hits for Caribou, and Hersey scored two of the Vikings’ four runs.

Gastia had the Coyotes’ only RBI when her fourth-inning bunt drove in pinch runner Sam Milton.

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