BREWER — Jen Wight is used to being in clutch situations.
“I’ve regularly bunted with two strikes all year and I’m pretty confident that I can drop one down at any time,” the Bucksport High School junior right fielder said.
Her confidence showed when she stepped to the plate and dropped down a bunt to drive in her sister Sadie Wight from third base in the bottom of the sixth inning, giving the No. 3 Golden Bucks a 2-1 victory over eighth-seeded Caribou in the Eastern Maine Class B softball championship at Coffin Field Wednesday.
“I’m used to bunting in those situations, so I knew I could get Sadie in,” Jen Wight said. “This is the first time I’ve gone to the state championship, and it feels unbelievable.”
Bucksport, now 17-2, will take on Western Maine champ Fryeburg Academy in the state final at 11 a.m. Saturday at St. Joseph’s College in Standish. Caribou finished 12-8.
Bucksport combined solid pitching and errorless defense along with its timely hitting.
Senior pitcher Abby Yeo proved to be strong in the circle once again, allowing only one walk and seven hits while striking out six in seven innings of work.
Sadie Wight led off the the bottom of the sixth with a walk, stole second base and advanced to third on a groundout by sophomore Andie Lawford. That paved a perfect opportunity for Jen Wight to exercise her expertise and put the Bucks up by one.
Yeo — who relied on her fastball and curveball after Caribou timed up her changeup early on — then struck out Rebecca McDougal and got opposing pitcher Emily Staples and Jordyn Doucette to ground out in the top of the seventh to shut the door on the Vikings.
“They were jumping all over my changeup in the first couple of innings, so I knew I had to make the adjustment and spot my fastball and mix in my curve,” Yeo said.
Caribou took an early 1-0 lead when sophomore Kristen Plante led off the top of the second with a single, advanced to third on a single by junior Jamie Martin and scored on an RBI groundout to second base by senior Sare Dambois.
The Vikings nearly scored again two batters later when Staples grounded to Yeo and Martin headed home from third base, but she was denied by Bucksport junior catcher Mindy Pye, who caught a quick throw from Yeo and tagged Martin for the second out of the inning. Yeo then got leadoff batter Anesha Hersey to ground back to her and she threw to first to escape the inning.
Staples held the Golden Bucks scoreless through the first four innings, escaping several jams along the way with a diving play from Martin in center, a quick snag by Doucette at third on a hard line drive by Sadie Wight and clutch strikeouts.
But the Golden Bucks were presented with chances and eventually took advantage of them. Pye singled with one out in the fifth, stole second and advanced to third on a throwing error. Bucksport junior Shelby Redman then knocked in Pye with a safety squeeze to tie the score at one.
In the top of the sixth, Pye picked off Martin after she singled with one out in the top of the sixth, and Yeo struck out Dambois for the third out, giving the Bucks momentum heading into the bottom of the inning.
“When we were down 1-0 I told the kids what I’ve told them all year,” Bucksport coach Mike Carrier said. “I told them to stay focused and never give up, and they went out and made those plays. They played unbelievable.”
Carrier also referenced the Golden Bucks’ errorless defense, and how important a defense like that has helped them in their title run.
“We went through a five-game stretch toward the end of the season where we didn’t commit an error,” said Carrier. “That’s phenomenal to go that many games without an error, and we’ve stayed strong since.”
Pye had two of Bucksport’s four hits off Staples with two singles, and Lawford and Jen Wight recorded the other two singles.
Staples finished with seven strikeouts and three walks in six innings of work, and Martin had three singles.