DEXTER, Maine — Even though Orono High School senior pitcher Andria Foster was having a memorable day at the plate with a long two-run homer to left-center field and a ringing double off the fence in right-center, she admitted she was nervous when she stepped to the plate with two outs and runners on second and third in the top of the seventh inning and her Riots trailing Dexter by a run.
“I was kind of shaking. But I knew what I had to do and I put my mind to it,” said Foster, who looped an opposite-field single just inside the right field line to deliver both runs and give Orono a thrilling 8-7 triumph.
Foster, her coaches and her teammates were surprised Dexter coach Dave Pepin elected to pitch to Foster instead of issuing her an intentional walk.
In fact, Orono co-coach Kevin Mansfield said he was already giving a pep talk to Hannah Francis, who hits after Foster in the lineup, figuring they would walk Foster.
“We weren’t going to throw her anything close to the plate. We were going to make her get herself out,” explained Pepin. “Libby [pitcher Libby Kain] and Harley [catcher Harley Ponte] said that pitch she hit was at least a foot or a foot and a half off the plate. You’ve got to give her credit, she dropped it in.”
“I wasn’t going to throw it anywhere near the plate because she would have nailed it out of the park. It was a good hit on her part,” said Kain, who went the distance.
Orono improved to 3-2 while defending Eastern Maine C champ Dexter fell to 2-2.
The Tigers had rallied from a 5-1 deficit to take a 7-6 lead with three runs in the bottom of the sixth on singles by Michaela White, Kain and Ponte, two stolen bases and two errors.
Caitlin Goodwin led off the Orono seventh by being hit by a pitch.
Two outs later, Leya Bryant belted what appeared to be a game-tying double over center fielder Maicee Gustin’s head.
But the ball rolled through a hole in the fence for a ground-rule double, and that sent Goodwin back to third.
“When the ball went through the fence, I thought it might be our night,” said Pepin.
But Foster came through.
“I was confident [Foster] would get a hit. She was having an awesome hitting night,” said Bryant.
Foster retired the side in order in the seventh to pick up the complete-game win.
She struck out six and walked five while allowing seven hits. Just three of the runs off her were earned.
“This was a really good win for us,” said Bryant. “They’re a good team. We really showed how we can play as a team. If we have a bad inning, we can come back from it. We’re good in clutch situations.”
Dexter took a 1-0 lead in the first when Jordyn Bell was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded.
But Foster walloped her two-run homer in the second and Orono added three in the fourth on Bryant’s base hit, Foster’s double, Hannah Francis’ run-scoring fielder’s choice, Brianna Pickering’s RBI single and a passed ball.
Dexter answered with three in the bottom of the fourth on a bases-loaded walk to Kain and Lauren Crane’s two-run single.
Caleigh Paul’s single, on which an outfield error was committed allowing her to go to third, and Bryant’s single made it 6-4 in the fifth.
Bryant went 4-for-4 with a double and an RBI, and Foster had four RBIs with her three hits. Paul had two singles.
Ponte and Peyton Watson had two singles each for Dexter. Ponte had an RBI.
Pepin was pleased with his Tigers, saying, “I was really pleased with the way the kids competed today. We’re a very young team. We only had two seniors [in the lineup].”
Foster received flowers and hugs from each of the Dexter players and the coaches after the game because she has been diagnosed with cancer.
Foster said it is stage one and she will have surgery in Bangor on May 15 to remove the cancer. She will play up until the surgery.