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Brewer faces unbeaten Cony in Eastern A softball final; Bucksport, Calais meet in C

John Clarke Russ | BDN
John Clarke Russ | BDN
Brewer High School pitcher Alexa Grindle winds up to pitch to a Bangor High School opponent during the fifth inning of their eastern Maine softball semifinal at Bangor High School Saturday afternoon, June 9, 2012. The Brewer High School Witches prevailed 7-1.
By Larry Mahoney, BDN Staff

The Cony High School girls softball team has hit 22 homers this season en route to an undefeated season.

But Brewer High School junior righthander Alexa Grindle has given up just two runs in 15 innings of playoff softball.

Grindle will be put to the test Tuesday when the upstart 12-6 Witches, winners of 10 of their last 12, travel to Augusta to take on the 18-0 Rams in the Eastern Maine Class A championship game. Game time is 7 p.m.

Cony is the top seed and Brewer is No. 7.

Meanwhile, in Brewer at the Witches’ Coffin Field, a pair of undefeated teams will meet for the EM Class C title as Bucksport will try to claim a rare double by winning consecutive regional championships in different classes.

The Bucks will take on Calais, both 18-0, beginning at 7.

The Bucks are the defending Class B winner but dropped to C this season.

Calais captured the EM Class C title in 2008 and 2009 and the state title in 2009.

Two more regional plaques will be handed out Wednesday when the Class B and D finals are held in Brewer.

Bucksport’s vacated B crown will be possessed by either a sixth seed or a fifth seed as No. 6 Nokomis of Newport (14-5) will take on No. 5 Old Town (15-4) at 3:30 p.m.

That will be followed at 7:30 by the game between defending state D champion Deer Isle-Stonington,18-0 and the fifth seed, against No. 3 Penobscot Valley of Howland (17-1).

Cony scored 189 runs during its 16 regular-season games and scored 19 in playoff wins over Hampden Academy (11-2) and Oxford Hills of South Paris (8-1). And the Rams have surrendered just 14 runs in 18 games behind the pitching tandem of Sonja Morse and Arika Brochu.

Morse, who pitched for Erskine Academy of South China last season, has handled most of the work and throws extremely hard. She struck out 10 in the Rams’ semifinal win over Oxford Hills.

The Rams have received homers from shortstop Alyssah Dennett, catcher Nicole Rugan and left fielder Molly Russell in their two playoff victories.

Morse is also one of the offensive catalysts and is the cleanup hitter.

Brochu, who plays center field when she isn’t pitching, is the leadoff hitter with Dennett, Rugan and Morse following.

Right fielder Maggie Russell is another threat in the five spot with Alyssa Brochu, Arika’s sister, hitting sixth and being another tough out.

Brewer got off to a 2-4 start that included lopsided losses to Cony (7-0), Bangor (6-1) and Skowhegan (6-1).

But during their recent 10-2 stretch, the Witches have outscored their opponents 98-20.

And junior Grindle has been outstanding in the circle.

In her last six outings against teams that made the playoffs, she has allowed only eight runs. Four of those came in a 13-inning, 4-3 loss at Erskine Academy of South China.

Grindle isn’t overpowering but has a drop, a rise and a changeup and hits corners very effectively.

The defense behind her has been outstanding.

Unlike Cony, which has a number of home-run threats, the Witches are more of a gap-hitting team, although right fielder Deaven Smith belted a two-run homer to beat Messalonskee of Oakland 3-1 in eight innings in their quarterfinal.

Smith, shortstop Lindsay Houp, second baseman Kelly Hatt, catcher Sarah Babin, third baseman Cassie Harvey and left fielder Carly Seymour have been pacing the attack.

Cony hasn’t won an Eastern Maine title since 2006 and a state title since 1983, while Brewer last captured the EM crown in 2008 when it also won the state championship.

In the Class C final, Bucksport and Calais breezed through their regular-season schedules.

Bucksport outscored its opponents 244-9 while Calais outscored its rivals 195-15.

The Bucks then beat Stearns of Millinocket 10-1 and Mattanawcook Academy of Lincoln 7-0 in the playoffs, while Calais edged Piscataquis Community High of Guilford 3-1 in the quarterfinals before ousting defending Eastern C champ Dexter 9-0 in the semis.

Second baseman Sadie Wight is the Bucks’ leading hitter at .630. She has five homers and 35 RBIs. Catcher Mindy Pye (.606-5-29) and 1B Bailey Blair (.602-1-33) are the other regulars over .600.

Designated hitter Deb Wight, Sadie’s sister, hit .500, right fielder Brianna Bires (.462), shortstop Shelby Redman (.453) and third baseman Kacie Hurd (.447) have also been fueling the offense and junior pitcher Cassidy Adams is 18-0 with an 0.41 ERA and 154 strikeouts in 102 innings. Opponents have hit just .133 against her.

The Blue Devils, who have gone 101-6 in regular-season play since the outset of the 2006 season, have been sparked by pitcher Olivia Smith and the hitting of first baseman Paige Gillespie, second baseman Miranda Moffett, speedy center fielder and leadoff hitter Meaghan Cavanaugh, catcher Madison McVicar and shortstop Allison Hill.

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