BREWER, Maine — Sam Pellegrino feels she is making good progress as a hitter for the Brewer High School softball team.
“As the season goes, I’ve been focusing more and more on my hitting,” said the Witches’ sophomore catcher.
That added focus was the prime reason the Witches were able to pull out an 8-1 victory over rival Bangor on Monday night at Coffin Field.
Pellegrino slammed a single and a double and knocked in four runs as the undefeated Witches earned a regular-season sweep of the Rams.
“This was definitely one of my biggest days [at the plate],” said Pellegrino.
She said she felt confident batting.
“It was just a matter of getting one good pitch and hitting it hard,” she said.
After hitting a two-run double with the bases loaded in the bottom of the fourth and nobody out, Pellegrino came back in the fifth with the bases loaded and two out.
This time she singled and knocked in two more runs.
“I was confident there, but I wasn’t thinking about what I did before,” she said. “I just take it one at-bat at a time and focus on that.”
Morgan Small ripped three singles and had two RBIs for Brewer (9-0).
After Bangor (6-5) tried to break out in the early innings against Brewer, Witches starting pitcher Alexa Grindle limited the Rams to two hits in the last four innings.
“I was just anxious for us to score,” said Grindle. “I have so much confidence in my defense.”
After Pellegrino put the Witches up 2-1, Grindle felt better.
“I was much more relaxed once we got those hits,” she said.
“They were able to put the bat on the ball with runners in scoring position,” said Bangor coach Don Stanhope.
“We played better today [than the first game between the two, which Brewer rallied to win 9-6],” he added. “Every day they get better. That’s all I can ask.”
Grindle finished with eight strikeouts, two walks and a hit batsman.
Carly Cosgrove led Bangor with a pair of singles, but the Rams could only get five total against the Witches.
Bangor starting pitcher Skylar Cassum struck out three and walked three, while reliever Emily Reilly had one strikeout and three walks. Reilly was the designated player before moving to the circle with two outs in the fifth.
Bangor came close to getting on the board in the first inning as the Rams loaded the bases with one out.
Grindle grabbed a bouncer back to the mound and threw home to force Alexis Stanhope with the second out.
Grindle struck out the next batter to end that threat.
Bangor’s only run, which was the first score of the game, came in the third inning when Sydni Cosgrove scored on a fielder’s choice by Reilly.
The Rams had runners on first and second with none out in the third when Reilly hit a ball that stopped a few feet in front of the plate. Sydni Cosgrove easily made third and motored straight home when Brewer catcher Pellegrino looked to third, then threw to first to get Reilly.
Cosgrove slid under the tag when the throw came back to Pellegrino.
After Carly Cosgrove reached on a hit by pitch and took second to put runners on second and third with one out, Grindle struck out the next two batters to end the inning.
The scoring all belonged to Brewer after that.
“The kids are focused. That’s good because we have a long week this week,” said Brewer coach Skip Estes. This was Brewer’s first of four games in five days against teams with winning records.
“The emotion was there the whole game,” said Pellegrino. “It was just a matter of making the plays and making the hits.”