BREWER, Maine — Cassie Harvey rapped a pair of two-run singles in a 15-run second inning as the Brewer Witches hammered out a 23-2 Eastern Maine Class A softball quarterfinal victory over Erskine Academy of South China at Coffin Field on Thursday.
“I would love to have one of those [big innings] every game,” said a smiling Harvey.
The game was halted after the top of the fifth due to softball’s 12-run rule.
The top-seeded Witches (16-1) will host No. 4 Skowhegan (12-5) in a semifinal game at 2 p.m. Saturday.
“We started a little shaky,” said Harvey, pointing to the two runs the Eagles scored in the top of the first. “We aren’t a team to get nervous, but it was definitely good to get this win under our belt.”
Lindsay Houp, Chelsea King and Maddy Bailey complemented Harvey with two singles and two RBIs apiece in the second inning.
“It felt good,” said Bailey, when Brewer, which had scored one run in the first, started piling them up in the second. “Once we started we knew we could do it.
“Once a person gets a good hit, everybody starts cheering everyone on.”
Brewer coach Skip Estes was glad the Witches turned up the heat.
“I told them to be aggressive,” he said. “If you don’t want it to be a one-and-done, you can’t wait around.”
But the Witches’ performance in the second surprised even Estes.
“I’ve never had a playoff game like this,” he said.
The Eagles (9-9) took their 2-0 lead on three straight hits.
Alyssa Gartley singled with one out, Avery Bond doubled and Alison Gauvin singled to drive them both in.
Kaitlyn Sutter followed with the Eagles’ fourth straight, a single, but a fielder’s choice erased Gauvin at the plate and Brewer pitcher Alexa Grindle stretched to her left to snag a soft liner to end the inning.
“It looked really promising,” said Erskine coach Holly Tripp of the Eagles’ first inning.
“They came in confident. Their attitude was right on,” she added.
But the Witches clamped down defensively and limited Erskine to only four batters and no runs in each of their last four innings.
Then came Brewer’s second inning.
The Witches sent 21 batters to the plate in the inning, only two fewer than Erskine sent up in the entire game.
Everybody in the Brewer lineup scored at least once in the inning and six of them had one or more hits for a total of nine.
“They’re the best-hitting team I’ve ever been close to,” said Tripp. “You [can’t] leave a pitch out over the plate. They’re driving it well.”
The leadoff position was strong for Brewer as Houp had a double and two singles and Mackenzie McCurdy, who came in in the fourth, added two singles and an RBI.
Bailey went 4-for-4, all singles, Delaney Davis had two singles and two RBIs and Sydney Birch had an RBI triple.
Brewer starter Grindle and King, who relieved Grindle in the circle in the top of the fourth, combined for five strikeouts, didn’t walk anyone and allowed six hits.
Gartley pitched the first 2 2/3 innings for the Eagles, striking out one, walking five, hitting one and giving up 14 hits and 18 runs. Phoebe Cram pitched the last 1 1/3 innings and allowed six hits and five runs and walked two.
Bond was the only repeat hitter as she also singled in the fifth for Erskine’s final hit.
Tripp was still a bit upbeat despite the outcome.
“I want them to think about that first inning,” she said of her Eagles. “I was proud of the way they started and proud of the way they finished. We’re really young, and hopefully, this will help us later.”
Harvey is looking forward to Saturday’s game.
“We’ll get a good practice [Friday] and hopefully do it again Saturday,” she said. “It’s a big game, and I think we’ll be up for it.”
Correction: An earlier version of this story listed Erskine's record as 8-9. It did not include the Eagles' preliminary round win. The correct record for Erskine is 9-9.