AUGUSTA, Maine — Skowhegan scored twice in the first inning and Kaitlyn Therriault made them stand up as the Indians edged Bangor 2-0 in the Eastern Maine Class A softball final Thursday night at the Cony High School field.
The East No. 4 seed Indians (14-5) will take on Western Maine champ and top seed Scarborough (18-1) at noon Saturday back at Cony. Scarborough topped No. 3 Sanford 5-2 for the WM crown.
Skowhegan struck quickly in the first inning with singles from the first two batters, Shelby Obert and Mikayla Toth, followed by a passed ball that moved them both up a base.
Taylor Johnson drilled a single past Bangor third baseman Kelsey Pendergast’s right ear to deliver Obert, and Toth scored when the outfield throw went to second base.
“I had a feeling it was going to be a pretty good game for us” after the first two reached, said Johnson.
“I just relaxed myself and tried not to make too much of the situation,” she added.
Bangor pitcher Skylar Cassum struck out the next batter and two groundouts to second ended the inning, but the damage was done.
“Scoring right off the bat” was big for the Indians, said Skowhegan coach Lee Johnson. “But [Cassum] settled down after that. She did a nice job.
“And our pitcher did a good job, too.”
The seventh-seeded Rams (12-7) came close to breaking into the scoring column in the third by taking advantage of three Skowhegan errors, but a tagout at the plate on a fielder’s choice and a strikeout ended Bangor’s best threat.
Kelsey Pendergast was on third and Kylie Cunningham on second with one out when Sydni Cosgrove hit a ball back to Therriault. Pendergast started home, but thought better of it and headed back to third only to see that Cunningham was already there.
Pendergast raced toward the plate as Therriault threw the ball to her catcher, Andrea Quirion, who applied the tag. The next batter struck out to end the inning.
“Getting out of that inning without any damage was crucial for us,” said coach Johnson.
The Rams never got another runner past first base.
“She pitched well,” said the Rams’ Cordelia Stewart of Therriault. “If we had adjusted early in the game…. You try not to let it affect you, but their big jump in the beginning made it tough.”
The Indians didn’t fare much better, getting a runner to second in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings, but couldn’t score them either.
Obert added a double for Skowhegan, which swept Bangor during the regular season, and was the lone repeat hitter. Indians pitcher Therriault tossed a one-hitter, struck out six, walked one and hit a batter.
Stewart singled with two outs in the seventh to break up the no-hitter.
“I was hoping I could start a little spark,” said Stewart. “It’s tough when it’s the last inning.”
Cassum gave up five hits, struck out eight and walked one.
“We got a little anxious. We tried to do too much,” said Bangor coach Don Stanhope.
He gave credit to Therriault.
“She kept us off-balance and spun the ball well,” he said.
Therriault admitted to a feeling a little nervous herself.
“I knew two [runs] wasn’t enough,” she said.
“I said we had to hold them on the defensive side, and that’s what we did,” said Taylor Johnson, a junior first baseman and co-captain.