STANDISH, Maine — Richmond High School’s senior class has enjoyed considerable athletic success during the last four years.
On Saturday afternoon, the Bobcats ended that run with another state championship.
Senior right-hander Jamie Plummer fired a four-hitter and made two first-inning runs stand up as Richmond earned a 3-0 victory over Penobscot Valley of Howland in the Class D softball state championship game at Bailey Field on the campus of Saint Joseph’s College.
Coach Rick Coughlin’s Bobcats capped a perfect season at 17-0 and earned the gold glove with their second state title in four years, which also included four consecutive Western Maine championships.
“There are nine seniors on the team,” said senior Noell Acord, who had two of Richmond’s four singles. “Most of us have played all three sports together.”
The Bobcats also earned three consecutive Class D soccer crowns from 2010-2013.
They were anxious to get another crack at Penobscot Valley (18-2), which beat Richmond in last year’s softball title game.
“I think it was in the back of our mind to beat them this time because we lost last time,” said Plummer, who was in control from the outset for the Bobcats.
She threw 87 pitches, 72 for strikes and finished with 12 strikeouts and no walks. Plummer also worked her way out of trouble, stranding runners in scoring position in four different innings.
“Her pitching was right on and, I don’t know, we just couldn’t get around on it today,” said senior Brittany Heald, who tripled for the Howlers. “We just weren’t feeling it. They played well, though.”
Penobscot Valley, which had averaged 12.5 runs per game this season, couldn’t muster even one against Plummer.
“That’s the first time in 31 games we’ve been shut out,” Coyle offered. “We usually overpower everybody. We had our chances, we just didn’t get timely hits. I’ll give them credit.”
Richmond cashed in on some early scoring chances against Penobscot Valley ace Kayla Dube. The senior righty, struggling with a sore left knee, struck out 10 but walked seven.
Dube worked around most of the trouble, stranding nine Richmond baserunners in six innings. Payton Johnson and Plummer each added a single for the Bobcats.
“We had anticipated hitting more than we did today,” Acord said. “She’s a good pitcher. What are you going to do?”
Meghan Howey, Adrianna McKinnon and Brittany Moon posted a single each for PVHS, including two infield hits.
Richmond scored twice in the bottom of the first.
“Any time you can score against them quick, it puts the pressure on them,” Coughlin said.
Acord ignited the rally, bunting her way on after falling behind in the count 0-2.
“Rick [Coughlin] didn’t tell me to do that. I just decided to go for it because I knew the pitcher couldn’t get off the mound and I’m quick, so I could beat it out,” Acord said.
She raced to third when Johnson’s sacrifice bunt was misplayed for a fielding error and Johnson stole on the next pitch.
The first run scored on a passed ball, then the second run crossed the plate on an errant throw from the catcher back to the pitcher. Dube then walked the bases loaded, but worked out of further trouble.
“We came here with higher expectations and kind of got them let down right there in the first inning,” Heald said. “They played a good game, so they deserve it.”
The Bobcats added an insurance tally in the sixth after two were out. Acord walked and Johnson stroked a hard single to center. They worked a double steal on the next pitch, then Acord scored on wild pitch.
The Howlers threatened in the fourth when Howey singled to left-center and Shaelyn Jones reached on a fielding error. However, Plummer retired the next three batters.
Heald led off the fifth with a hustling ,fly-ball triple to center field, but Plummer buckled down and got the next three batters, the last two on strikeouts.
PVHS left a runner at third in the sixth and stranded two in the seventh after two were out.
“Coming into these last two games, we worked the corners more than we had in the past,” Plummer said. “We just wanted to throw strikes and throw hard.”