BREWER, Maine — The Limestone Community School/Maine School of Science and Mathematics learned a valuable lesson in last year’s loss to Penobscot Valley of Howland in the Eastern Maine Class D softball final.
And they showed it Wednesday night as the Eagles pounded out 13 hits and rode the right arm of senior Melissa Cantafio to a 9-2 victory over Deer Isle-Stonington at Coffin Field.
“We were uptight last year, but we were more relaxed tonight and definitely more confident,” said Cantafio, who tossed a three-hitter with 11 strikeouts and one walk. She also hit three batters.
“I felt great tonight. I was mostly using my riseball and fastball,” Cantafio said.
“She has been building to this in the playoffs, and this was her crowning moment,” said Limestone sophomore first baseman Madeline Williams, who had two doubles, a single and a sacrifice fly to help pace the attack.
“She was the best pitcher we’ve faced all year,” Mariner senior pitcher Abby Knowlton said. “She was the hardest thrower. And they could really hit the ball.”
“We had a good hitting night,” Limestone sophomore second baseman Jackie Peers said.
The Eagles (18-0) will take on Western Maine champ Richmond (16-0) in the Class D state final at 11 a.m. Saturday at Coffin Field. This was Limestone’s first Eastern Maine softball title since 1990, when the Eagles won the Eastern Maine Class C crown.
The Eagles erupted for five runs in the second inning to take a foothold in the game.
Williams started the rally with a long leadoff double to left, and she moved to third on Kassee Albert’s sinking line-drive single to left. The throw from the left fielder went to third, so Albert scooted into second.
Peers delivered both runners by hitting a sharp opposite-field ground ball single just inside the first base bag.
“It was an outside pitch, and I went with it,” Peers said. “I was just hoping it would stay fair.”
Peers stole second, went to third on Jordyn Hopkins’ bunt single and scored on Annie Sinclair’s sacrifice fly. Hopkins was thrown out when trying to go to third on the play.
Ellyzabeth Bencivenga extended the inning when her wind-aided pop fly fell harmlessly in the middle of the infield for a base hit.
She stole second and scored when Chelsey Pelkey roped a triple to deep right field and Pelkey scored on Kelsee Albert’s sharp ground-ball single.
The Eagles added two more in the fourth and fifth innings to build the lead to 9-0.
In the fourth, Bencivenga singled, went to second on a passed ball and stole third before Pelkey singled her home. Pelkey stole second, alertly tagged up and went to third on a fly out and scored on Williams’ sacrifice fly.
In the fifth, a two-out infield error and a walk set the stage for Pelkey’s RBI single and the last run scored on a passed ball.
The aggressive Eagles stole 10 bases.
Cantafio had a no-hitter until Logan Eaton singled sharply to right center with one out in the sixth.
Whitney Brown walked to open the inning and she scored following Eaton’s hit on Allyson Eaton’s groundout.
Morgan Shepard belted a long double to center to score Logan Eaton.
Limestone scored 265 runs entering the game and were paced by Williams and Pelkey, who each had three hits. Williams had two doubles, and Pelkey had a triple.
“I’ve had a hard time hitting lately, but I came out of it tonight,” said Williams, who also praised Mariner pitcher Knowlton.
“It may not have turned out the way she wanted but she persevered and she was a good pitcher,” Williams said.
Bencivenga had two hits for the Eagles. Everyone in the lineup had at least one hit, except Sinclair, who contributed a sacrifice fly.