BANGOR, Maine — One bad inning in a playoff game can end a season.
The Bangor High School softball team had a potentially disastrous inning in its Eastern Maine Class A quarterfinal against archrival Brewer on Thursday when the Witches parlayed three errors, three hits and a walk into five fourth-inning runs and a three-run lead.
But the Rams scored a pair of fifth-inning runs and five more in the sixth to post a 9-5 victory.
Third seed Bangor, 14-3 and winner of eight straight, will travel to take on second seed Skowhegan, 13-4, in Saturday’s 1 p.m. semifinal. Skowhegan has won seven of its last eight.
Bangor has scored 86 runs during its winning streak.
Brewer wound up 11-6 with three of the losses coming to Bangor.
“We’ve come back being down like that before. We were confident we could come back,” said Bangor junior shortstop Sydni Cosgrove, who had two singles and two RBIs.
“We just had to keep the faith and keep our composure,” said Ram junior first baseman Cordelia Stewart, who had a double and two singles and knocked in a run.
Stewart triggered the two-run fifth-inning rally with a ringing leadoff double to left center.
She moved to third on a wild pitch and scored on Cosgrove’s single to left. Emily Reilly reached on an infield error that enabled Cosgrove to reach third and, when Reilly got into a rundown between first and second, Cosgrove raced home.
“(Stewart’s) double really got things started,” said Cosgrove. “After she hit that, everybody had confidence they could hit, too.”
Cosgrove added that reducing the deficit to one run was important.
“It’s a lot easier to come back being down by one than it is when you’re down by three. We came in and swung the bats like we normally do,” she said.
It was the bottom of the order that ignited the decisive sixth-inning outburst.
Skylar Cassum, the No. 7 hitter, lined a single to right center and Kylie Cunningham singled to center.
“We knew they could start something. Everybody in our lineup can hit,” said Cosgrove.
Lili Wiseman hit into a fielder’s choice and .500 hitter Emily Gilmore was walked intentionally.
Pinch-hitter Alexis Hafford fell behind in the count 0-2 but hit a sharp grounder that skipped between the shortstop’s legs to deliver the tying and winning runs.
“I knew my team needed me and I needed to help them out. I had to get my bat on anything,” said Hafford, who was 6 for 12 entering the game.
Stewart singled home another run and Cosgrove’s infield groundout made it 8-5 before Emma Reilly capped the rally with an RBI single off the third baseman’s glove.
“They hit the ball really well and did a good job coming back,” said Brewer senior first baseman Kayla Williams.
Bangor took a 2-0 lead in the second on Cassum’s RBI groundout and Cunningham’s run-scoring single. Both runs were unearned due to a shortstop error.
But Brewer erupted in the fourth as two third baseman errors, a dropped throw by the catcher for another error, singles by Sam Pellegrino, Cassy Green (RBI) and Emily Tarr and a bases-loaded walk to Williams produced five runs.
Just one of the runs was earned.
Reilly came on in relief of Cassum at the outset of the sixth and hurled two innings of scoreless, hitless ball to pick up the win.
Besides Stewart’s three hits and Cosgrove’s two, Reilly and Cunningham also had two singles and an RBI each for Bangor.
Green had two singles and an RBI for Brewer and Delaney Davis doubled.