BREWER, Maine — With two of the best pitchers in Class A softball on their “A” game — including one who hasn’t given up an earned run all season — runs were going to be at a premium in Brewer on Monday night.
Bangor wound up catching the offensive breaks, pushing across four sixth-inning runs on five hits while Sam Bedore pitched her third shutout in five games as the Rams triumphed over the defending state champions 4-0 at Coffin Field.
While Bedore had the Witches off balance by mixing pitches and changing speeds, the Rams were making solid contact against Brewer ace Melanie Judkins.
Problem was, they couldn’t find the gaps.
“A lot of kids up and down the order had some good contact swings and their outfielders made some great plays,” said Bangor coach Don Stanhope. “Had those been gaps, they would’ve been runs early.”
The Rams finally broke through in the sixth.
Bedore led off with a single to right and moved to second on a fielding error. Eliza Estabrook followed that up with a single, moving pinch runner Kendra Lenz to third.
Lenz was gunned down at the plate on a fielder’s choice off the bat of Jeri Cosgrove, and a single by Nicole Stairs loaded the bases.
After a strikeout, Kim Jordan lined a 1-0 fastball into center to score Estabrook and pinch runner Jade Baumrind, who had run for Cosgrove, and give Bedore all the run support she needed.
Jordan, who had struck out in her two previous plate appearances, finally got her breakthrough.
“Before, I didn’t get anything [to hit] and I was just up there to hit and make something happen,” she said.
Mariah Cassum followed Jordan’s hit with a two-run single to left that gave Bangor some insurance.
Not that Bedore, who struck out nine, walked none and threw 52 of her 80 pitches for strikes, needed it as she improved her record to 5-1.
“I definitely wanted to mix [my pitches up] because I knew Brewer was going to come to hit, so I needed to keep them off balance,” said Bedore.
Bedore certainly accomplished that, blending in affective breaking pitches with her fastball.
“I think everything Sam throws is affective, there were a lot of curveballs thrown in here that had them off balance,” said catcher Cosgrove.
Bedore fanned the side in the seventh to secure the win, including a strikeout of Emily Cox on a knee-buckling, 2-2 changeup.
“The plan was to change speeds. Sam kind of struggled with her changeup at first but stuck with it,” Stanhope said.
She didn’t panic when the Witches had runners on second and third with nobody out in the second, inducing a groundout back to the circle, a strikeout and grounder to third to escape with no damage.
“I try and stay calm and stay on my feet and not get too overanxious,” said Bedore, who retired 15 of the last 16 batters after that.
Brewer coach Skip Estes was happy with the way the Witches came out swinging against Bedore.
“She’s been striking out 13-14 kids a game so our kids came out swinging the bats. I thought we played well,” he said.
Bedore, Estabrook and Stairs had two hits apiece for Bangor while Katie McLaughlin and Emily Fraser singled for 3-2 Brewer.