BANGOR, Maine – Struggling to string together hits against Brewer righthander Amanda Ryan, the Bangor softball team turned to a small, speedy, lefthanded sophomore Wednesday afternoon.
Jade Baumrind did her best Jacoby Ellsbury impression, laying down a perfect bunt single and advancing all the way to third on a throwing error, and she followed that with a steal of home as the Rams opened the season with a 2-1 victory over the Witches.
The game started under bright blue skies, but was delayed in the bottom of the sixth for 53 minutes due to rain and lightning.
With Bangor trailing 1-0 with one out in the third, Jeri Cosgrove legged out an infield hit before being lifted for courtesy runner Annie Guare, who scored the tying run after Baumrind’s bunt down the third-base line was thrown into right field.
After a Kim Jordan walk, Mariah Cassum worked a 3-2 count and Baumrind then broke for the plate just after Brewer catcher Jordan Nickerson threw the ball back to the circle. Baumrind scored without a throw.
“Coach gave me the sign, I just did what I had to do,” said Baumrind, an outfielder.
“She worked that play for six straight pitches and Mariah Cassum kept fouling them off until [Baumrind] had the green light,” Bangor coach Don Stanhope said.
That marked the end of the scoring, as Rams’ righthander Sam Bedore fought her way out of a couple of jams to keep the Witches at bay.
Bedore, who scattered two hits and recorded 12 strikeouts, walked the bases loaded in the fifth before fanning Amy Curry to end that threat.
The Rams’ senior issued another free pass to Amy Adams open the seventh, but Jordan snared a Sarah Babin liner to third and doubled Adams off first, and a pop-up to short ended the game.
“First game with Brewer, senior year, you’re going to be a little nervous, a little excited,” Stanhope said. “They were supposed to be here at 11, they were here at 10, and I think they were a little emotional today.”
Bedore issued six walks.
Even though the Witches have six new starters this season, Stanhope expected a tight battle.
“Amanda Ryan is a heck of a pitcher, she hits her spots very well, keeps the hitters off-balance,” he said. “We hit balls hard right at them.”
Brewer gave Ryan a 1-0 third-inning lead on a run-scoring single by Morgan Haradon, and Witches’ coach Skip Estes was pleased with his team’s patience against Bedore.
“I was really pleased with my hitters, we were very patient today,” he said. “There’s been a lot of hype about Bangor and Skowhegan. I thought they did well.”
The Witches also played well defensively, making just the one error, but it proved to be untimely.
“We made some mistakes today that kind of cost us the game,” Estes said. “We made a few mental mistakes which cost us.”
Bangor’s other hits came on Cassum’s single and a double by Bedore.
Adams singled and scored Brewer’s run.