BANGOR, Maine — A weird thing happened to the Bangor High School softball team on Tuesday.
The Rams appeared to be on their way to an impressive win over defending Eastern Maine Class A champion Messalonskee of Oakland, holding a 7-0 lead entering the sixth inning.
But the Eagles parlayed six singles, including two bunts, two Ram errors, a mental mistake and a hit batsman into seven sixth-inning runs and Nikki Collier delivered the game-winning run in the seventh by drawing a two-out, bases-loaded walk as Messalonskee triumphed 8-7.
“Our team didn’t even show up until the sixth inning,” said Messalonskee coach Leo Bouchard. “I always tell the girls that hitting is contagious and once it started, we got it going.
“We were very fortunate to get those seven runs. We ran the bases well, we didn’t make any mistakes and we put the ball in play instead of trying to crush it and it paid off,” said Bouchard whose Eagles improved to 3-0.
Bangor is now 2-1.
Collier grounded a sharp single to left to trigger the sixth-inning rally.
Despite the seven-run deficit, Bouchard had Bri Garland bunt and she reached on a bunt single. Aggressive base-running on the bunt caught the Rams napping and Messalonskee wound up with runners on second and third.
Kylie Knight put down a bunt that went for a single and scored Collier.
Bouchard explained that his unorthodox decision to bunt despite being down by seven resulted from watching his team “swinging too hard. The ball was in the strike zone a lot longer than the bat was so I figured we’d squeeze and bunt and it worked for us. Bangor didn’t field our bunts well and seemed confused on them.”
With runners on first and third, Emily York bounced back to pitcher Alexis Stanhope and reached when Stanhope elected to throw to the plate.
Garland never left third so the Eagles wound up with the bases loaded.
Courtney Veilleux and Nicole Harrison followed with RBI singles before Stanhope registered a strikeout.
Jordan Roy then reached on an infield error and after a fly-ball out, Collier reached on an outfield error. Garland followed with a single and Knight was hit by a pitch to force in the tying run.
“Things just snowballed that inning and we couldn’t come back from it,” said Bangor’s June Candland.
“The kids had played really well but, that one inning, we got into quicksand,” said Bangor coach Don Stanhope. “We had some mistakes from some tight kids who were involved in their first experience in this kind of situation.”
“We just kept putting the ball in play and kept pushing,” said Knight. “We didn’t get down at all. Everyone got on base and everyone got rowdy (on the bench).”
Cordelia Stewart came on to pitch the seventh for Bangor and got the first two outs.
But Phoebe Pelletier walked, Roy reached on an infield throwing error and Natalie Hunt reached on an infield single before Collier walked on a 3-2 pitch.
Bangor took a 7-0 lead with four first-inning runs, one in the second and two in the fourth.
Carly Cosgrove’s RBI single and pinch-hitter Emily Reilly’s two-run double highlighted the first inning rally; singles by Stanhope, Candland and Kristen Hennigan and a throwing error produced the second-inning run and Hennigan’s double, Cosgrove’s single, a throwing error and Annie Guare’s RBI bunt single delivered the runs in the fourth.
Garland and Pelletier had two singles each for Messalonskee and Roy picked up the win in relief with two perfect innings, striking out two.
Cosgrove had three singles for Bangor and Hennigan doubled and singled.