BANGOR, Maine — Brewer High School junior righthander Alexa Grindle allowed six runs and seven hits in the first three innings of her first game against archrival Bangor back on April 30. Bangor won 6-1.
But Grindle blanked the Rams over the next three innings; shut them out in their next regular season showdown 7-0 and hurled 6⅔ innings of five-hit shutout softball in their Eastern Maine Class A semifinal on Saturday as the No. 7 Witches ousted the No. 3 Rams 7-1.
Brewer, now 12-6 and winner of 10 of its last 12, will face top-seeded Cony of Augusta, 18-0, in Tuesday’s EM Class A final in Augusta at 7 p.m.
Grindle struck out five and didn’t walk anyone while throwing 92 pitches, 66 for strikes. She went to just one three-ball count and induced 10 ground-ball outs.
She retired 14 of the last 16 hitters she faced.
Bangor had just one inning in which it put more than one base-runner on base: the second.
Her mates backed her up with an impressive defensive display, making just one error.
“My drop ball was working again. My fastball inside seemed to work and I actually struck a couple of people out with my changeup today. That was working, too,” said Grindle, who improved to 7-5.
“She’s definitely a good pitcher. We just couldn’t find the gaps today,” said Bangor senior shortstop Jo Jo Colpritt. “We hit it right to them.”
Bangor coach Don Stanhope said Grindle threw strikes and “we just didn’t get the right hit at the right time.
“[Grindle] did what she was supposed to do. She let her defense back her up and they did,” Stanhope added.
“She’s not a fireball pitcher but she really places her pitches where I want her to place them. She really knows how to pitch,” said Brewer coach Skip Estes.
The Rams finally scored a run off Grindle in the seventh when Anna Morris’ groundout plated Jade Baumrind, who had singled, stolen second and moved to third on a catcher’s throw to first on a dropped third strike.
Grindle was backed by a 13-hit attack with the bottom four hitters in the lineup (Morgan Small, Cassie Harvey, Carly Seymour and Maddy Bailey) going 7-for-14 with four runs batted in. Each one knocked in a run.
“The bottom half of the order had a great day today,” said Brewer junior shortstop Lindsay Houp. “We didn’t have to depend on just one person and that’s really good.”
“They’re definitely a good contact-hitting team,” said Bangor starting pitcher Alexis Stanhope.
The Witches proved to be clutch as four of their first five runs came on two-out hits.
Brewer took the lead for good with a second-inning run on Grindle’s one-out single, a fielder’s choice, Harvey’s sharp single off third baseman Kamdra Prendergast’s glove and Seymour’s RBI fly-ball single that hit the chalk on the left-field foul line.
“I haven’t been hitting well. I’ve just kept trying to make contact,” said Seymour.
Brewer broke the game open with four runs in the fourth.
Small started the rally with one out with a sinking line-drive single to right and Harvey hit a pop fly into center that went for a single when three fielders converged on it and it hit off an outfielder’s leg.
Seymour grounded a sharp single to left to load the bases and Bailey delivered Small with a groundout.
Houp followed by flaring a two-run single into short left center field and she raced around to third on an outfield throwing error.
“It was just a little blooper,” said Houp.
“They had five or six hits today that were just over the infield and just in front of the outfielders,” said Don Stanhope.
Kelly Hatt delivered her with a crisp single to center.
Freshman Emily Reilly replaced sophomore Alexis Stanhope in the circle at the outset of the fifth and the Witches tacked on two more runs on Small’s long RBI double to center and Harvey’s run-scoring single to center.
Harvey and Hatt each had three hits for Brewer. Small doubled and singled and Seymour singled twice.
Baumrind and Stanhope had two singles each for Bangor, which concluded a 12-6 season.