HERMON, Maine — Two big hits in the first inning propelled Hermon High School to a 13-1, six-inning softball victory over Caribou in an Eastern Maine Class B preliminary round game Tuesday at the Hermon High softball field.
Fourth-seeded Hermon (16-1) will play the winner of Tuesday’s game between No. 12 Belfast and No. 5 Nokomis of Newport in Thursday’s quarterfinals.
Sydney Addessi’s two-run triple and Gabby Bryant’s two-run double highlighted a seven-run first inning by the Hawks.
“That was a point of emphasis for us [before the game],” said Hawks coach Stephanie Biberstein. “We wanted to get the lead early and take off from there.”
Addessi, a freshman, said she was nervous in her first at-bat, but she might have had a hard time convincing the No. 13 Vikings (10-7).
Addessi drilled the first pitch into right-center field. It took one bounce before hitting the fence, easily scoring Shannon Graves and Allessa Oakes from third and second, respectively.
“It felt really good [to get the hit],” said Addessi. “It made the nerves go away.”
Those were the only two hits of the inning, but Hermon combined them with two walks, two errors and a couple of mental mistakes to put Caribou in the hole quickly.
Addessi scored on a bunt fielder’s choice by Kylie Kennedy. Pitcher Amber Bonewicz tried to throw Addessi out at the plate but the throw was off the mark.
Shaniah Haskell walked, moving Kennedy to second. They both scored on Bryant’s double and Bryant took third when the throw to get Bryant got away from the catcher.
“That was a worst-case scenario for us,” said Caribou coach Ryan Deprey.
His hope was that Caribou would hold the Hawks for at least a couple of innings and gain some confidence.
“When they scored seven runs, I knew it would be tough,” said Deprey.
Hermon couldn’t add to its lead for a while, though, as the two teams settled down defensively for the next three innings.
“Innings two through five were the way we’ve played all season,” said Deprey.
The only score came from the Vikings in the fourth on Nicole McHattie’s RBI double.
“We weren’t as patient as we should be,” said Biberstein. “We were too aggressive [at the plate] for a few innings.”
“Everybody was a lot more comfortable,” said Addessi. “We might have been too comfortable.”
Hermon got back on track in the fifth, taking advantage of four walks, a fielder’s choice, a wild pitch and an error to score four runs to grab an 11-1 lead.
The big hit in the inning was the foul ball Addessi took off her right forearm as a baserunner.
Addessi started down the line after Bonewicz delivered a pitch, but Bryant rocketed a liner. Addessi, standing in foul territory, took the shot full on and dropped to the ground as the crowd gasped.
“It just hit me. I didn’t have time to react,” she said.
After taking a couple of minutes to make sure Addessi was OK, Biberstein tried to pull her from the game, but Addessi refused.
“I was hurt, but I didn’t want to be taken out. I wanted to just get home and finish the inning,” said Addessi, which she did.
Addessi scored on a fielder’s choice back to the pitcher, Kennedy scored on a walk, Haskell scored on a wild pitch and Bryant scored on an error.
The Hawks finished the game with the mercy rule by scoring twice in the sixth on Oakes’ RBI triple and Regan Graffam’s game-ending RBI single.
Bryant also added a single and an RBI fielder’s choice.
Karli Theberge started for the Hawks. She walked two and allowed four hits in 4 1/3 innings. Biberstein brought in Oakes for a change of pace, and she struck out three, walked none and allowed no hits in 1 2/3 innings.
McHattie also had a single to account for half of the Vikings’ hits. Bonewicz took the loss, striking out one, walking seven and giving up five hits.
“We were trying to be a team we weren’t,” said Deprey, talking about his team trying to get tags at the plate on fielder’s choices and making long throws from the outfield to the plate.
“Hermon will force you to do that,” said Deprey. “It was the coach. She had them ready.
“It was nice to pull off this win,” said Biberstein.