BREWER, Maine — After losing in the last two Eastern Maine Class C softball finals to Bucksport, the Calais Blue Devils got a measure of revenge as junior righthander Olivia Smith fired a two-hitter with 15 strikeouts and senior right fielder Kate Cundiff drove in three runs with a triple and a double as Calais beat Bucksport 4-2 at Coffin Field Tuesday night.
Calais is now 19-0 and will take on Madison in Saturday’s 12:30 p.m. game at St. Joseph’s College in Standish. Defending two-time state champ Bucksport finished up at 15-4.
Smith overpowered the Buck hitters with a live fastball and a moving screwball. The Buck hitters helped her by swinging at several pitches that were high and out of the strike zone. She walked five, hit a batter and threw 77 strikes among her 128 pitches.
She took a one-hit shutout into the seventh but a two-out infield error and a hit batsman triggered a two-run rally. A bunt single by Eliza Hosford loaded the bases and Smith issued a pair of run-producing walks before striking out the final hitter.
“I spotted my fastball and my screwball,” said Smith. “I just tried to work my pitches everywhere and when I got them swinging at bad pitches, it was a bonus. I thought I pitched very well and my defense did an amazing job.”
“We weren’t ready for her spins. She had a good rise ball. She’s probably the best pitcher we’ve faced,” said Bucksport senior third baseman Deb Wight who added that they may not have expected her to have improved as much as she has over previous years.
“Her rise ball worked very well,” said Bucksport senior center fielder Bri Bires. “It was hard because we haven’t seen many pitchers who have something other than a fastball.”
“I don’t have a rise ball, I wish I did. But I tried to throw my screwball high and the way I release it, it rises,” said Smith who added that they wanted “revenge” after seeing the Bucks end their seasons the last two years.
“This is what we were hoping for. We really wanted to play them,” Cundiff added.
Calais took a 1-0 lead in the third when Jordan Hatch lined a single to right, moved to second on a sacrifice and scored on a pitcher’s throwing error on a Rachel Candelmo bunt.
Calais added another in the fourth when Smith grounded an opposite field single off the gloved of the diving second baseman and scored on Cundiff’s booming double over the right fielder’s head.
The Blue Devils scored two more in the sixth when Smith rifled a double to left center, Paige Gillespie walked and Cundiff ripped a long two-run triple to left center, her first triple of the season.
“Coach [Greg Smith] told me to wait for my pitch. I waited for one high in the strike zone because that’s when I can level off [my swing] and hit a good one,” said Cundiff.
“I’m a senior and it feels really good to get two big hits and be a big factor in the game. It felt awesome,” said Cundiff.
“She’s been doing it for us all season,” said Greg Smith.
The Blue Devils also made some defensive gems behind Olivia Smith.
In the sixth, with a runner on first and two outs, Wight hit a pop-up behind shortstop Kaylee Johnson that Johnson snared after twisting her body and reaching as far as she could. In the fourth, right fielder Cundiff threw out Kim Nason at first after she hit a one-hop liner to her.
“I didn’t think I could get it. I turned at the end and hoped it would go in my glove,” said Johnson.
Cundiff and Smith had two hits each for the winners.
Nason poked a pop fly single into right in the second but Smith pitched out of a second-and-third, one-out jam with two strikeouts. Hosford’s bunt single in the seventh was the only other hit.
Sami Goode pitched well in defeat, allowing six hits with five strikeouts and one walk.