It was an error-filled game that more resembled a season opener than a regional final.
But senior Libby Hewes hit a three-run homer and pitched a complete game Tuesday night as Brewer High School took advantage of six Hermon High School miscues to defend its Class B North championship with a 12-4 victory at Coffin Field in Brewer.
The top-seeded Witches (17-2) seek their second straight state championship when they take on Class B South winner York (16-3) in Saturday’s 12:30 p.m. state final at Saint Joseph’s College in Standish.
Third seed Hermon concluded a 16-4 campaign under first-year head coach Jody Theberge.
“We didn’t necessarily have one of our best defensive games overall but we got the win,” Hewes said. “It definitely wasn’t my best game in the circle but I told myself I was mentally tough enough to get through it and my defense was good enough to get out of any situation.”
Hewes gave up 11 hits but just two of the runs off her were earned as her normally sure-handed teammates committed four errors behind her. But she pitched out of several jams, stranding 13 baserunners.
Hewes struck out five, walked three and threw 114 pitches, 74 for strikes.
“It wasn’t well-played by either team,” said Hermon coach Theberge. “Unfortunately for us, we couldn’t afford to make mistakes and beat a team that good. And we did.
Hewes’ three-run homer in the second inning, her second of the season, extended Brewer’s lead to 5-1. She jettisoned Bre Oakes’ 2-1 pitch over the left-field fence after Sarah Wood singled and Janessa Bishop walked.
“I was looking for anything to get on base and, luckily, it went over the fence,” Hewes said. “It was a low pitch but I stepped into it, it hit the sweet spot on my bat and it was gone.”
The scrappy Hawks battled back with a run in the third and two in the fourth to pull within 5-4.
Charlotte Caron doubled home a third-inning run and Rachael Balmas drilled a two-run single into right center in the fourth.
“We had a tough time getting clutch hits,” Theberge said. “We knew coming in we had to play a near perfect game defensively and we didn’t do that. It wasn’t caused by a lack of effort. We battled to the last out. But sometimes you’re the windshield and sometimes you’re the bug.”
The Witches broke the game open in the fifth with five unearned runs thanks in part to two errors and a passed ball. Brewer hit just one ball out of the infield.
A walk and two throwing errors allowed the first run to score, a passed ball allowed another to cross the plate and a late flip home on a bunt by Mia Cattan produced the third run. Jordan Goodrich capped the rally with a crisp, two-run single to center.
“It was a pitch down the middle and I just tried to hit it up the middle,” Goodrich said.
Brewer bunted three times in the inning. Coach Skip Estes said during their 9-0 regular season win over Hermon, he noticed the Hawks struggled fielding bunts.
“Oakes is a very good pitcher so if we weren’t getting a lot of base hits, we were going to play small ball and that’s what we did,” Estes said.
Brewer added two insurance runs in the sixth on Kathryn Austin’s RBI double and another Hawk error.
The Witches managed seven hits off Oakes.
“[Their errors] helped us out a lot,” Brewer junior shortstop Kenzie Dore said. “We didn’t have a lot of big hits but their errors opened the door for us and it came out in our favor.”
Dore was Brewer’s only repeat hitter with a double and a single.
Freshman Ahrya Jelks stroked three singles for the Hawks. Oakes, Faith Coombs and Balmas hit two singles apiece.
“Nobody expected us to make it this far. I’m proud of our team,” Oakes said. “This field being hard as it was made a difference. Our field is extremely soft right now. But there’s no excuses. We made errors. It happens.”