Victoria Andrews may hit ninth in the Bangor High School lineup but coach Don Stanhope has confidence in her.
With the Rams trailing Hampden Academy by a run in the fifth inning of Tuesday’s Class A preliminary game, he asked No. 8 batter Lydia Chase to lay down a sacrifice bunt with one out to put runners on second and third.
Andrews came through, ripping a two-run single to center field to lift eighth-seeded Bangor to a 5-3 victory over No. 9 Hampden Academy for the third time in four games this season.
Bangor (8-9) plays top seed Messalonskee of Oakland (14-2) in a Thursday quarterfinal in Oakland.
Hampden Academy wound up 7-10.
Rae Barron walked to open the fifth and Ashley Schultz was hit by a pitch before Chase laid down her bunt.
“I wasn’t nervous. I just wanted to make contact,” said Andrews, a senior who is in her first season on the varsity roster. “[HA pitcher Danielle Masterson] threw me a fastball down the middle and I got the barrel of the bat on it. It hit the sweet spot.”
“That was clutch,” said winning pitcher Lane Barron, who delivered an insurance run in the sixth with an infield hit off the third baseman’s glove.
Stanhope wasn’t surprised, saying Andrews has transformed herself from a great cage hitter to a good game hitter by getting stronger and more confident every day.
“She isn’t a typical nine hitter,” Hampden Academy coach Matt Madore said. “She hit well against us before.”
The Broncos snapped a 2-2 tie in the fifth when Cam Neal rifled a two-out double off the center field fence and scored when McKayla Poulin lined an opposite-field single into left-center.
The Rams had erased a 2-0 deficit with two runs in the fourth. Emmie Streams was hit by a pitch to open the inning and Taylor Coombs reached on an infield single off the lunging second baseman’s glove.
Streams scored on Jenna Smith’s groundout to second and Coombs crossed the plate on Lane Barron’s bunt as she trotted home on the throw to first.
The Broncos took a 1-0 lead in the third with an unearned run. Masterson drew a one-out walk and moved to second on a wild pitch.
Following a popup for the second out, Mercedes Dorr hit a grounder into the shortstop hole. Shortstop Jenna Smith ranged to her right and made a nice back-handed play, but her one-hop throw to first glanced off Lydia Chase’s glove and rolled into short right field which allowed Masterson to score.
The Broncos padded their lead in the fourth as pinch-hitter Sara Economy lined a single to center with two outs to start the rally. After Eliza Murphy walked, Masterson poked a single into short right that scored Brooklynn Fortin.
Bangor had only three hits in the game off Masterson and Charlee Chute, who was nicked for the run in the sixth.
Masterson allowed two hits over five innings with five strikeouts and three walks.
Barron allowed six hits in going the distance on the steamy afternoon. She struck out four and walked five.
“It was tough out there but I thought I pitched pretty well. They got some hits off me but they’re really good hitters. The defense made some plays,” Barron said.
Neal had a single to go with her double for HA.
“I was proud of my girls,” Madore said.
Catcher Allee Wellman threw out three Bangor runners on the basepaths.