Tuesday, March 11, 2014
By Gary Hawkins firstname.lastname@example.org
OAKLAND -- Messalonskee senior Courtney Veilleux didn't get down the bunt coach Leo Bouchard called for in the bottom of the ninth inning. She did him one better.
After fouling off two bunt attempts, Veilleux delivered a two-run single down the left-field line to give the Eagles a dramatic 6-5 come-from-behind victory.
"I really had to get the bat on the ball and put it in play and get the two runs we needed," said Veilleux, who batted ninth in the lineup.
Both teams came into game 3-0 with first place in Eastern Maine Class A hanging in the balance. Just as important at this stage of the season are local bragging rights.
"It's us and Skowhegan," Bouchard said. "A lot of these girls know each other. They've played together before, local rivals. I could not have predicted it would have gone extra innings, but I knew it would be a close game."
The Indians trailed most of the game but tied it at 4 in the top of the seventh inning on an RBI single from Shelby Obert and they took a 5-4 lead in the ninth on another Obert single. The Skowhegan senior had herself a day. Batting leadoff, she hit the second pitch of the game over the left-field fence. She singled in the second and tripled and scored in the fifth. Finishing the game 5-for-5, Obert drove in the tying and go-ahead runs after two were out with first base open.
"You can't have an intentional walk in softball, it's against the rules," Bouchard said. "But you can pitch outside and that's what we were trying to do."
The Indians took the lead in the ninth after Emma Fitzgerald singled with one hit and pinch runner Renee Wright was sacrificed to second. Obert ripped a hard ground ball through shortstop to score Wright. That run came against Jordan Roy who replaced starter Kassi Michaud in the eight after she aggravated an ankle injury.
"When they got that first hit off her (in the ninth) I said that's it," Bouchard said.
Roy opened the bottom of the ninth with a sharp line drive that glanced off Morgan Buker's glove in left and Nikki Collier followed with a base hit. Both moved up a base on Natalie Hunt's groundout, setting the stage for Veilleux. Bouchard, who had bunted a hitter with two strikes earlier in the game, decided to let Veilleux hit away because he thought Skowhegan starter Taylor Johnson was tiring.
"I noticed the previous players were pulling the ball," Bouchard said. "So I let Courtney loose."
Johnson allowed nine hits, walked two and struck out six. Michaud gave up seven hits -- Joy allowed four -- struck out three and didn't issue a walk. Obert was Skowhegan's only repeat hitter while Collier singled, doubled and scored two runs for Messalonskee.
"There were lot of questions what we were going to be this year," Skowhegan coach Lee Johnson said. "I think we've shown we can play with some good teams and we've just got to keep getting better."
Gary Hawkins -- 621-5638