LEWISTON — Lewiston almost dug itself out of an eight-run deficit, but the rally came up short.
Sixth-seeded Hampden Academy is moving on to the Class A North regional semifinals after upsetting the No. 3 Blue Devils 8-7 on Thursday at the Randall Road Ball Fields.
Lewiston coach Mike Childs was pleased with the way his girls fought back.
“They have nothing to hang their heads about,” Childs said. “They battled back from an 8-0 deficit and they lost with the tying run on base. I have nothing bad to say. I am proud of them and I wish Hampden the best of luck on their next game.”
The Broncos were confident coming into the game because they handed the Blue Devils one of their three regular-season losses, winning 3-1 on May 18.
“We were pretty confident, I wouldn’t say we were entirely confident,” Hampden’s starting pitcher Sydney Hatch said. “We knew they could be potentially a good-hitting team.”
Hampden coach Matthew Madore believes his team can ride the momentum.
“We were missing some players against Oxford Hills, and if Oxford Hills wins, we will see them with a full squad,” Madore said. “If Mt. Ararat beats Oxford Hills, we beat them 10-1. I look forward to that being a good game, too.”
Oxford Hills defeated Mt. Ararat on Thursday, so the Vikings will host the Broncos on Saturday in the regional semifinals.
The Blue Devils’ (13-4) rally started in the bottom of the sixth when Jordyn Rubin, who had Lewiston’s only hit to that point, led off the inning with an inside-the-park home run to center field for the team’s first run.
After a Gemma Landry single, Jordan Mynahan’s triple brought Landry home. Megan Theriault’ inside-the-park homer cut the deficit to 8-4 after six innings.
Madore took blame for the two home runs in the inning.
“I (called) an inside curve ball and (Rubin) had been timing the curve ball just right,” Madore said. “I probably should have called a different choice. I owned it on that one. I also owned the other one (from Theriault) to left field. I also called an inside curve on that. She got a hold of it pretty good.”
Theriault, who came into pitch in the top of the sixth, kept the Broncos at bay in the seventh, leaving a couple of runners on base.
The bottom of the seventh started with Skylar Gelinas reaching second base when the center fielder dropped the ball. Abby Chartier worked a walk, Gelinas scored on a Kallie May single, and Rubin’s single drove in Chartier. Landry’s sacrifice fly drove in May for the Blue Devils’ seventh run.
Childs had a feeling the offense could get going against Hatch.
“We knew we could hit her,” Childs said. “We had a tough game up (in Hampden). We knew (being at home) we could hit her. They had a couple of shots that were over our head. It’s the way (the game) goes, I guess.”
Mynahan came up to bat with Rubin on third base with two outs and sent the ball to left center, but left fielder Emily Pinkham caught the ball despite colliding with center fielder Erin Mitchell for the final out.
It wasn’t the first time Mitchell was involved in a collision. She also ran into Samantha Ouellette, the right fielder, but made the out earlier in the game.
“We have a strong outfield … they will throw their bodies out for the ball,” Madore said. “Most of my team will do that. My first baseman (Libby Hughes) made that diving catch right into the pitcher. They were both going for it and they are there for each other in the field, off the field.”
The Broncos (8-9) jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first when Hughes drove in two runs with a single to left. Lewiston starter Danielle Cyr got in trouble in the top of the third, which started with an error and three straight singles. Hughes and Ouellette had RBIs in the inning.
Ouellette scored in the top of the fifth on Mitchell’s deep blast to left field for a triple
Eliza Murphy and Grace Bennett started the sixth with back-to-back singles. They scored on Brooklyn Scott’s triple to center field to end Cyr’s afternoon in the circle. The Broncos scored twice more in the inning after Theriault had relieved Cyr.