OAKLAND — The Messalonskee softball team got the test it was looking for Friday when it met once-beaten Bangor.

After opening the season with six straight shutouts, the Eagles found themselves trailing by a run entering the seventh inning. They responded with three doubles, the last from junior Sierra McLellan to pull out a dramatic 2-1 victory.

Bangor starter Sarah Bragg had limited the Eagles to three hits over the first six innings and faced the bottom of the Messalonskee order in the seventh. Hannah Duperry opened the inning with a shot to left center that fell for a double. After two quick outs, the burden to produce fell on the eight and nine hitters, Kelsey Dillon and McLellan.

Dillon drilled a shot to right that got over Madison Drake’s head after she took a step in. With the game tied at 1, McLellan shot the first pitch from Bragg down the right-field line to score Dillon with the game-winner.

“The first pitch when I saw it come off her hand I said, ‘That’s the one,'” McLellan said. “My form was good and (I hit it off) the sweet spot.”

Messalonskee’s Kirsten Pelletier remained at 7-0, striking out 14 while allowing four hits and no walks. But she found herself trailing 1-0 after Bangor (5-2) senior Emily Gilmore smashed a line drive well over the left-field fence to open the sixth inning.


“She went and got that pitch out front,” Pelletier said of Gilmore’s home run. “It was an inside pitch and she turned on it. She went yard. She’s an awesome player.”

The home run was the fourth of the season for Gilmore, who also made several strong plays in the field and will play for the University of Maine next year. She and Pelletier are good friends who have played together since they were 12 years old.

“In 12-year-old summer softball I gave up my first home run to her and that was the first one she ever hit,” Pelletier said.

Bragg only fanned two but they each came in the final two innings with runners in scoring position. She was just fast enough to prevent the Eagles from squaring up their bats against her.

“I just said to them if it didn’t hurt we wouldn’t be all in,” Bangor coach Don Stanhope said. “But as far as being disappointed I’m not at all. That’s a very good team. Pelletier’s one of the best pitchers in the state.”

Neither team had many scoring chances. The Rams had runners at first and third in the first inning but Pelletier struck out the next two batters to end the threat. Bangor’s Megan Connor singled and was bunted to second following Gilmore’s home run in the sixth, but again Pelletier dug deep and fanned the next two batters to stop the bleeding.

“This is a big win,” said Pelletier, who is headed to Bates College next year. “They’ve had a chip on their shoulder to get us from last season because we beat them in the Eastern Maine (final), so this means a lot.”

Messalonskee coach Leo Bouchard considered bunting Duperry to third after she opened the seventh with a double. Instead he showed some faith in the bottom of his batting order although it nearly backfired after a ground out and strikeout.

“We were always making contact, we were just hitting at somebody.” Bouchard said. “The Gilmore girl was awesome in the field today. She made some plays look easy. I was tempted (to bunt) but I’m glad I didn’t.”

Comments are no longer available on this story