SKOWHEGAN — With the outcome largely settled, the only drama left in a Class A North quarterfinal Thursday between Bangor and Skowhegan was if Indians ace Ashley Alward would toss a no-hitter.

That question was answered with one out in the sixth inning when Alward surrendered her first and only hit of the game, a single up the middle from Bangor freshman Jenna Smith.

Alward did go on to record the shutout as the unbeaten and top-seeded Indians coasted to a 10-0 victory. Skowhegan (17-0) will host Edward Little in a semifinal game Saturday while No. 8 Bangor finishes its season at 7-10.

Skowhegan’s Alyssa Everett crosses home plate during a Class A North quarterfinal game against Bangor on Thursday in Skowhegan. Staff photo by David Leaming

Alward, who struck out 12 and walked two, was aware of her no-hit bid.

“Yes, I was kind of upset,” she said. “I felt pretty good going into the game, I felt pretty confident. The strike zone was a little tricky for me to get at first but when I found it, it was a lot better.”

Bangor didn’t face Alward in the regular season meeting, a 4-1 Skowhegan win, but coach Don Stanhope was well aware of what his Rams were up against.

“We tried to make it more about us than about her,” he said. “We thought we could get out there early in the count but she’s the player of the year in the conference for a reason. She works hard and she pitched very well.”

Hitting, or lack of it, has been a minor problem for the Indians this season. They went down in order over the first two innings against Bangor lefty Lexi Cunningham, but they got to her for four runs in the third.

“It’s contagious,” said Skowhegan junior Sydney Reed. “We’re working really hard on stringing together hits for our team. Sometimes like today we went a couple of innings when we didn’t have much, then we go off.”

Julia Steeves opened Skowhegan’s third with a double down the left-field line, Mariah Dunbar followed with a base hit, then Alyssa Everett laid down a bunt that was misplayed, scoring Steeves. Sydney Ames singled sharply into center to score two runs and the final run scored on Alward’s groundout.

Skowhegan pitcher Ashley Alward throws against Bangor during a Class A North quarterfinal game Thursday in Skowhegan. Staff photo by David Leaming

“I thought we hit the ball pretty good,” Skowhegan coach Lee Johnson said. “I thought we could have done a little bit more but they do a nice job of locating their pitches well, especially early in the game.”

Stanhope brought in catcher Morgan Carter-Moulton to pitch the fourth which hurt the Rams defensively as he juggled four positions. Reed, Wiley Bedard and Dunbar had hits in the inning as the Indians scored four runs to take an 8-0 lead.

The Rams began to time Alward’s pitches more toward the end of the game. Pallas Hamer-Nagle led the sixth inning with a sharp line drive that Dunbar speared at first base, then Smith followed with her team’s first hit. Alward settled down to get the next two hitters on strikes to end the threat.

“I tried to mix in everything today,” she said. “Lots of fastballs, some dropballs.”

The Indians added two runs in the sixth on an infield hit from Steeves, a walk, two stolen bases and a Bangor error. They return their lineup intact from the one that a year ago lost to Scarborough in the state final. Their biggest challenge is not getting ahead of themselves.

“The coaches (keep us grounded) especially,” Reed said. “Everyone on the team plays a big part in keeping everyone going. It varies. Sometimes it’s Lin (Warren), sometimes it’s Julia (Steeves). It can be anybody.”

Augusta and Waterville news

Get news and events from your towns in your inbox every Friday.


  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.