Bucksport’s Madysen Robichaud hits a double during the first inning of a high school softball game against Mount Desert Island on May 23 at Bucksport High School. Robichaud’s first-inning double proved to be all the Golden Bucks needed in a 2-1 victory over MDI. RICK MCHALE PHOTO

Bucksport softball edges MDI to stay unbeaten

BUCKSPORT — Madysen Robichaud saw the perfect pitch, and it was all her team needed.

In the first inning of a scoreless game between Bucksport and Mount Desert Island on Tuesday, Robichaud was down in the count. MDI pitcher Lindsey McEachern was on top of her game and appeared headed for one of her many strikeouts.

“Stay with her,” Robichaud’s teammate, Maggie Bires, yelled to her from the dug out. “You’ve got this, [No.] 9.”

Robichaud answered the call. On the next pitch, she smacked a double that fell just short of the wall in left field to knock in the games first run. Moments later, she scored to give the team a 2-0 run lead.

In a different game, a 2-0 first-inning lead might not have meant much. Yet on a day when pitchers on both teams seemed unhittable, it proved too much for MDI to overcome.

“It looked like it was in my zone right away, and I ripped it,” Robichaud said. “All it takes is one pitch, and you have to be watching for that pitch all the time.”

Robichaud’s first-inning double and run scored and Kate Saunders’ complete game were enough give Bucksport a 2-1 victory over MDI on Tuesday. It was the 12th win in a row for the Golden Bucks, who are still undefeated on the season.

“This was a tougher one, but I’ll definitely take it,” Bucksport head coach Mike Carrier said. “We didn’t do as well at the plate as we could have after the first inning, but those two runs and our pitching and our fielding carried us.”

After Robichaud gave the team the lead, Bucksport seemed headed for a much stronger offensive output than the team’s previous game against MDI — also a 2-1 victory. The Golden Bucks had averaged over 10 runs per game since that April 21 contest, and they were ready to put their offensive prowess on display.

Bucksport’s Kate Saunders throws a pitch during the second inning of a high school softball game against MDI on May 23 in Bucksport. Saunders struck out 10 batters in the Golden Bucks’ 2-1 win. ELLSWORTH AMERICAN PHOTO BY MIKE MANDELL

McEachern, though, had other plans. After going down 2-0, the sophomore pitcher held Bucksport (12-0) hitless in the second, third and fourth innings as she struck out six batters over that stretch.

Hannah Chamberlain gave MDI (4-7) hope when she hit an RBI double to right-center field to cut the Golden Bucks’ lead in half in the top of the fifth. Bucksport hit two bunt singles to put runners on first and second with nobody out but was unable to capitalize with another run.

In the top of the sixth inning, MDI’s Maddie Neale doubled with two outs and stole third base to put the tying run 60 feet away. Saunders responded by forcing a groundout to end the inning and retired the side in the seventh to seal the victory.

Saunders finished with 10 strikeouts and one unearned run for Bucksport. On the other end, McEachern, who had 12 strikeouts for MDI, proved to be a foe unlike any other the Golden Bucks have seen this season in the process.

“She throws a lot of junk balls, and she pitches faster than almost any other pitcher we’ve faced,” Robichaud said. “She might be a sophomore, but you can tell when she pitches that she’s got what it takes to make it really hard on you.”

Carrier said his team’s defense was a factor in the win. Despite having starters Darian Jellison and Kylee Atwood missing, Bucksport didn’t commit a single error in the field.

“I had to move them around a lot, and that can be hard for a team sometimes,” Carrier said. “With these girls, they step up when they have to. They’re ready to play anywhere.”

Bucksport’s next game is at home against Orono (10-3) at 3:30 p.m. Thursday, May 25. If the Golden Bucks win that game, they can finish an unbeaten regular season with wins against Dexter (5-7), George Stevens Academy (0-12) and Sumner (3-9). Bucksport has defeated each of those teams in previous matchups this season and has outscored them 44-3 over those four games.

“We’re getting down to crunch time, and we need to be on our toes,” Carrier said. “Whether it’s 2-1 or 10-1, we need to be able to win any game in any situation. Tonight showed we’re able to do that.”

MDI baseball wins 12-3

The MDI baseball team (6-5) brought its record above .500 for the first time since the first day of the season by beating Bucksport (7-5) 12-3. The game snapped a five-game winning streak for the Golden Bucks.

Seth Clark pitched five no-hit innings for MDI and had 11 strikeouts, and Stanley Grierson, Jacob Mitchell, Mac Shea and Nick Stanley had two hits each. MDI had five stolen bases as a team. Chase Carmichael, Tanner Stegner and Christian Chase-Hurd had base hits for Bucksport.

MDI’s next baseball and softball games will be on the road against Hermon at 4:30 p.m. Thursday. The Trojans will then play home doubleheaders against Caribou beginning at noon Saturday, May 27.

Mike Mandell

Mike Mandell

Mike Mandell is the sports editor at The Ellsworth American and Mount Desert Islander. He began working for The American in August 2016. You can reach him via email at [email protected]

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