Casey Carter was in a stressful situation on Wednesday afternoon.
In her first year at Bangor High School after transferring from Ellsworth, the junior found herself pitching Bangor’s softball home opener against Edward Little High School of Auburn.
She hadn’t pitched since middle school.
And if the pressure attached to playing your first game for your new team and doing something you are unaccustomed to weren’t enough, she had to deal with a blustery northwest breeze and cool temperatures.
But Carter came through with an eight-inning complete game six-hitter with nine strikeouts and eight walks as Bangor rallied for a 4-3 victory. She threw 157 pitches, of which 80 were strikes.
One of the runs was unearned. All six hits were singles.
Carter, who was Class B Ellsworth High School’s starting shortstop, will fill the same role for Class A Bangor. But Bangor’s senior ace Lane Barron wasn’t available because she was attending a national science fair in New Mexico.
“I knew she had skills. She played summer ball with my girls although she didn’t pitch,” said first-year Bangor coach Maureen Barron, mother of Lane and her twin sister Rae, the Bangor first baseman.
“They knew I had [pitching] experience from the past. Coach asked me if I could throw a little bit when they needed me,” Carter said.
She attended the pitchers-catchers sessions and got the call on Wednesday.
“I was very nervous,” admitted Carter. “I’m not very experienced as a pitcher.”
She had a shaky third inning in which she gave up two runs. She walked three and hesitated on a ground ball hit back to her and threw late to second to try to get a force out.
But she shut out the Red Eddies after that until the eighth, when they pushed across an unearned run.
Carter said she was “pretty happy” with her performance.
“This feels awesome. I just trusted my defense. I have really good defense behind me and they did their jobs,” said Carter, whose most effective pitch was her change-up.
“That has always been my favorite pitch,” said Carter, whose teammates made a number of nice defensive plays, as did the Red Eddies.
Bangor committed only two errors under the trying conditions and Edward Little didn’t make any.
“I didn’t expect her to go eight innings,” said Maureen Barron. “I was hoping we could get her to go six innings.
“She did a great job keeping them off-balance. She was tremendous,” Barron added. “I kept telling her we will get runs for her. I was hoping to get some early but they came through at the end.”
Bangor tied it with a run in the seventh on Cassidy Richardson’s clutch two-out RBI single and overcame a 3-2 deficit in the eighth on Rae Barron’s RBI single and Cassidy Ireland’s game-winning, run-scoring hit off the fence in left center field.
“Casey did a great job,” said Bangor junior catcher Emmie Streams, who kept pitches in the dirt in front of her and made one of the game’s most important plays by picking a runner off first base with two-on and one-out in the seventh inning.
“She has been a good pickup. She’s very solid on the mound and at shortstop. It’s great to have her,” Streams said.
The Rams reached the Class A East championship game a year ago after going a sub-standard 7-9 during the regular season.
But the eighth seed came alive in the playoffs, beating No. 9 Hampden Academy 5-3 in a preliminary round game, top seed Messalonskee of Oakland 4-3 in the quarterfinals and No. 4 Brunswick 8-3 in the semifinals before losing to eventual state champ Skowhegan 9-4 in the A North title game.
They have high expectations this season.
“We’re a lot deeper this year,” said Streams. “Everybody in the lineup can hit and can field very well. And we’re a lot smarter.”
“We’ve all played together since Little League. We have great team chemistry,” said junior second baseman Ireland.
Streams is the offensive catalyst in the leadoff spot. With her quickness, she is nearly impossible to throw out stealing bases.
The Barron twins are power hitters who can also hit for high average and junior center fielder Taylor Coombs and junior left fielder Ashley Schultz are veterans who will be expected to produce at the plate, as will Ireland.
Two young hitters who have also been impressive are freshman third baseman Gabby Goding and sophomore designated player Richardson.
Carter hit in the two slot in the order and will be counted upon to be a table-setter along with Streams.
Emma Kennedy, who started in right field against Edward Little, is a junior outfielder, as is Kristen Gerrish. Sophomore Taylor Clark started at second base and fellow sophomore Bella Francis is an outfielder.
Junior Raegan Sprague is a pitcher.
Lane Barron will do the majority of the pitching but Carter’s performance on Wednesday should earn her more innings in the circle.