BUCKSPORT, Maine — The Bucksport High School softball team may be without ace senior righthander Ella Hosford due to a back injury, but sophomore Natalie Simpson is filling in nicely.
Righthander Simpson tossed an efficient four-hitter on Thursday, striking out five and walking just one, and her teammates played solid defense behind her as the Golden Bucks improved to 12-0 with a 9-2 win over visiting George Stevens Academy Eagles from Blue Hill.
Simpson threw just 72 pitches over the seven innings with 52 strikes. Both runs off her were unearned, and all four hits were singles.
“I thought I threw pretty good today,” Simpson said. “It really helped that Coach [Mike] Carrier called some nice pitches for me and Jetta [Shook] is a really good catcher. My curve was my best pitch.”
George Stevens Academy head coach Todd Eckenfelder, whose team is now 5-6 after having its two-game winning streak snapped, said his hitters were confident, but Simpson kept them off-balance.
“We must have had seven or eight weak pop-ups because we got out on the front foot. That’s a credit to her and to them for fielding the ball well,” Eckenfelder said.
Simpson induced seven infield pop-ups and three fly ball outs.
The Eagles took a 2-0 lead in the first inning on a walk, an infield single by Regan Libby, an infield error and Corinna Walden’s sharp two-out run-scoring single that also plated a second run on an ensuing outfield error.
But those were the only runs the Eagles would score and they had only two baserunners the rest of the game.
The Bucks tied it in the bottom of the second.
Allison Hanscom started the rally by poking a one-out single to right and, one out later, Lexi Raymond reached on an infield hit as her spinning grounder glanced off the third baseman’s glove.
Simpson followed with a line drive single to left that scored Hanscom, and Raymond crossed the plate on an infield throwing error on Sam Cyr’s grounder.
Bucksport took the lead for good with three runs in the third.
Lilly Chiavelli opened the inning by walloping a double into the right center field gap. She moved to third on a groundout and scored when Jayden Tripp punched a single into left.
Tripp advanced to second on a groundout and scored when Alivia Shute dropped a single into right. Raymond reached on a bunt single, a walk loaded the bases and an infield error allowed the third run to score.
Bucksport added four more in the fifth on two walks, two errors, a bunt single by Hanscom and sacrifice flies by Raymond and Simpson.
GSA committed five errors in the contest.
“We didn’t field the way we can,” Eckenfelder said. “We gave them too many outs, which hurt us. That was the big difference today. They fielded the ball well and we didn’t.”
Bucksport has now outscored its opponents 119-26.
“Our offensive is unbelievable, one through nine in the order,” Carrier said. “And Natalie did a great job today as she did yesterday [in a 9-7 win at Dexter].”
Freshmen Raymond and Hanscom had two hits apiece for Bucksport.
Libby and Walden had two base hits each for GSA.
Both teams will hit the road on Monday. Bucksport will travel to Corinth for a 4 p.m. game against Central while GSA visits Sumner of East Sullivan for a 4:30 p.m. contest.