ORONO, Maine — It was a game that featured one plot twist after another.
The fifth-seeded Brunswick High School Dragons seemed to be in control with a 2-0 lead in the sixth inning of their Class A softball quarterfinal against fourth-seeded Brewer only to see the youthful Witches score three runs with two outs in the sixth.
But Brunswick capitalized on a two-out throwing error to tie it in the seventh and won it on Gabby Swain’s squeeze bunt in the eighth, 4-3, at Kessock Field on the University of Maine campus.
The wet weather resulted in the game being moved from Brewer’s Coffin Field to Orono.
“We battled every inning,” said Brunswick senior catcher Sophia Morin, who scored the winning run after leading off the eighth with a bloop double to center and moving to third on Ellie Sullivan’s sacrifice bunt.
Swain then put her bunt down between the plate and pitcher Sara Young and when Young threw to first, Morin dashed home and slid across the plate safely.
“It was pretty stressful,” Swain said. “I just wanted to get the bunt down.”
Brewer had a golden opportunity to win the game in the bottom of the seventh when the Witches had runners on second and third with one out on a hit batter, a walk and a wild pitch.
But pitcher Sullivan struck out the next hitter and induced a ground ball to third to end the threat.
“I just focused on what I could control. I knew I could pitch to contact because the defense had my back and would make the plays,” said Sullivan, who used her slider to get the strikeout before the groundout.
The Dragons had tied it in the seventh when Caitlin Seitz drew a one-out walk, then pinch-runner Hailie Lord moved to second on a wild pitch and scored on an overthrow to first on Hannah Hamilton’s two-out grounder to third.
Brewer had rallied dramatically in the sixth to take the lead.
Madison Shaw reached on a bunt single and, two outs later, scored on a booming triple to deep center field by Jill Ford.
Brunswick pitcher Seitz had the ball slip out of her hand on the next hitter, Emma Jameson, which allowed Ford to race home to tie it.
Jameson followed with a base hit and Sara Young put the Witches ahead with a line drive double to right center.
Brunswick had taken a 2-0 lead with single runs in the third and fourth innings.
In the third, Seitz singled and pinch-runner Lord eventually scored on an infield throwing error.
In the fourth, Sullivan singled sharply to center and scored on Skyler Augustine’s double to right center.
Both starting pitchers turned in exceptional performances.
Sophomore Seitz allowed six hits and three runs with seven strikeouts and one walk in six innings. Sullivan didn’t allow a hit or run in her two innings. She struck out two, walked two and hit a batter.
Freshman Young surrendered only five hits and two earned runs while going the full eight innings. She walked three and struck out five.
“We fought to the very end,” Young said. “You have to give it to them. Their hitting and pitching was good. It was a good game. Both teams should be very proud.”
Sullivan said Brewer has a bright future with Young in the circle.
“She’s very good. Good luck to everyone playing Brewer the next three years because they’re going to be pretty good,” Sullivan said.
Sullivan had two singles, drew a walk and put down that valuable sacrifice bunt in her four at-bats. She was the game’s only repeat hitter.
Brunswick played errorless ball while the Witches received the defensive play of the game from center fielder Shaw, who leaped high in the air to rob Morin of an extra-base hit while crashing into left fielder Olivia Gilmore.
Brunswick, now 11-6 and winner of three of its last four, will take on the winner of the Oxford Hills-Edward Little game in the semifinals on Saturday while Brewer, which had five freshmen in the lineup, concluded a 10-7 season.