STANDISH – Well, it didn’t end the way Rusty Worcester and his Georges Valley High softball players wanted, but the Buccaneers provided one more memorable game before becoming a piece of Maine high school sports lore.

Telstar High of Bethel won its third consecutive Western Class C softball title Wednesday, beating Georges Valley for the third consecutive year. This time it was by a 5-4 score at St. Joseph’s College’s Richard Bailey Field, with the Rebels twice rallying from two-run deficits.

“We fight,” said Kayla Merrill, Telstar’s senior pitcher. “We’re a fighting team. We fought back.”

Telstar (17-1) will defend its Class C state title against Dexter at noon Saturday at Brewer High’s Coffin Field.

This was the fifth consecutive year these teams met in the final.

Georges Valley finished 16-1 in the school’s final athletic event. The Buccaneers are merging with Rockland next fall to form the Oceanside High Mariners and will be in Eastern Class B.

“We have the Gold Ball in mind every time we play,” said Georges Valley Coach Rusty Worcester. “Especially this year, we really wanted to finish out Georges Valley with a Gold Ball year. But we’re not going to hang our heads.”

Georges Valley led twice by two, the final time at 4-2 on a two-run single by Jill Bradbury in the top of the second.

Telstar went ahead with a three-run fourth, aided by a misplayed bunt.

With one out, Victoria Forkus walked and Autumn Berry singled her to second. Sarah Averill put down a bunt, which was thrown into right field by pitcher Rachel Frye, allowing Forkus to score and putting runners on second and third.

That brought up catcher Lyndsay Merrill, who committed an error in the first that allowed Bradbury to score the game’s first run. On an 0-2 count, she lined a single to center, driving in Berry and Averill to put the Rebels ahead.

Georges Valley didn’t go quietly. The Bucs had a runner on second with two outs in the sixth when Katlyn Rich ripped a line drive down the third-base line — right into the glove of third baseman Katie Sumner.

“Game of inches,” said Worcester. “That line shot to third “

The game was tied if that ball gets past Sumner. And everyone knew that.

“That ball was hit, ‘Boom,’ ” said Telstar Coach Jim Lunney. “By the time I turned my head, she had caught it.”

Sumner said she had little time to do anything else.

“Pretty much I was protecting myself,” she said. “When the ball was coming, I didn’t think anything other than, ‘Catch the ball.’ “

Bradbury then singled with two outs in the seventh, but Merrill ended the game by snaring a grounder and throwing to first.

Staff Writer Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: MikeLowePPH