High school softball

One run enough as Oceanside nips MDI in down-to-the-wire prelim playoff

Young Mariners face area rival Medomak Valley 24 hours later in quarterfinals
By Ken Waltz | Jun 07, 2018
Photo by: Ken Waltz Oceanside's Casey Pine, left, and Raechel Joyce play against Mount Desert Island on June 6 in a high school softball game in Rockland. The host Mariners beat the Trojans 1-0 in a Class B North prelim playoff game.

Rockland — One run often does not mean a lot, but sometimes it can mean everything. Just ask the Oceanside softball team.

In two straight games one run has meant the difference between a win and loss for the Mariners. That is how slim the margin sometimes can be in high school softball.

Just a few days before, Oceanside lost the league championship game to Brewer 3-2 in nine innings when it could not come up with a key hit at a crucial time to take advantage of opportunities.

That almost happened again to the young, No. 3 Mariners (15-2), who have only one senior and six freshmen, in the Class B North prelim playoff game with upset-minded, No. 14 Mount Desert Island (9-8) on Wednesday, June 6 on Drinkwater Field.

But, in this down-to-the-wire diamond encounter, the Mariners scored just enough — namely, one run.

See photos below.

That run backed the sensational pitching of Chloe Jones and allowed the Mariners, in less than 24 hours, to earn another playoff encounter, this time a quarterfinal game with longtime Midcoast-rival Medomak Valley.

The Mariners will host the No. 6 Panthers (11-6, after a 14-2, 5-inning prelim playoff winner over No. 11 Presque Isle the same day) on Thursday, June 7 at 4 p.m. for what is sure to be another in a long line of compelling battles between the championship-driven softball programs.

The Midcoast diamond programs, seemingly always in contention for league, regional and state supremacy, have faced off in the postseason a number of times in recent years, often in the regional quarterfinals.

This year, the Mariners, thus far, have gotten the best of the Panthers in two highly-competitive, regular-season contests — 3-0 in Waldoboro and 3-2 in Rockland.

The Mariners and Trojans did not face each other in the regular season.

The Mariners again had plenty of opportunities against MDI but seemingly could not come up with the key hit — something that haunted Oceanside against the Witches in the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B championship game on Saturday, June 2 at Thomas College in Waterville.

That one crucial run against MDI came, interestingly enough, in the first inning. From there, the two teams — thanks to the two athletes who masterfully worked in the pitching circle — came up empty. Zeros across the board.

Oceanside finished with four hits and no errors and MDI three hits and one fielding miscue.

Jones and Trojan Lindsey McEachern pitched complete games and nearly matched one another. Jones finished with one walk and 11 strikeouts and McEachern five walks, a hit batter and 11 strikeouts.

Ironically, Casey Pine, the Mariners' lone senior, knocked in the game's lone run. Jones, Pine, Hannah Moholland and Hannah Robinson had singles for the hosts.

For MDI, Hannah Chamberlain, Madison Thornton and Madison Neale finished with singles.

Oceanside plated the only run of the contest in the bottom of the first inning — and it came with two outs.

Moholland lined a single to center and the ball was misplayed as Moholland scampered to second. Pine, the team's captain, lined a shot off the third-baseman's glove into left field for the lone run of the competitive, exciting contest.

"Chloe Jones and our defense took over from there," said veteran Mariner coach Rusty Worcester. "Chloe had 11 strikeouts and one walk on the game. She hit her spots and our defense stepped it up."

One example of that? In the fourth inning, Mariner second baseman Raechel Joyce made a standout play to help Oceanside maintain its 1-0 edge. Thornton and Neale singled to put runners on first and second, including the tying run in scoring position. Mackenzie Dyer then hit of a line drive up the middle and Joyce made a standout backhanded play and tagged second for the crucial double play.

Oceanside stranded 11 runners. "We can't do that in the future," Worcester said. "We have to get that big hit to plate runners."

Worcester said his players, as always, look forward to stepping on the field again to see how they fare against another talented opponent — this time the Panthers in the quarterfinals.

"I'm very proud of these young ladies," he said. "They battled and came out on top. We move onto tomorrow and that's what matters the most … They will give it their all [June 7] like they do every day."

Oceanside's Hannah Moholland, right, as well as Mount Desert Island's Lindsey McEachern, left, and Hannah Chamberlain. The umpire is Mark Potter. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Oceanside's Casey Pine, front, and Mount Desert Island's Hannah Chamberlain. The umpire is Mark Potter. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Oceanside's Casey Pine, front, and Mount Desert Island's Hannah Chamberlain. The umpire is Mark Potter. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Oceanside's Hannah Moholland. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Oceanside's Hannah Moholland, front. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Oceanside players gather in the pitching circle and in the outfield. Facing is Chloe Jones, left, and Casey Pine. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Oceanside's Casey Pine. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Oceanside's Abby Veilleux. The umpire is Mark Potter. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Oceanside's Hannah Robinson. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Oceanside's Raechel Joyce makes a tough catch and steps on second base for a double play. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Oceanside's Raechel Joyce, left, and Casey Pine. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Oceanside's Chloe Jones. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Oceanside's Kalli Grover, front, and Mount Desert Island's Hannah Chamberlain. The umpire is Mark Potter. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Oceanside coach Rusty Worcester, right, and assistant coach Kennadi Grover. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Oceanside's Raechel Joyce, left, and Hannah Moholland let everyone know the Mariners have ducks on the pond. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Oceanside's Grace Woodman. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Oceanside's Jessica Watkinson, front, and her teammates in the dugout. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Oceanside's Jessica Watkinson. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Oceanside's Hannah Robinson. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Oceanside's Raechel Joyce. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
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