High school softball

Unbeaten, No. 1 Witches too wicked for young Mariners in regional final

Tough defensive performance by Oceanside hurts No. 3 team's chances, while Brewer flawless in victory
By Mark Haskell | Jun 13, 2018
Photo by: Mark Haskell Oceanside third baseman Grace Woodman attempts to make a backhand play against Brewer on June 13 in a high school softball game. The Witches beat the Mariners 6-2 in a Class B North championship game in Brewer.

Brewer — One year ago — to the day — the Oceanside softball team came up on the short end of the stick in the Class B North championship game against Old Town on the same field.

This year’s Mariner squad, while much younger and less seasoned than last season’s version, again understood it had its work cut out for it in the same title contest on Wednesday afternoon, June 13 against undefeated, top-seeded Brewer — playing on the Witches' home diamond at Coffin Field, no less.

The Witches, who beat the Mariners twice in largely competitive affairs earlier this spring, turned in a flawless performance and capitalized on an uncharacteristically sloppy game defensively by the Mariners, and the hosts rode their brooms to a 6-2 victory and the regional championship.

Watch video, and see more photos, below.

With the win, Brewer (19-0) advances to the state Class B championship game, where it will face Greely of Cumberland (13-7) for the crown on Saturday, June 16 at 4 p.m. back on Coffin Field. The Rangers were ranked sixth in their region.

Oceanside's season concluded at 17-3.

“We had six errors and they had six unearned runs,” said veteran Oceanside coach Rusty Worcester. “You just can’t have that. You can’t have one or two unearned runs against a good team like that. With two good teams like this it was going to come down to who made the mistakes, and we did, and we paid for it.”

Leading Oceanside at the plate Wednesday were Abby Veilleux (single), Hannah Moholland (2 doubles), Chloe Jones (double, single), Grace Woodman (single, run) and Jessica Watkinson (double, run, RBI).

For Brewer, Jordan Goodrich (run), Libby Hewes (double, run), Kenzie Dore (single, double, run), Ali Cottrell (run), Becca Gideon (2 singles, run) and Kathryn Austin (single, run, 2 RBIs) paced the offense.

Libby Hewes worked the pitching circle for Brewer and had a five-hit shutout going into the seventh inning, before the Mariners pushed across their only two runs of the contest. Hewes, ultimately, surrendered seven hits and yielded no walks, while striking out three batters.

Chloe Jones also pitched well in the tough-luck loss for Oceanside, as she allowed six hits and two walks, with seven strikeouts.

Oceanside lost 4-2 to Brewer on April 24 in Rockland and fell 3-2 in nine innings to the Witches on June 2 in the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B championship game.

On Wednesday, the Witches pounced on the Mariners early with a two-run frame, added another in the fourth before the backbreaking fifth inning hit hard for Oceanside.

The Oceanside defense committed four errors in the frame — which ultimately translated into three more Brewer runs — as the hosts’ lead swelled to 6-0.

While the Mariners committed six errors, the Witches, by comparison, had none, which only aided the effort by the top overall seed.

Oceanside had not been scored on in its previous three playoff games — a 1-0 prelim win over No. 14 Mount Desert island, 3-0 victory over No. 6 Medomak Valley in the quarterfinals and 3-0 win over No. 2 Old Town in the semifinals — but Brewer wasted little time breaking that streak for the visiting Mariners.

The first three batters of the game reached for Brewer when Goodrich advanced on an error, Hewes rapped a double and Dore drew a walk to load the bases.

Jones struck out the next two batters and almost got Oceanside out of the inning unscathed, but Austin connected on a two-run single to put Brewer on the board before Jones ultimately struck out the side.

The Witches added another run in the fourth when Gideon singled and was ultimately eliminated by a fielder’s choice from Austin. After Olivia Cattan reached on an error, a wild pitch put the runners in scoring position, though only Austin crossed the plate after the second Mariner error of the frame.

If the fourth inning had Oceanside’s wagon wobbly, the wheels ultimately came off in the fifth.

In the stanza, Dore reached on a single for Brewer before Cottrell reached on an error — and motored to second base on a second miscue on the same play, which plated Dore — to put Brewer up 4-0.

Gideon then singled and Austin was intentionally walked to load the bases, Lord reached after another Mariner fielding error that brought in two runs to put the Witches up by six runs.

Worcester was complimentary of the pitchers after the game.

“They’re both topnotch,” he said of Jones and Hewes. “Chloe, when it comes to big time games, she really gets up [for them]. And for her to continue pitching and continue trying hard after four, five, six errors behind her, that’s a hard thing to do. And she was so supportive of her teammates. A lot of games they bail her out, but they made some errors and it didn’t affect her. She just kept pitching.”

Despite falling behind big — and not having their best defensive effort — the Mariners did not quit. In fact, they got on the board in the seventh inning, aided largely by two of their youngest players — freshmen Woodman and Watkinson.

Woodman singled up the middle in the seventh and later came around to score on a double to left by Watkinson.

Veilleux plated Watkinson with a two-out single before the Witches induced a ground ball to end the game.

“We don’t care what the score is,” said Worcester. “We’re not going to give in, we’re not going to give up and we’re going to battle to the last pitch. And if we lose, we’ll go shake the opponent’s hands, and that’s what we did today.”

An interesting wrinkle to the game was it was played at Brewer’s home diamond, Coffin Field. Brewer is in its first year down from Class A, while Coffin Field, annually, hosts the Class B North regional final, and alternately, the state Class B final, with St. Joseph’s College in Standish as the other venue.

Worcester, while saying, “I’m the type of guy that will play wherever the game is played,” added he feels the location is something the Maine Principals' Association should look at in the future.

“It’s such a nice facility and it’s tough to get a nice facility to host [regional title games],” he said. “But in the future now that [Brewer is] in ‘B’ and it looks like they’re going to stay in ‘B,’ they may have to look at that.”

“It’s a big deal to be able to play at home in front of your home crowd. It’s a great advantage," the coach said.

The Mariners will lose only one senior — Casey Pine — a shortstop and key cog who was a Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B first-team selection this season.

Worcester said “Casey Pine is a true professional and I’ve just loved having her these past four years.”

“She doesn’t get a lot of kudos, but she makes some good plays [at shortstop] and always seems to get the bat on the ball.”

Oceanside versus Brewer softball
Oceanside at Brewer on June 13 in high school softball. (Video by: Mark Haskell and Zack Miller)
Oceanside's Kalli Grover, right, and Raechel Joyce. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
From left, Oceanside's Grace Woodman, Casey Pine, Kalli Grover and Raechel Joyce. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Oceanside's Grace Woodman. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Oceanside's Kalli Grover. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Oceanside's Kalli Grover, right, and Brewer's Jordan Goodrich. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Oceanside's Kalli Grover, left, and Brewer's Jordan Goodrich. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Oceanside's Kalli Grover, left, and Brewer's Rbecca Gideon. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Oceanside's Casey Pine. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Oceanside's Casey Pine. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Oceanside's Casey Pine. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Oceanside's Casey Pine. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Oceanside's Casey Pine. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Oceanside's Adrianna Whitamore. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Oceanside's Casey Pine. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Oceanside's Abby Veilleux. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Oceanside's Grace Woodman. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Oceanside's Chloe Jones. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Oceanside's Chloe Jones, left, and Kalli Grover, right. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Oceanside's Chloe Jones, left, and Kalli Grover, right. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Oceanside's Hannah Moholland. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
From left, Oceanside's Adrianna Whitamore, Kennadi Grover, Rusty Worcester and Rachel Burns. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Oceanside coach Rusty Worcester, left, and Hannah Moholland. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Oceanside coach Rusty Worcester, left, and Abby Veilleux. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Oceanside Casey Pine. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Oceanside coach Rusty Worcester, left, and Casey Pine. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Oceanside coach Rusty Worcester, left, and Casey Pine, right. Back is assistant coach Kennadi Grover. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Oceanside 's Casey Pine, right, and assistant coach Kennadi Grover. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Oceanside's Casey Pine, right, accepts the Class B North runner-up plaque. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Oceanside's Casey Pine, just out of photo, shows teammates the Class B North runner-up plaque. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Oceanside's Casey Pine, left, shows teammates the Class B North runner-up plaque. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Oceanside's Casey Pine, left, shows teammates the Class B North runner-up plaque. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Oceanside's Casey Pine, left, shows teammates the Class B North runner-up plaque. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
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