With just under four weeks to go in the high school softball regular season — postseason play kicks off on June 8 — there are very few surprises atop the Eastern Maine Heal point standings.
Bangor is off to a 9-0 start in Class A while undefeated Hermon and Central of Corinth, whose one loss was to the Hawks, have looked strong in Classes B and C, respectively.
But a new contender has emerged in Class D in Deer Isle-Stonington, a school that is no stranger to success on the diamond — the baseball diamond, that is.
This spring, it’s the softball team that’s making plenty of noise, as coach Terry Siebert’s Mariners won their first five games and sit atop the Class D standings.
DI-S lost to Class C George Stevens Academy 5-1 on Monday.
That doesn’t come as a surprise to Siebert, who has a talented blend of young talent to go with three seniors.
“I expected us to be a contender based on our experience going through last year and the girls who were freshmen [coming back],” he said. “I didn’t expect to have the pitching that we have.”
That outstanding pitching has come from junior Sydney Outzs, who moved to the area from Pittsburgh, and her control has been pinpoint throughout the first six games.
“Right now she’s pitching very, very strong,” Siebert said. “She’s very accurate, doesn’t throw many walks.”
While she has only recorded one shutout — a 6-0 decision over Searsport to open the season — Outzs has yet to allow more than five runs in a game this season.
The Mariners have hit the ball fairly well over their first five contests, scoring 35 runs, an average of 7.0 runs per game, with seniors Erika Hutchins (third base), Goldie Garcia (catcher), and Hannah Siebert (center field), along with junior second baseman Abigail Grindle and sophomore shortstop Janelle Ciomei contributing nicely to those numbers.
Ciomei is the younger sister of former Mariner standout athlete Collin Ciomei.
The chemistry between Garcia and Outzs has been great so far.
“She’s a really nice kid, easy to get along with, however, she gets very serious on the mound,” Siebert said. “She’s very focused, very serious [and] really meshing in quite well with most of the girls.”
Deer Isle-Stonington will host a doubleheader with Katahdin on Saturday at Brewer’s Coffin Field in a twinbill where plenty of Heal points where be at stake.
The Mariners have never won an Eastern Maine championship in softball, and that’s among their list of goals for this spring.
“Based on where we are right now [we want] home playoff games so we don’t have to travel up north,” said Siebert, whose club has had to travel to Limestone for postseason games the last two seasons.
And while on the topic of postseason softball, here are some important dates to keep in mind.
Preliminary-round contests in Classes B, C and D — 10 teams qualify for the playoffs in those classes — will be played on June 8, with quarterfinal games set for June 10, and the semifinal round on June 12.
The regional championship games will be split up over June 15 and 16, with the Class A game taking place at Cony High School in Augusta, and the rest of the regionals at Brewer’s Coffin Field.
The state championships are set for June 19, with Classes A and C at St. Joseph’s College in Standish, and Classes B and D at Coffin Field in Brewer.
Witches starting to soar
After a 1-3 start that included a humbling 12-0 loss at the hands of Skowhegan, the Brewer softball team has climbed back into the Class A postseason discussion thanks to a three-game winning streak.
Coach Skip Estes’ Witches have recorded two shutout victories over that span, including a 14-0 pounding of Brunswick last Friday.
Amanda Ryan and Morgan Haradon combined on a three-hitter Friday night, while Ryan enjoyed her finest performance of the spring on April 30 against Lawrence of Fairfield, two-hitting the Bulldogs while recording 13 strikeouts to jumpstart the Witches’ winning streak.
The Witches are currently eighth in Class A — eight teams will qualify for the postseason — but Brewer’s schedule gets tough this week with a road contest at Oxford Hills in South Paris while the Witches will host top-ranked and undefeated Bangor Friday night.
PVC schedule changes
While three of last weekend’s Penobscot Valley Conference track and field meets went off without a hitch, rain and cold temperatures forced the cancellation of a meet in Presque Isle, which Bangor was supposed to attend, along with five other schools.
The Waterville Relay meet, also scheduled for last weekend, was washed out as well.
With that being the case, on May 22, Presque Isle has been switched to compete in a meet in Caribou, as opposed to in Orono, where it was originally scheduled to run.
The Red Riots were originally scheduled to travel to Aroostook County on that date to compete in Caribou, but they’ll instead run on their home oval, a meet that Old Town is “hosting.”
There are three meets scheduled for this afternoon, including one in Bangor involving the Rams, Brewer, Old Town, Central of Corinth and Searsport.
This weekend, MDI will host the MDI Relays, starting at 10 a.m., and any school, including teams from outside the PVC, are welcome to attend.
Leonardi passes Hintz
Kennebunk High sophomore Abbey Leonardi just keeps adding to her resume every time she steps on the track.
On May 6, Leonardi posted the fastest 3,200-meter time ever by a Maine schoolgirl runner, clocking in at 10 minutes, 36.3 seconds.
That time has her ranked 13th in the nation, and eclipses Cassie Hintz’s mark of 10:39.43, set in 2004.
Leonardi’s mark isn’t officially a Maine Principals’ Association state records, since those can only be set in state championship meets.
Leonardi will have that chance at the Class A state championships in Augusta on June 5.