BANGOR — After literally blowing away her Eastern Maine competition last spring, Sydney Outzs knew she would no longer be able to rely on the element of surprise.
The Deer Isle-Stonington junior, who moved from Pittsburgh before her sophomore year, has made the proper adjustments, and the results showed on Thursday, as she pitched a three-hitter as the Mariners sailed to a 10-0 Class D softball victory over Bangor Christian.
Outzs, who helped lead coach Terry Siebert’s club to the regional championship last season, walked two and struck out six in helping the Mariners improve to 10-2.
Bangor Christian is now 5-9.
Outzs featured excellent command and a buckling changeup to go with the fastball which overpowered many opponents last spring.
But good hitters will sit on fastballs, and Outzs worked hard on her changeup in the offseason.
“I knew that last year I kind of came out as a surprise, so I knew that all the teams would definitely be practicing higher pitching speeds,” said Outzs.
While Outzs’ strikeout numbers aren’t as high, she has a strong defense behind her, and Deer Isle-Stonington didn’t commit an error on a windy day that made several fly balls an adventure.
“Our defense is really becoming one of our real strong points,” said Siebert. “Sydney does a good job pitching but when they’re hitting we’re playing defense and not making many errors.”
Outzs also got it done with the bat to spark a Mariners’ offense which has averaged more than15 runs per game, going 3-for-4 with three singles and three runs batted in, including RBI singles in the first in third innings to help DI-S breeze to a 7-0 lead after three innings.
Sophomore infielder Julie Hutchins had two singles, an RBI and scored three runs while senior catcher Abby Grindle singled twice and knocked in a run in the Mariners’ 13-hit barrage.
Unlike some Class D teams, the Mariners see quite a bit of fast pitching, which worked to their advantage against hard-throwing Bangor Christian righty Kristen Roemmich.
“She’s one of the fastest ones that we see,” said Siebert. “She threw a lot of high stuff, they were patient, they chased some of it but for the most part they were pretty patient.”
That was key on a day in which the wind was blowing straight in from the outfield, and a number of the Mariners’ hits were well-placed fly balls that would land just behind the infield.
“Those infield hits were just that, they were good-placed hits,” said Siebert.
Emily Cormier also drove in a run with a single for Deer Isle-Stonington and scored a pair of runs, and the Mariners also took advantage of three Patriots’ errors.
Outzs is also a rare type of hitter in these parts, as she can bat from each side of the plate.
“There’s just something about (batting) lefty,” she said. “I always get on base when I hit lefty, when I hit righty I always strike out.”
The Mariners are building strongly off of last spring’s state-championship game appearance, and a number of Siebert’s players were on the school’s basketball team that was a regional finalist this winter.
“It’ll bring our nerves down because we’ve been in situations like this,” said Grindle.
The Mariners will try to lock up the No. 1 spot in Class D with a doubleheader against Jonesport-Beals and a matchup with neighboring rival George Stevens Academy of Blue Hill remaining.
Gabby Melcher, Emma Johnson and Abbie Vicnaire all singled for Bangor Christian.