BLUE HILL — Even though the Deer Isle-Stonington softball team was in prime position to sew up home-field advantage through the first two rounds of the Class D playoffs Thursday, the Mariners weren’t overlooking a neighboring rival that had nothing to lose.
George Stevens Academy entered the final day of regular-season play needing a win to sneak into the Class C playoffs, and Mariners’ coach Terry Siebert had his players zoned in from the moment they stepped off the bus.
“We really had to come out strong, they had nothing to lose and we did,” Siebert said. “They knew if they could beat us they would most likely make it to the playoffs.”
It turned out the Mariners had too much wind in their sails for the Eagles, unleashing a 15-hit attack and scoring 15 two-out runs en route to a 16-4 victory.
“We knew they would definitely be gunning for us,” said Mariners’ junior pitcher Sydney Outzs. “They had to win this game to get into the playoffs, so we came out gunning, too.”
Deer Isle-Stonington capped off a 14-2 regular season and will finish no worse than second in Class D while George Stevens, the defending EM Class C champion, concludes its season 6-10.
The win assures that the Mariners will avoid any trips to Aroostook County during the postseason.
“We’re definitely going to stay in second place now, we might even get to first,” Siebert said, “but it doesn’t matter because first and second’s the same. We get to stay home for two games.”
The Mariners took advantage of three Eagles errors to push across seven two-out runs in the second, with Holly Brewer, Outzs and Emily Cormier each plating a run with a single during the rally.
DI-S added single runs in the third and fourth innings and scored twice more in the sixth and five times in the seventh, with Amber Jones leading the way with a single, triple, two-run double and two runs scored.
“Last time against them I hit a home run so I was coming in hoping to hit well,” said Jones.
Hitting has been a strength all season for the Mariners, who have scored more than 10 runs in 12 of their 16 games.
“That’s been our strength all season, is that we hit the ball well everybody gets base hits,” Siebert said.
Senior catcher Abby Grindle had an RBI double and two-run single for the Deer Isle-Stonington, and Heidi Brewer contributed two singles and an RBI while scoring two runs, including a steal of home in the sixth.
Outzs who gave up four runs on six hits while striking out eight and walking two.
She did give up two home runs, a monster shot to center by Richelle Kane in the third and an inside-the-park drive by Sabrina Vivian in the same inning, but Outzs found her bearings after that.
“Last time we played them two of their girls had home runs,” said Outzs. “They’re really good hitters.”
The Mariners will enter postseason play on a nine-game winning streak, and the rivalry victory only enhances their confidence.
“GSA is a very good team offensively and defensively,” Outzs said. “We lost to them both times last year and won by one run the last time we played them, so I think it’s real good for us to come out by 12 runs.”
Shelbi Candage knocked in a run with a single for GSA and Anna Clapp, Kane and Hannah Billings contributed a base hit apiece.