BREWER — Junior righthander Kayla Dube scattered four hits and her Penobscot Valley High School teammates scored a pair of unearned runs in the first inning as the Howlers captured their first Eastern Maine softball championship since 1981 by virtue of a 3-0 win over defending state champ Deer Isle-Stonington at Coffin Field on Thursday night.
The 18-1 Howlers, the third seed, will take on 16-1 Richmond, the Western Maine titlist, in Saturday’s 11 a.m. state championship game at Coffin Field.
Fifth seed Deer Isle-Stonington concluded an 18-1 season.
Dube struck out 10 and didn’t walk anyone while throwing 90 pitches, 72 for strikes.
DI-S senior righty Sydney Outzs allowed only three hits with nine strikeouts and no walks. All three runs off her were unearned.
She threw 52 strikes among her 72 pitches.
The Howlers capitalized on three errors in the first inning to give Dube all the run support she would need.
Kirstin Batchelder opened the inning with a slow roller to third and an errant throw allowed her to reach base.
Shaelyn Jones blooped a single into right to put runners on first and second.
Reese Leonard then grounded a ball to second and Jones may have screened the second baseman as the ball glanced off the second baseman’s foot.
Batchelder eventually broke for the plate and the throw to the plate sailed high, allowing both Batchelder and Jones to score.
The Mariners had an opportunity to cut the lead in half when Janelle Ciomei ripped a single off the left fielder’s glove, stole second and went to third on a groundout. But Dube struck out the next hitter and got the final out with a grounder back to her.
Moriah Nutter and Julie Hutchins led off the fifth with singles but Dube struck out the next three hitters.
Jones produced an insurance run in the sixth when she grounded a single to right, stole second and then scored on an overthrow during her steal of third.
Nutter doubled with one out in the seventh but Dube retired the last two hitters to end it.
Jones singled twice for the Howlers and Nutter doubled and singled for the Mariners.