BREWER — Sydney Ouzts continued her dominant season in the circle with a one-hit, eight-strikeout performance Tuesday, helping Deer Isle-Stonington capture its second straight EM Class D softball title with a 28-2 victory over the Ashland Hornets at a rain-soaked Coffin Field.
Deer Isle-Stonington coach Terry Siebert stressed the importance of getting ahead early, and that’s exactly what the second-ranked Mariners did. They answered a 1-0 first-inning deficit with a 20-run, nine-hit bottom-of-the-first, highlighted by a double, single and four RBIs by senior catcher Abby Grindle.
“We’ve been hitting and playing defense extremely well lately and Sydney has been pitching phenomenal,” Siebert said. “The weather wasn’t the best today, but I told our kids as long as we get ahead early and play defense will be all set.”
The 17-2 Mariners, who lost in last year’s state final to Richmond, are faced with an opportunity for revenge as they square off against the Bobcats in Saturday’s Class D state final at 3 p.m. at St. Joseph’s College in Standish.
“My dad took a picture of Richmond holding up their championship trophy last year and every time we look at it, it reminds us of what happened in last year’s final,” Ouzts said. “We want to change that this year, and we’re going to work very hard to do so.”
After Ashland scored in the first, Ouzts allowed 10 baserunners but the Hornets stranded six of those. They couldn’t string anything together against Ouzts and the Mariner defense committed only one error.
The Hornets got the scoring started when leadoff batter junior Brooke LaBelle walked, advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored when Ouzts balked because of a distant timeout call from the Ashland fan section. Ouzts settled down after the run and struck out Ally Beaulier, induced junior Anna Paradis to ground out to first and struck out Whitney Donovan.
It was smooth sailing from there for Ouzts, who had to rely on her fastball because of the wet weather, but she also kept Ashland batters off balance an occasional changeup.
“Towards the beginning it was easier for me to throw my changeup, but as the rain started coming down harder I was throwing my fastball more because my grip was slipping,” Ouzts said.
After struggling in the first inning, Ashland pitcher Donovan got junior Emily Cormier to ground out to first after walking sophomore Amber Jones to start the second, and Paradis turned a double play on a ground ball by Ciomei, tagging out Jones off second and throwing Ciomei out at first.
But the Mariners would strike again with a run in the third off Paradis, who replaced Donovan with two outs in the second inning. They scored seven more off Donovan, who returned to the circle in the fourth.
The Hornets scored one more run in the top of the fifth when Paradis walked, stole second base, advanced to third on an Ouzts wild pitch and scored on a dropped fly ball by Ciomei behind third base.
Ashland freshman third baseman Kim Baker had the Hornets’ lone hit off Ouzts with a single in the third inning. No. 5 Ashland finished with an 11-7 record.
Jones, the designated player, led the Mariners with two singles, a double and six RBIs. Sophomore first baseman Chelsea Brown recorded three singles and five RBIs, and Grindle finished with four RBIs.