STANDISH – The batter swung and missed. Kayla Merrill dropped her glove and the celebration began.

Merrill, the junior pitcher from Telstar High, pitched a two-hitter and drove in three runs as the Rebels won the Class C state softball championship Saturday afternoon, beating George Stevens Academy of Blue Hill 5-1 at St. Joseph’s College’s Ward Field.

The Rebels (18-0) had lost in last year’s state title game, a result that left them determined to reverse that outcome this year.

“The kids were looking forward to this game,” said Jim Lunney, the Telstar coach who once again wore his lucky Seattle Sonics T-shirt. “They didn’t feel they played their best last year.”

It sure looked like the Rebels did on Saturday.

Merrill was in control throughout, mixing a rising fastball with a change-up that kept the Eagles off-balance. “I wanted to get ahead of each batter so I could throw what I wanted to throw and keep in control,” she said.

She allowed only two singles — in the first and sixth innings — while striking out nine and walking one. “It wasn’t our best game with the bats,” said Betsy Stevens, coach of GSA. “It was our speed, but the bats didn’t come through.”

Merrill allowed only one baserunner over the final four innings after the Rebels took a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the third.

“She pitched well and she hit well,” said Lunney. “She’s the total package.”

Eagles pitcher Lydia Clapp held the Rebels scoreless in the first two innings. But then Telstar broke through.

With one out in the third, Lyndsay Merrill’s liner to center was misplayed, allowing her to reach third base. Lindsay James followed with an infield single, then stole second to put runners on second and third.

With a 2-2 count, Kayla Merrill slashed a liner to left-center, scoring two. She was sacrificed to second and scored on a single by Hannah Morin.

Telstar had only five hits and, said Lunney, “It’s good we bunched them together.”

Staff Writer Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or at:

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