BREWER – When the Oceanside and Gardiner softball teams played in the regular season and Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference final, the games were pitchers’ duels.
In the Eastern Class B final Thursday night at Coffin Field, the emphasis turned to offense, with a big edge to Oceanside.
The Mariners pounded out 19 hits, including five doubles, to take an 11-4 victory and the regional title.
Third-seeded Oceanside (18-1) will take on Greely in the state championship game Saturday at St. Joseph’s College in Standish. Top-ranked Gardiner ended the season at 17-2.
“That’s a very potent offensive attack. They’ve been hitting the ball a ton,” Gardiner Coach Ginger Shaw said.
The Mariners jumped on Gardiner in the top of the first inning. Brooke Dugan opened the game with a double to left and scored on Kennadi Grover’s double. Molly Mellor’s RBI single made it 2-0, and Paige Tyler single to push the lead to 3-0.
Shaw wasted little time in making a pitching change. Starter Brittany Rollins faced just six batters before giving way to Kristal Smith. That was planned, Shaw said.
“(Rollins) is coming off an injury in the KVAC game. We were hoping she’d be OK to go tonight,” Shaw said. “She was on a short leash.”
The Tigers got two runs back in the bottom of the first, on a Smith single and Rollins double, but Gardiner couldn’t keep up the offensive pace that was set by the Mariners.
Oceanside broke the game open in the fourth with three runs, the big hit an RBI double by Ari Curtis.
Tyler had four hits and starting pitcher Rachel Frye added three for the Mariners. Grover hit two doubles and scored three runs, and Mellor had four hits, three runs and three RBI.
Gardiner had a late chance to cut into Oceanside’s lead with the bases loaded and no outs in the sixth. The Tigers scored just one run in the inning, and a double play with a runner thrown out at the plate helped squelch the rally.
Brianna Brochu and Rollins each had two hits for the Tigers.