Wednesday, April 23, 2014
By Mike Lowe email@example.com
STANDISH — The gymnasium at Oceanside High might be undergoing some redecorating soon. For the last two years, banners representing Georges Valley and Rockland -- the two schools that merged two years ago to form Oceanside -- have hung in the gym, with the promise they would be taken down when the new school won its first state championship.
Oceanside players cheer as their first run is scored by Abby Herson to make it 1-1 in the sixth inning Saturday in the Class B state softball final in Standish. Oceanside rallied for an 8-1 win over Greely.
Gordon Chibroski, Staff Photographer
There’s a first time for everything and for Oceanside, the school created from the merger of Rockland and Georges Valley, the first state title came in softball.
Gordon Chibroski/Staff Photographer
The Mariners' softball team did just that Saturday.
Held in check by Dani Cimino for five innings, Oceanside scored all its runs over the final two innings to rally past Greely 8-1 for the Class B state championship at St. Joseph's College.
"I'm very proud," said Oceanside Coach Rusty Worcester. "I told the girls the bottom line is if you win the first one, you'll be in the record books forever. You'll be the first one to win a state championship. So they really like that."
"It's a big deal; we made history," said winning pitcher Rachel Frye.
Oceanside (19-1) was seeded third in the East. Greely (15-5) was seeded fourth in the West.
The victory came in uncharacteristic fashion for the Mariners, who have pounded teams all year and sported a .359 batting average. For five innings Cimino allowed only one hit -- a push bunt by Hannah Plourde.
Worcester kept telling his batters to be patient.
"When you're facing a top-notch pitcher like that, you've got to wait, be patient," he said. "She might get us once but we'll get her the next at-bat."
But, Frye said, the Mariners were concerned.
They trailed 1-0 -- Greely got an unearned run in the second, Audrey Mann driving in Miranda Moore with a single -- and couldn't get anything going against Cimino, who finished with seven strikeouts.
"Concerned would be a nice way to put it," said Frye. "I was a little stressed out, but I can always count on my team to pick me up, especially when I struggle pitching."
Emma Davis of Oceanside began the top of the sixth by reaching on an error, racing all the way to third when Cimino threw her bunt wild down the right-field line. After an out, Frye dropped a bunt in front of the plate and reached when no throw was made.
Kennadi Grover then drove a ball to right, which was dropped. Both Davis and courtesy runner Abby Hersom scored. Grover ended up on third and scored on a groundout by Molly Mellor.
"We beat ourselves," said Greely Coach Jessica Gomez. "It's hard to come back from that."
The Mariners broke it open with five runs in the top of the seventh. Brooke Dugan and Grover each had two-run singles, and Mellor drove in the final run with a single.
"Once we get on a roll," said Frye, "nobody can stop us."
Frye, meanwhile, settled down after allowing five base runners in the first three innings. She allowed only two over the final four -- and one was thrown out attempting to steal by catcher Ari Curtis.
While the season ended with disappointment for Greely, the Rangers made a nice run with a lineup that included four freshmen and three sophomores.
"I'm so happy I got to spend my senior year with them," said Cimino, the lone senior. "They are incredible. They really made me relax this year."
Cimino didn't think nerves or inexperience had anything to do with the loss.
"We win as a team, lose as a team," she said. "It was a collective thing."
Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or at:
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Sarah Felkel of Greely walks away as the game ends and Oceanside celebrates winning the Class B softball state championship at St. Joseph’s College.
Gordon Chibroski/Staff Photographer