STANDISH — Saturday dawned like any other morning for McKenna Smith, Old Town High’s junior pitcher.

She had her usual breakfast of eggs and toast and then set about preparing for the Coyotes’ next game, which just happened to be the Class B state final against Fryeburg Academy.

“I just wanted to make everything the same,” said Smith. “I try not to make it any different, it’s just another game. I mean, it’s a big game, but you’ve got to treat it like any other.”

Smith’s performance was extraordinary. She struck out 19 and allowed just three hits as Old Town won its second consecutive state title with a 2-0 victory at Bailey Field at St. Joseph’s College.

“She’s worked so hard over the last year,” said Old Town Coach Jenn Plourde. “It’s amazing to see that all her work has paid off.”

The win was the 16th in a row for the Coyotes (18-2) and gave them their third state title since 2012, when they also defeated Fryeburg (16-4).

“It’s crazy,” said Smith, holding onto the game ball from her final strikeout. “Last year, I was (playing) in center field (while Olivia Albert pitched Old Town past York). To be in the circle this time, it’s a completely different feeling.”

She dominated from the start. After Fryeburg’s Mackenzie Buzzell reached on an error to start the game, Smith struck out the next seven batters. She walked Grace Condon in the third inning, and Buzzell followed with a long drive to left field that was tracked down by freshman Jennessa Brown just in front of the fence.

“I thought it was over my head,” said Brown. “It was traveling pretty quickly.” But Brown reached up and caught it, and then Smith struck out the next six batters. “That could have been something,” said Smith. “But she’s been fantastic for us. I knew she had that.”

Fifteen of Smith’s strikeouts were swinging, an indication that whatever she was throwing was working. “I have six pitches and I threw them all,” said Smith.

Her best pitch appeared to be her riser – “My favorite,” she said – which started low and ended up around the batters’ eyes.

“We knew it was coming, but we couldn’t lay off,” said Fryeburg Coach Fred Apt. “We don’t see a lot of that. It was a legitimate riser, not just a high pitch.”

At one point, Apt told his batters to swing at the first strike. “We took a lot of good pitches,” he said. “And if she gets ahead in the count, she was just dominating.”

Fryeburg pitcher Nicole Bennett allowed seven hits and struck out nine. But the Coyotes struck for two runs in the third, aided by an error.

Natalie St. Louis led off with a single and went to third when Morgan Love’s fly ball to right was dropped. Love stole second, and Smith followed with a sacrifice fly to right, scoring St. Louis and moving Love to third.

Albert then struck out, but the low pitch got away from catcher Makayla Cooper, prompting a throw to first to get Albert. Love beat the relay home to make it 2-0.

Old Town had several other chances but stranded eight runners, causing some concern for Plourde.

“At one point I went to my assistant, Rachel (Martin), and asked, ‘How many are we going to leave on base? Because we can’t keep doing this,’ ” said Plourde. “We knew what they did against Wells (rallying for four runs in the seventh to win the regional title) and we didn’t want to put ourselves in that situation. We were worried in that we didn’t think two would be enough.”

With Smith, two runs were plenty.

Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or:

[email protected]

Twitter: MikeLowePPH

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