BAR HARBOR — The Mount Desert Island High School softball season came to an end Tuesday with a 4-2 home defeat to No. 9 Erskine Academy (10-7) in the Class B North playoffs.
The Trojans (9-8) rallied from a 4-0 deficit through five innings with a pair of runs in the sixth, but it wasn’t enough as the visiting Eagles advanced to the quarterfinals.
Senior pitcher Lindsey McEachern struck out 15 batters and allowed just one walk for MDI in the circle. She held Erskine to just five hits, and only one of the Eagles’ four runs was earned.
At the plate, McEachern and junior Maddie Neale had two hits apiece for MDI. The Trojans also got a base hit from senior Mackenzie Dyer.
MDI 3 – EHS 2
During the sixth inning of Friday’s regular season finale against Ellsworth, one blast from Ruby Brown’s bat changed everything.
One of the team’s top-three players in batting average, hits, RBIs and runs scored, Brown has been a big contributor this season for the Trojans. Yet there was one thing the junior had never done in all her years playing softball: hit a home run.
That changed when Brown’s three-run home run in the sixth inning gave MDI a 3-2 Senior Night win over Ellsworth. The win assured the Trojans of a home preliminary game in the Class B North playoffs and gave the team a season sweep of the Eagles.
“It was just really nice to have it come against our biggest rivals and with two other people on base,” Brown said. “It was the perfect time for it to happen.”
Unlike last month’s matchup between these two teams, in which both sides had multi-run innings early in the game, this contest began as a pitchers’ duel between MDI’s Lindsey McEachern and Ellsworth’s Mackenzie Chipman. With both staff aces in strikeout mode, the Trojans and Eagles found themselves in a scoreless deadlock through five innings.
After McEachern sent the Eagles down in order in the top of the sixth, the Trojans got one of the game’s few scoring opportunities in the bottom half when McEachern and Maddie Neale reached base on singles with no outs. That’s when Brown hammered a pitch over the left-field fence to give the home team a 3-0 lead.
“Everyone’s hoping for a fastball [in that situation], and that’s kind of what I was hoping for: not quite a curve and not quite a rise ball but something right down the middle,” Brown said. “That’s what I got.”
Brown knew her hit was a big one when she saw assistant coach Mike Clark going wild as she rounded first base. It wasn’t until she saw the ball clear the fence as she made her way to second, though, that she realized just how hard she had smacked it.
“It’s one of those things where I don’t even remember hitting the ball,” Brown said. “Mike was jumping up and down as I got to first base, and then I saw Maddie, and she was almost at third already. Then I saw it go over, and I was just really, really happy.”
Ellsworth, though, would not go down without a fight. Kayla Duhaime, Trinity Montigny, Chipman and Sydney Stevens cut MDI’s lead to 3-1 with four straight singles to start the seventh, and Isabelle Perry made it 3-2 one batter later with a sacrifice fly. Yet after McEachern recorded the inning’s second out on a strikeout, Olivia Gray caught a fly ball in right field to preserve the Trojans’ win.
McEachern pitched a complete game for MDI, striking out 10 batters and not conceding a single walk to finish the year with a 7-6 record, 136 strikeouts and 1.17 ERA. Lily Cook had a team-high two hits for the Trojans to bring her total on the season to 14.
With the Senior Day win, MDI secured a home game in the Class B North preliminary round. Whereas a loss would’ve pitted the Trojans on the road against Gardiner or in a rematch against Ellsworth, a win earned the team’s seniors Cook, McEachern, Hannah Chamberlain and Mackenzie Dyer one more game in Bar Harbor.