Host Belfast lost to Medomak Valley 2-1 Wednesday after seven hard-fought, competitive innings between talented high school softball squads. At the time of the game, it was not clear that both teams would advance to the regional playoffs but, even with the one-run loss, the Lions have a foot in the postseason door and will move on.

The Panthers, the two-time defending regional champions, had held a regional playoff position all season and, in fact, may even play for the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B championship on their own field, depending on how things shake down.

Medomak Valley (13-3, 116.2109 Heal Points) is fourth in Eastern Class B and Belfast (9-7, 62.8906 points) 10th in the same region. The top 10 squads qualify for the regional playoffs. Hermon (14-2, 162.5000 points) is first in the region. Belfast edged 11th-ranked Presque Isle (7-9, 60.9375 points) for the final playoff spot.

Maranacook of Readfield (14-2, 139.4531 points), which is second in Western Class B, is ranked first in the KVAC Class B ranks. Tied for second — and being one of the teams that will play the Black Bears for the league crown on Saturday, June 5 at 11 a.m. at Medomak Valley in Waldoboro — is Medomak Valley, Lincoln Academy of Newcastle or Oak Hill of Sabattus, all with identical 13-3 records and 116.2109 points.

It has been determined Medomak Valley will fill the second spot and play in the KVAC final against Maranacook. During the regular season, Medomak Valley beat both Lincoln Academy and Oak Hill, but also lost to Lincoln Academy. Oak Hill beat Lincoln Academy.

On Wednesday in a makeup game from Tuesday (postponed due to rain), Kayla Santheson pitched for Medomak Valley and allowed three hits, with six strikeouts. Victoria Overlock pitched for the hosts and gave up three hits and three walks, with eight strikeouts. Overlock also hit two batters.

Vanessa Davis had a single and a triple and Kasey Benner a single for Medomak Valley. Heidi Obuchon and Benner each scored for the Panthers.

Hayley Ray led the Lions with a single and a run and Overlock and Killyan Richards each had a single.

“The game was phenomenal,” said Belfast coach Chris Bartlett. “I told [the team] at the end of the game that if anybody had just stopped by and saw the game and didn’t know what the standings were or where each team was in the playoff hunt they would have thought it was a championship-caliber game.”

Medomak Valley coach Richard Vannah said he was proud of the level of play by his squad. “Kayla pitched very, very well,” he said. “[She] hit her spots, changed up, was working really well and the defense clamped down after the first inning. They did a good job.”

Vannah said the win was “mostly a lot of good pitches [turning into] weak hits.”

In the first inning, Medomak Valley, which also beat the Lions 3-2 earlier this season, scored two runs and Belfast responded with one. At that point, Bartlett said, it was a defensive game. In fact, for most of the seven innings, pitching and defense dominated.

“Both teams played great,” Bartlett said. “Defensively, both teams made some really great plays and I’m proud the way the girls settled down and the way they came out and played.”

Coach Vannah said that although his team is strong and playoff-ready there is room for improvement. “We are not getting our [base] runners in. We are leaving a lot of girls on base, but overall our team is playing very well. Our defense has gotten a lot tighter from the beginning of the year and our pitcher has really come on strong. Stronger, stronger as the year goes on and that’s what’s taking us to the top.”

Bartlett said when his team came onto the field for Wednesday’s regular-season finale against Medomak Valley the players were nervous about the available Heal Points from the game and getting into the playoffs, but even with the loss, the Lions appear to have earned a postseason spot.

Now, Bartlett said the Lions will probably travel to play at No. 7 Caribou (8-8, 81.0574 points) for a prelim playoff game on Tuesday, June 8. Caribou has beaten Old Town and Hermon, two of the region’s top teams.

“Caribou has the ability to beat some teams,” Bartlett said. “I know they have put some runs on the board. So I have just got to find out some information on them and just prepare like you would playing any other softball game. Because, really, that’s all it is, just another softball game, and we need to be relaxed.”

Village NetMedia Sports Reporter Frederick Freudenberger can be reached at 207-594-4401 or by e-mail at fritz@villagesoup.com.