Searsport traveled nearly 140 miles Thursday to play in an Eastern Class C quarterfinal playoff game against Calais that was a pitchers’ duel in every sense of the term. The long bus ride did not pay off for the Vikings, however, as they fell 1-0 to the Blue Devils and hurler Adam Geel, abruptly ending SDHS’ postseason journey.

The No. 6 Vikings (7-9-1), who had one hit and one error in Thursday’s playoff, lost in one of the toughest manners as the winning run came home on a balk in the bottom of the seventh inning. The game was scoreless until the final stanza.

No. 3 Calais, which had two hits and two errors in Thursday’s playoff game,  improves to 13-3 and moves on to the semifinal round.

“We just got beat by a better team, but not from a lack of effort” said veteran SDHS coach Dave Pepin. “We were well-prepared and the kids gave it all they had, but we just ran into a buzzsaw in the Geel kid.”

In what Pepin called the “best game of his career,” Evan Kingsbury pitched for the Vikings. He allowed two hits and two walks, with nine strikeouts. Kingsbury also had Searsport’s lone hit, a two-out single.

Geel pitched for Calais and gave up a hit and a walk, with nine strikeouts.

For Calais, Jesse Clark had a single in the fifth inning, stole second and then was picked off.

The lone run of the game came in the bottom of the seventh inning when Josh Gillespie led with a single, stole second and third then scored the lone run of the game on a balk.

Pepin said the game was all about pitching and that both youngsters on the mound gave strong efforts. He praised Kingsbury for having an “awesome” game and said that Geel “was the best [pitcher] I’ve faced in the seven years I’ve been coaching high school baseball.”

That is high praise considering Pepin has led the Vikings to regional and state championship seasons against many qualify opponents over the seasons.

Of the 24 batters Searsport sent to the plate Thursday, Geel, a sophomore, threw 21 first-pitch strikes. “We tried to work the pitcher, but he was awesome. He was hitting the spots and so was Evan,” Pepin said.

Pepin also said he was happy with the team’s four freshmen Buddy Ellis, Alex Carroll, Darren Harriman and Zachary Beaudry, who all played their hearts out. “I was just so very proud of them,” Pepin said. “To start four freshmen against a veteran team and we played great defense behind Evan [was amazing].”

However, Pepin did not forget his two seniors, Kingsbury and Josiah Brazier, who he called the leaders of the squad. He said they had strong seasons, helped guide the team as far as it got, and will be missed.

Overall, the coach was pleased with the way the season went. According to him, the Vikings were underestimated this year and did better than many expected.

Among the regular-season highlights, the Vikings knocked off Foxcroft Academy, the No. 1 team in Eastern Class C, to hand the Ponies their only loss of the spring and also twice beat state Class D championship contender Deer Isle-Stonington.

“The kids really overachieved, I thought, and had a great year,” Pepin said. “I’m very, very proud of the season. Just a great bunch of kids. [They] competed hard and played their guts out for me so I’m just blessed to have had them.”

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