The Cinderella season for the Belfast softball team came to an end Thursday afternoon before it had a chance to get off the ground.

The No. 10 Lions battled tooth-and-nail with No. 2 Mattanawcook Academy of Lincoln over seven innings in the Eastern Class B quarterfinal playoff game, with both teams mustering only a combined five hits.

However, the Lynx outhit Belfast 3-2 and that one extra hit scored the game’s lone run as the Lions fell to Mattanawcook 1-0 in the regional playoffs.

Belfast had earned a quarterfinal playoff berth with a 4-1 win over No. 7 Caribou. Thus, the Lions hit the road for two postseason games, winning one and battling to the end in another.

On Thursday, Mattanawcook Academy’s Taylor Trask and Belfast’s Victoria Overlock were engaged in a terrific pitchers’ duel, while Trask narrowly prevailed in a two-hit shutout. She allowed no walks and struck out six. Overlock allowed three hits and one walk, while striking out nine.

“I am very proud of how the girls played,” said Belfast coach Chris Bartlett. “[Mattanawcook] is a good team and we showed that we were just as good as they are. We knew Trask was a good pitcher, but she would also be around the plate. [So] our game plan was to be aggressive and try to hit her first pitch so she couldn’t get to her other pitches. We hit the ball all game, just right at people. Unfortunately, we didn’t get the bounce they got.”

The Lynx (14-3) will now face No. 3 Bucksport (13-4), which defeated No. 6 Winslow 4-3 in another quarterfinal playoff game Thursday.

The Lions’ season ends at 10-8.

Belfast was led at the plate Thursday by Morgan Mansfield and Caroline Carr, who each singled for the visitors. Amanda Gulesian led Mattanawcook Academy offensively with two singles, while Brooke Hanscom added another base hit.

The lone run of the game was unearned and came in the second inning, as Mattanawcook Academy’s Jess Fortin hit a high chopper in the infield to the Belfast first baseman Carr. The senior turned and fired to the covering Mansfield at first, but the ball bounced off Mansfield’s glove as Fortin scampered in to second base.

Fortin later advanced to third on a passed ball and scored on Gulesian’s single.

Despite Belfast’s tough bounce — in the game and from the regional playoffs — Bartlett was impressed with the way his Lions stuck with one of Eastern Class B’s top teams until the end.

“It was an unbelievable game,” said Bartlett. “I told the girls that [Mattanawcook] would run the bases hard if they got people on and that is what they did.”

The Lions threatened to score in the fifth inning when Carr reached on a single up the middle and stole second, but was stranded in scoring position.

While Belfast ultimately fell short in its quest for a state title, Bartlett still was pleased with not only the way the young athletes played, but also the way they represented their school and community.

“We had a very successful season reaching the playoffs again and getting another playoff win against Caribou,” he said. “The girls have absolutely nothing to hang their heads about. They played a great game against a good team. Many residents in Lincoln
approached me after the game and commented on how good of a team we have.
I think that says a lot when you have fans from another community that step
up and comment on your team and players. [The Lions] need to be proud of their
accomplishments, each other and their season.”

Village NetMedia Associate Sports Director Mark Haskell can be reached at 207-594-4401 or by e-mail at mhaskell@villagesoup.com.