It has been a long time since the Searsport softball team qualified for the playoffs. Likely longer since the Vikings won a postseason game.

All that changed on Thursday afternoon, June 12 as the No. 4 Vikings hosted No. 5 Buckfield with a date against top-seeded, unbeaten Richmond on the line.

Searsport picked a perfect time to play its best game of the campaign as the Vikings swung to an early lead with timely hitting and held off the Bucks late en route to a 4-3 Western Class D quarterfinal playoff victory.

Click for photos from this game.

The Vikings (9-8) move on to the next round of the playoffs, where they will face host Richmond (14-0) on Saturday, June 14 at noon, weather permitting.

The Vikings and Bobcats do not play each other during the regular season. SDHS also did not play the Bucks during the season.

In Thursday's playoff encounter, leading the Vikings at the plate were Allison Walker (double, run), Brittany Ward (double, single), Melinda Ogden (single), Karigen Coffin (single, run) and Alivia Cross (2 runs).

For the Bucks, Kali Littlefield (double, single), Hannah Gallant (single), Gabby Theriault (single), Brianna Damon (double, single, run), Abby Fogg (single, run) and Sam Zak (run) paced the offense.

Ward pitched for Searsport, allowing seven hits and two walks, with seven strikeouts. Buckfield pitching allowed five hits and four walks, with five strikeouts.

“They played really hard,” said first-year Viking coach Cynthia Dehm. “This was the best game we've played all season. The girls brought it the whole game.”

Searsport scored thrice in the third inning and added what proved a crucial run in the fifth, while Buckfield scored two in the fifth and one in the seventh.

Coffin drew a walk to start the bottom of the third inning while Cross also drew a free pass later in the frame. Walker then belted an RBI-double to left field to plate Coffin and put the Vikings on the board. Ward plated Cross with an RBI-single followed by a sacrifice fly by Ogden to drive home Walker to give the hosts a three-run cushion.

Buckfield responded in the top of the fifth when Fogg and Damon scored on an error, but Searsport pushed its advantage to 4-2 in the bottom of the frame when Ward belted an RBI-single to plate Cross.

Zak came in to score on a fielder's choice in the top of the seventh inning to cut the Buckfield deficit to one run, but the tying run, in pinch runner Courtney Krough, was stranded at third base as Becca Cooper flew out to center field to end the exciting, down-to-the-wire playoff battle.