When two Viking clans clash over diamond spoils, surely there is bound to be moments of disappointment, excitement, apprehension, relief and, finally, celebration for the victors.

Those things certainly played out on Thursday afternoon, June 7, with the ultimate prize for the survivor not more land or people to rule, but an opportunity to advance in the Class D South high school softball tournament.

The No. 4 Searsport Vikings (9-9) and No. 5 Vinalhaven-North Haven Vikings (7-6) proved they were well-matched and their battle for diamond supremacy might have gone either way, but it was the hosts who walked off with a 4-2 quarterfinal playoff win.

Watch video, and see more photos, below.

With the victory, Searsport, which last won a playoff game four years ago when they advanced to the regional finals, earned the right to play at No. 1 Greenville (16-1) in the semifinals, losing 10-6 on Saturday, June 9.

The Viking squads did not meet during the regular season. However, Greenville downed Searsport in both ends of a regular-season doubleheader — 8-3 and 13-1.

As with most Nos. 4-5 playoff battles, Thursday's encounter held plenty of intensity, drama and intrigue. The visitors led early and hosts late before Searsport prevailed by two runs.

In breezy, but warm conditions, the opponents fought hard to take and keep the upper hand.

Vinalhaven-North Haven employed an interesting — and effective — early strategy of not starting hard-throwing pitcher Gilleyanne Davis-Oakes, but have her — and tremendous athleticism — roam the outfield for better overall defense. That strategy played dividends early as Davis-Oakes made several stellar plays, including one standout sliding catch.

In fact, with the slower-throwing Ashlyn Littlefield at work in the circle, the islanders used solid defense to grab an early lead. However, behind the strong, sometimes dominant, pitching of Jenna Keach, patience at the plate and aggressive base running, the hosts eventually prevailed.

"It is definitely huge," Keach said of the playoff victory. "This is the farthest we have gotten over the past few years. For me being out in the circle it is a big job because you always have the ball and everyone depends on you. It is a lot to handle but it is a lot of fun. Everyone loves [softball]. It is a great time. I had a really good season. It has been a lot of fun."

Vinalhaven-North Haven scored one run in the first and fourth innings, while Searsport countered with one in the second and fourth and two in the fifth.

Keach was solid in the pitching circle, as she allowed five hits, two walks and struck out 13. Littlefield pitched the first five innings, as she allowed eight hits, walked one, hit a batter and struck out one. Davis-Oakes pitched the sixth, when she walked one and struck out two.

Offensively for the winners, who came out with plenty of spirit (game-long cheers and faces painted, for example), Abby Stemp (steal), Ashton Wells (single, 2 steals), Makenzie Alley (single, 2 steals, run), Keach (single, run), Makenna Woodward (2 singles, 2 steals), Arianna Stemp (single, 2 steals, 2 runs), Madison Young (single) and Mikaela Alley (double) led the charge.

Arianna Stemp, Woodward and Audrey Walker are seniors, who played Thursday's game a few hours before their graduation that night.

For the islanders, Déja Doughty (single, steal, run), Davis-Oakes (single, steal), Littlefield (single), Bickford (single, run) and Hope Cluff (single) proved keys. Cluff, interestingly, is an eighth-grader and knocked in a run.

"Everything pretty much had to be perfect," said Vinalhaven-North Haven coach Doug Littlefield, adding that Nos. 4-5 playoff matchups often are close affairs, as Thursday's game. "We made all the plays in the outfield, Ashlyn pitched a good game. We had a couple of mistakes.They are really fast base runners. They are a good school and a good team. It could have gone either way."

The coach said he felt the islanders had a strong season and the opponents they lost to were, ultimately, ranked higher in the final standings. "We have had a good run," coach Littlefield said.

Davis-Oakes, one of the islanders' senior three-sport stalwarts, said, "I think I needed this game because this game, especially this being a playoff game and a close game, it really helped me gain a little bit more love for the sport. I felt having Ashlyn pitch, knowing she is hittable, knowing there is going to be a lot of balls in the field, it is my job to make the plays. She is pitching so I can clean it up. I was out in the outfield for that reason. With my competitive spirit, I'm obviously going to try my hardest anyway, and knowing it is a playoff game and a close game, I had to try that much harder."

Davis-Oakes said she just tried to make a play on any ball that came to her, including a sweet diving play in the middle of the game. "I looked at my center fielder (Doughty) and said, 'I'm shocked,' " about catching the ball.

Davis-Oakes said while she usually pitches, she enjoys playing the field and the team, overall, often plays better defense when Ashlyn Littlefield works in the pitching circle.

In front of a large crowd of on-lookers, the visitors grabbed a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning as Doughty walked and moved to third on a single to center by Davis-Oakes. Doughty scored on a passed ball.

Searsport stranded two runners in the bottom of the opening frame, and, after Stemp struck out the side in the top of the second, the hosts tied the score in the bottom of the stanza. Arianna Stemp singled with one out and eventually scampered around the bases.

Doughty (hit) and Davis-Oakes (walk) were stranded on the bases in the third inning, before the visitors took a 2-1 advantage in the fourth as Bickford led with a single to center field and eventually scored on Cluff's infield hit down the first-base line.

Searsport tied the game 2-2 in the bottom of the frame as Arianna Stemp walked and scored on Mikaela Alley's ringing double down the left-field line.

Keach kept the islanders at bay in the fifth frame before Searsport took a 4-2 advantage in the bottom of the stanza. With one out, Makenzie Alley singled and aggressive base running, coupled with an error, enabled her and Keach to cross the plate in the inning.

Keach retired six of the final batters she faced, with only Doughty, who reached base three times, ripped a one-out single in the seventh. Davis-Oakes represented the tying run, but grounded out to third.

Davis-Oakes said being the final person to bat for her team in Thursday's playoff game was fine and she relishes those moments in the spotlight because she does not let the pressure bother her as a pitcher or batter. In this case, however, she just happened to ground out to end the contest.

Keach said Searsport players and coach have a lot of spirit and love for softball and the players like to cheer, shout encouragement to one another, wear face paint and even color their nails to keep the spirit high.

"We always used to get pumped up in the fifth inning, which was always a little late for us, so we have started to say be pumped up for the entire game," Keach said. "Have a lot of spirit because it really helps us out because we get to have so much fun and keeps everyone up."

She said if someone gets upset about an error or strikeout, they do not stay that way long because the rest of the players bring up her spirit to keep the motivation and teamwork high.

Searsport coach Christin Chase, in her third season as coach (she also is Keach's sister), said, "It was a good game. They tried to mix us up having a slower pitcher in there [Ashlyn Littlefield rather than Davis-Oakes]," which led to pop-ups. After Chase told the players to meet the ball in the middle and hit line drives, as well as play small ball by bunting when necessary, things worked out for the hosts.

"They did everything that they needed to do and I can't ask anything else of them," Chase said.

Thursday's game also marked the final high school athletic event for seven island seniors, six of whom were members of a four-year basketball dynasty, which included two trips to the state final and the school's first gold ball.

Those seniors were Davis-Oakes, Littlefield, Amber Shane, Paige Dennison, Bickford and Doughty. Classmate Carolyn Hopkins also was a key member of the softball team.

All or most of those student-athletes helped the island soccer, softball and basketball programs experience remarkably consistent success for four years.

"It has been fun watching them," coach Littlefield said. "We are going to have to try to find it again in the lower grades. These seven girls have done really well. They play well together and it is a good group. It is going to be hard to see them go [as a parent and coach]. They have to move on eventually. These girls were all just playing Little League and now they are all graduating from high school."

Now the island Vikings must reload — while the mainland Vikings live to fight another day.

"I think with a good rest we will be on our game and the girls are ready," coach Chase said of the upcoming semifinal playoff clash with talented, top-ranked Greenville.