BREWER — The Searsport District High School softball team did nothing on Saturday, June 19 at Coffin Field it had not done all season.

Aggressive baserunning. Timely hitting. And another supreme pitching performance in the circle for sophomore hurler Ana Lang.

Those three facets of the game again converged Saturday in the state Class D championship game, though, this time, the end result saw the Vikings claim their first Maine title in 23 years with an 8-3 victory over previously-undefeated Ashland.

It was Searsport’s first state championship since 1998, when it won the Class C crown.

Team members for Searsport, coached by Christin Chase, Sharon Keech and Greg Keech, include Makenzie Alley, Abby Astbury, Kallie Boutot, Isabelle Campbell, Sarah Gent, Jordan Greeley, Hunter Kronholm, Adrianna Lang, Lily Nadeau, Kyla Perkins, Samantha Perkins, Cassidy Priest, Emma Spiegel, Mykenzie Tripp and Laura Warman.

In the South playoffs, Searsport (13-6) defeated No. 9 Greenville 13-1 in five innings in the quarterfinal round, bested No. 5 Buckfield 4-1 in the semifinals and beat No. 6. St. Dominic Academy of Auburn 7-1 in the regional final.

Searsport District High School softball team, the 2021 state Class D champion. Zack Miller

Searsport District High School baseball and softball teams, 2021 state Class D champions. Zack Miller

Team members for Ashland, coached by Terry Hunter, Tammy Donovan and Hope Doughty, include Kaitlyn Ferro, Jamie Poulin, Hailee Cunningham, Danni Carter, Willow Hall, Sidney St. Peter, Mia Carney, Gabby Ayotte, Kayla Maclean, Darby Clark, Ralli Condon, Ellie Calhoun, Michaela Camey, Maggie Landeen, Abby Doughty and Cailin Brown.

In the North playoffs, Ashland (17-1) defeated No. 8 Southern Aroostrook of Mars Hill 12-6 in the quarterfinals, No. 5 Machias 14-7 in the semifinals and No. 2 Stearns of Millinocket 8-7 in the regional final.

Saturday marked Searsport’s first state championship berth since 1998. The Vikings also made the state finals in 1997, 1993 and 1978, all in Class C, winning in 1998 and 1978.

Previously, the Vikings won state Class C titles in 1978 and 1998, as they beat Madison 17-14 and 4-3, respectively. Searsport also lost in the state Class C final in 1997 (1-0 to Madison) and 1993 (10-1 to Falmouth).

“It’s a relief,” said coach Chase of winning states in 2021. “We worked so hard and I’m just so beyond proud of them. Especially we got a little bit down because Sarah got injured in warmups, but we did it for her.”

Searsport could have had its confidence rattled when it learned less than an hour before the game catcher Sarah Gent, a Penobscot Valley Conference second-team all-star, was injured in pregame warmups and would not be available to play in the state championship.

Gent was hit in the face with a ball, broke a blood vessel in her eye and suffered major swelling.

Thus, Mykenzie Tripp was thrust into the starting backstop role, no easy task, because she needed to catch Lang, one of the best pitchers in the state.

Tripp worked through jitters in the early innings with a few passed balls and had to throw out a few batters at first after dropped third strikes, but settled into the game in the later innings as the Vikings’ lead continued to swell.

“She did amazing,” said Alley of Tripp’s job behind the plate. “It’s honestly unreal. Most people couldn’t do that with an average pitcher and Ana’s unreal. Kenzie didn’t let much by her, and that’s amazing. But Sarah’s the best. I love Sarah. We did this for her. She was here with us whether she was here or not.”

“Kenzie was my catcher in middle school,” said Lang. “It wasn’t a big difference. In the first inning it was weird getting her into the groove because Kenzie hasn’t caught all season. It’s all been Sarah. After that she was great back there. We didn’t miss a beat.”

Searsport scored two runs in the first inning, tacked on four more in the third and single runs in the fourth and fifth frames, while Ashland plated two in the sixth and one in the seventh.

Lang had another banner performance in the pitching circle for the Vikings as she allowed two hits and one walk, with 11 strikeouts. Ferro pitched for the Hornets and allowed eight hits, six walks and three hit batters, with six strikeouts.

The Vikings were led at the plate by Greeley (single, run, stolen base), Nadeau (run, stolen base), Alley (2 singles, 2 runs, 3 stolen bases), Lang (double, single, 2 runs, 2 stolen bases), Spiegel (3 singles, run) and Kyla Perkins (run).

For the Hornets, Ayotte (single, run), Cunningham (single), Doughty (run) and Landeen (run) paced the offense.

Greeley got Searsport on the board quickly as she drew a walk in the first, stole second on the first pitch and motored to third base on a sacrifice bunt by Nadeau.

Then, with the corner infielders in, Alley, executed a perfect bunt single between the pitcher and first baseman that allowed Greeley to score the game’s first run.

Alley stole second and third base and Spiegel’s line-drive single plated Alley to give the Vikings a 2-0 lead.

It was one of four stolen bases in the first inning, which set the tone for the rest of the game for the Vikings.

“We’ve tried to be really aggressive all year,” said Chase. “Our plan was to score first.”

The Vikings then opened the game with a four-run third inning, which started with what would have been a double to left for Greeley, but the southpaw was called out after she had stepped out of the batters box before she made contact.

Nadeau was hit by a pitch, stole second and moved to third on a single to left-center by Alley.

After Alley stole second, Lang roped a two-run double that plugged the gap in left-center field to put the Vikings ahead 4-0. Lang scored on a single by Spiegel, who scampered home when she stole third base and to the plate when the throw trickled into left field to give the visitors a six-run lead.

Kyla Perkins drew a walk to start the fourth and moved to second on a passed ball. Greeley laid down what was supposed to be a sacrifice bunt, but turned into an RBI-single when she beat the throw on a close play and Perkins, displaying heads-up base running, came around to score to make it 7-0.

Lang scored Searsport’s final run of the game in the fifth after she ripped a one-out single, stole second and moved to third on a bloop single by Spiegel, who took second base on the throw to third.

Then, on a heads-up play with Samantha Perkins at the plate, Lang broke for the plate and scored on the throw back to the pitcher to put the Vikings up 8-0.

“The pitcher turned the other way whenever she got the ball back,” she said. “I just went for it.”

Searsport loaded the bases in the frame, but, ultimately settled for the one run.

Ashland scored two runs in the sixth on an error and an RBI-ground out and another on an RBI-single in the seventh by Cunningham, but got no closer.

“It’s the best thing that’s ever happened to me,” said Alley, a senior, of the state championship. “And I’ll never forget it.”

Lang said the school’s baseball team, which also played Machias for the state title on Saturday in Bangor, has earned back-to-back state crowns in the past so, in 2022, she and her Viking teammates will try to accomplish the same thing on the softball diamond.

“I think it’s our turn,” she said. “We’ll see.”

Scene from Searsport and Ashland on June 19 in high school softball in Brewer. Zack Miller

Scene from Searsport and Ashland on June 19 in high school softball in Brewer. Zack Miller

Scene from Searsport and Ashland on June 19 in high school softball in Brewer. Zack Miller

Scene from Searsport and Ashland on June 19 in high school softball in Brewer. Zack Miller

Scene from Searsport and Ashland on June 19 in high school softball in Brewer. Zack Miller

Scene from Searsport and Ashland on June 19 in high school softball in Brewer. Zack Miller

Scene from Searsport and Ashland on June 19 in high school softball in Brewer. Zack Miller

Scene from Searsport and Ashland on June 19 in high school softball in Brewer. Zack Miller

Scene from Searsport and Ashland on June 19 in high school softball in Brewer. Zack Miller

Scene from Searsport and Ashland on June 19 in high school softball in Brewer. Zack Miller

Scene from Searsport and Ashland on June 19 in high school softball in Brewer. Zack Miller

Scene from Searsport and Ashland on June 19 in high school softball in Brewer. Zack Miller

Scene from Searsport and Ashland on June 19 in high school softball in Brewer. Zack Miller

Scene from Searsport and Ashland on June 19 in high school softball in Brewer. Zack Miller

Scene from Searsport and Ashland on June 19 in high school softball in Brewer. Zack Miller

Scene from Searsport and Ashland on June 19 in high school softball in Brewer. Zack Miller

Scene from Searsport and Ashland on June 19 in high school softball in Brewer. Zack Miller

Scene from Searsport and Ashland on June 19 in high school softball in Brewer. Zack Miller

Scene from Searsport and Ashland on June 19 in high school softball in Brewer. Zack Miller

Scene from Searsport and Ashland on June 19 in high school softball in Brewer. Zack Miller

Scene from Searsport and Ashland on June 19 in high school softball in Brewer. Zack Miller

Scene from Searsport and Ashland on June 19 in high school softball in Brewer. Zack Miller

Scene from Searsport and Ashland on June 19 in high school softball in Brewer. Zack Miller

Scene from Searsport and Ashland on June 19 in high school softball in Brewer. Zack Miller

Scene from Searsport and Ashland on June 19 in high school softball in Brewer. Zack Miller

Scene from Searsport and Ashland on June 19 in high school softball in Brewer. Zack Miller

Scene from Searsport and Ashland on June 19 in high school softball in Brewer. Zack Miller

Scene from Searsport and Ashland on June 19 in high school softball in Brewer. Zack Miller

Scene from Searsport and Ashland on June 19 in high school softball in Brewer. Zack Miller

Scene from Searsport and Ashland on June 19 in high school softball in Brewer. Zack Miller

Scene from Searsport and Ashland on June 19 in high school softball in Brewer. Zack Miller

Scene from Searsport and Ashland on June 19 in high school softball in Brewer. Zack Miller

Scene from Searsport and Ashland on June 19 in high school softball in Brewer. Zack Miller

Scene from Searsport and Ashland on June 19 in high school softball in Brewer. Zack Miller