MDI softball, EHS baseball teams win rivalry nail-biters on regular season’s final day

first_img Bio Hospice volunteers help families navigate grief and find hope – September 12, 2020 Latest posts by Mike Mandell (see all) BAR HARBOR — On adjacent sides of the Mount Desert Island High School parking lot, fans watching the Ellsworth and Mount Desert Island baseball and softball teams spent nearly three hours on the edges of their seats.Even with a 30-minute difference in start times between softball and baseball games, the action had fans of both schools craning their necks and running back and forth as they followed the claps and screams from both fields. With playoff seedings hanging in the balance, it took until the final pitch for each game to be decided.The baseball and softball regular seasons came to an end Friday with two instant classics between Ellsworth and MDI in Bar Harbor. Neither the Trojans’ 3-2 win in the softball matchup nor the Eagles’ 6-4 baseball triumph in extra innings was decided until the final pitch, leaving the Class B North playoff picture in flux until the dust settled.Ellsworth’s Kayla Duhaime bats as MDI’s Lily Cook catches during the fourth inning of a high school softball game May 31 in Bar Harbor. The Trojans won the game 3-2 to earn a season sweep of the Eagles. ELLSWORTH AMERICAN PHOTO BY MIKE MANDELL“You know it’s going to be a battle whenever you come down here to MDI,” Ellsworth head baseball coach Dan Curtis said. “It doesn’t matter who’s got what record or any of that. You’ve got to be prepared to go in there and fight the entire way.”This is placeholder textThis is placeholder textThe afternoon began on the softball field, where a pitchers’ duel quickly emerged between MDI’s Lindsey McEachern and Ellsworth’s Mackenzie Chipman. With both staff aces in strikeout mode, the teams found themselves in a scoreless deadlock through five innings.After McEachern sent the Eagles down in order in the top of the sixth inning, the Trojans (9-7) got one of the game’s few scoring opportunities in the bottom half when McEachern and Maddie Neale reached base on singles with no outs. That’s when junior Ruby Brown blasted a home run over the left-field fence to give MDI a 3-0 lead.Brown knew her hit was a big one when she saw assistant coach Mike Clark going wild as she rounded first base. It wasn’t until she saw the ball clear the fence as she made her way to second, though, that she realized just how hard she had smacked it.“It’s one of those things where I don’t even remember hitting the ball,” said Brown, whose home run was the first of her career. “Mike was jumping up and down as I got to first base, and then I saw Maddie, and she was almost at third already. Then I saw it go over, and I was just really, really happy.”Ellsworth, though, would not go down without a fight. Kayla Duhaime, Trinity Montigny, Chipman and Sydney Stevens cut MDI’s lead to 3-1 with four straight singles to start the seventh, and Isabelle Perry made it 3-2 one batter later with a sacrifice fly. Yet after McEachern recorded the inning’s second out on a strikeout, Olivia Gray caught a fly ball in right field to preserve the Trojans’ win.MDI’s Ruby Brown blasts a home run to left field during the sixth inning of a high school softball game against Ellsworth on May 31 in Bar Harbor. The three-run homer was the first of Brown’s career. ELLSWORTH AMERICAN PHOTO BY MIKE MANDELLMcEachern struck out 10 batters for MDI in the win, and Chipman fanned eight for Ellsworth as neither pitcher walked a single batter. Lily Cook and Montigny had two hits apiece to lead the Trojans and Eagles, respectively.On the baseball diamond, the Eagles took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning before MDI (8-8) scored a run apiece in the first and second to take a 2-1 lead. Yet Ellsworth responded with an RBI single from Matt Burnett in the third and RBI double from Nate Smith in the fourth to take a 3-2 lead.Although Ellsworth pitcher Conner Wagstaff bounced back from allowing those two early runs with scoreless third, fourth and fifth innings, the senior had to depart in the sixth as he reached the 110-pitch limit. Yet the Eagles got a clutch inning from reliever Devin Grindle, who escaped a bases-loaded jam to keep the visitors on top.“We stranded a lot of runners, and they did, too,” MDI head coach Andy Pooler said. “That’s just a testament to some very good pitching and some good defensive plays from both sides.”The two teams went to extra innings after one run from Ellsworth and two from MDI in the seventh, and the score remained tied 4-4 after a scoreless eighth. Yet after the Trojans turned a double play in the top of the ninth, the Eagles mounted a two-out rally that resulted in Wagstaff scoring on a passed ball and Michael Palmer scoring from second base on an RBI single from Smith.MDI threatened Ellsworth’s lead in the bottom of the ninth when Drew Shea stepped up with two outs and a runner on second base. The Trojans’ leading hitter gave the visitors a real scare with a deep fly ball to left-center field, but Wagstaff tracked it down with a long run to the gap before securing it in his glove to end the game.“I just started running as fast as I could,” Wagstaff said. “I knew I had a shot to get it if I did that. If I don’t get it, there’s a good chance the game keeps going, and I didn’t want that to happen.”MDI sophomore Sam Mitchell pitches during the third inning of a high school baseball game against Ellsworth on May 31 in Bar Harbor. ELLSWORTH AMERICAN PHOTO BY MIKE MANDELLGrindle got the win for Ellsworth with six strikeouts in four innings after Wagstaff allowed two runs in five innings, and Porter Isaacs took the loss for MDI with three runs allowed in five innings of relief. Burnett had four hits for the Eagles, and Sam Keblinsky had a game-high five for the Trojans.The game being tied 4-4 entering the ninth inning gave Wagstaff a flashback to last year’s game at MDI High School, in which the Trojans defeated the Eagles 5-4. That game also saw Ellsworth and MDI enter the ninth at four runs apiece, and Wagstaff and the Eagles were determined this time to avoid another loss in Bar Harbor.“Looking up at the scoreboard and seeing the same score in the same inning on the same field, that was definitely a feeling of déjà vu,” Wagstaff said. “Give credit to Devin because he did a great job of coming on and pitching his way through all those tough innings.”Ellsworth, which clinched the No. 1 seed in Class B North on Thursday with an 11-1 win over Washington Academy, has earned a bye to the regional quarterfinals. MDI will have the No. 5 seed and will host a preliminary round game against John Bapst (7-9) on Tuesday, June 4.Both softball teams will play in Tuesday’s preliminary round. Eighth-ranked MDI will host No. 9 Erskine Academy (9-7), and 10th-ranked Ellsworth will travel to play No. 7 Gardiner (11-5). Mike MandellMike Mandell is the sports editor at The Ellsworth American and Mount Desert Islander. He began working for The American in August 2016. You can reach him via email at [email protected]center_img Ellsworth runners compete in virtual Boston Marathon – September 16, 2020 Latest Posts MPA approves golf, XC, field hockey, soccer; football, volleyball moved to spring – September 10, 2020last_img

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