After self-destructing in a 12-6 loss to Brewer on May 18 — in which the Witches scored 10 runs in the seventh inning to erase a 6-2 deficit — the Mount Desert Island High School softball team had a reality check.
“That was a real eye-opener for us,” said MDI senior catcher Olivia Gray. “We didn’t want to play like that any more. So we really stepped it up in practices and in games.”
That wake-up call has led to three impressive victories over fellow Class B North contenders Ellsworth (3-2), Old Town (3-2) and Hermon (9-1).
“That game turned us around,” said seventh-year head coach Jamey Lewis. “The girls were pretty upset after the game. And they have been playing really good ball ever since.”
Mount Desert Island is now 10-3 entering its final three regular season games, two at Presque Isle on Saturday and a rematch at home with Ellsworth next Wednesday. Mount Desert Island is currently sitting in third place in the Class B North Heal point standings behind Nokomis of Newport and Ellsworth.
Lewis has almost her entire team back from last year, when the seventh-seeded Trojans went 8-7 and got upset by No. 10 John Bapst of Bangor 11-7 in the preliminary round of the playoffs.
MDI had won both regular season games.
“We still talk about that,” Gray said. “We aren’t going to let that happen this year.”
MDI hasn’t won a playoff game since 2014, when it went 11-5 during the regular season and beat Camden Hills in its first playoff game before losing to Old Town 10-9 in the quarterfinals.
In the six seasons leading up to this spring, the Trojans have gone a combined 40-55 during the regular season and are 0-5 in the playoffs.
Lewis came into the season expecting her team to swing the bats well.
“We’ve been working on our hitting for a few years,” Lewis said. “Just about everyone has been making contact and that’s all we can ask for. They’ve done a great job.”
Through their first 12 games, Mount Desert Island had six regulars hitting .415 or better and six with at least seven runs batted in.
The Trojans’ team batting average was .415 and they were averaging 8.5 runs per game.
Speedy senior center fielder Bailey Goodell was hitting a team-best .550 and she was also leading the team in stolen bases with 13. She was tied for second in doubles with five.
“The progress she has made from her freshman to her senior year has been phenomenal,” said Lewis, adding that Goodell is also an exceptional outfielder.
Sophomore first baseman Grace Horner was at .525 with seven RBIs; junior shortstop Lily James was hitting .463 with nine RBIs; sophomore right fielder Mollie Gray, Olivia’s sister, was at .444 and was leading the team in RBIs (11) and doubles (7); junior pitcher Addy Boyce was at .419 with 10 RBIs; and Olivia Gray was hitting .415 with 10 RBIs and five doubles.
James was second in stolen bases with nine.
Senior third baseman Leah Carroll had a team-high three triples and was at .341 and freshman left fielder Lexi Tozier was hitting a respectable .292.
Freshman Taylor Grant was hitting .333 as the designated player and Soren Hopkins-Goff was the second baseman who had two hits in 10 at-bats.
Juniors Gracie Parker and Kylie Dowsland are outfielders and sophomore Brooke Goff-Perreault is an infielder.
Mike Clark is Lewis’ assistant coach.
Boyce has had a strong season in the circle. She was 6-3 with a 2.00 earned-run average and 73 strikeouts in 56 innings through 12 games.
She was a first team All-Penobscot Valley Conference Class B selection a year ago.
“Addy has been a beast in the circle. She has done everything we have asked of her,” said Lewis. “She is pitching with more confidence this season.”
“She has been really strong,” said Olivia Gray, a second team All-PVC pick last season.
Goodell and Grant also pitch. Goodell was 2-0 with a 1.91 ERA and 19 strikeouts in 11 innings and Grant was 1-0 with a 1.00 ERA and 12 strikeouts in seven innings.
With the exception of the Brewer game, the team has been solid defensively.