BREWER, Maine — It was a memorable day for Mattanawcook Academy of Lincoln batterymates Jennie Whitten and Ava Sutherland.
Junior Whitten fired a one-hitter and sophomore catcher Sutherland had four hits as the second-seeded Lynx captured the school’s first Class C North softball championship since 2001 by virtue of a 10-0 win over No. 5 Orono at Coffin Field in Brewer Tuesday afternoon.
The game ended when Sutherland tripled with two outs in the bottom of the sixth and scored on a throwing error, which invoked the 10-run rule.
Mattanawcook is now 19-1 and extended its winning streak to 15 games.
Kristen Espling’s Red Riots had won six in a row in a 10-10 campaign and were seeking their first regional title in program history.
Whitten was in command from the opening pitch.
She struck out 13, didn’t walk anybody and allowed just one baserunner when senior right fielder Julianna Morrison reached out and hooked a one-out single into shallow left field with one out in the third inning.
Whitten threw 77 pitches with 56 of them being strikes. She only had one three-ball count through her six innings against an Orono team that had scored 26 runs in its three playoff wins.
The Libbeys are sharing a fun season, with Mattanawcook back among the contenders after two rare losing seasons.
“My spins were key. I wasn’t giving them anything down the middle,” said Whitten, an All-Penobscot Valley Conference Class C North first team selection. “I didn’t expect that many strikeouts because it’s the playoffs. But I’m happy with the outcome.”
“Jennie threw a phenomenal game,” said Mattanawcook coach Dean Libbey. “This may have been her best game and why not have it right now.”
Sutherland, who is also a first team All-PVC selection, had a single and two bunt singles to go with her triple and she drove in three runs.
Sophomore second baseman Natalie Tash and senior left fielder Olivia Veillette had two singles apiece for Mattanawcook, which has now scored 43 runs in its four playoff games.
Mattanawcook played errorless ball while Orono committed six errors.
The Lynx broke the game open with six runs in the fifth inning on four hits, two errors and a walk.
Pivotal play: Sutherland’s first-inning two-run single gave Whitten a valuable cushion and proved to be the only runs she was to need.
Ereka LaDuke drew a walk to open the first, stole second, moved to third on a groundout and was still at third after Whitten drew a two-out walk and stole second.
Sutherland fell behind 0-2 in the count, fouled off an 0-2 pitch and then took a ball before popping a fly ball into short left center field for her two-run base hit.
“I was looking to drive the ball,” Sutherland said.
Sutherland expanded the lead to 3-0 in the fourth inning as she beat out a bunt single and continued around the bases as the Riots threw the ball around. An infield throwing error on her bunt allowed her to reach second and she kept running.
Another throwing error allowed her to reach third and she kept running until she crossed the plate.
Big takeaway: With the hard-throwing Whitten in the circle, Mattanawcook Academy has a legitimate shot to earn its first state title since 2000. She’s always around the plate and the Rick Roberts protege has a variety of pitches to keep the hitters off-balance.
What’s next: Dean Libbey’s Lynx will face Class C South winner Hall-Dale, the defending state champ, in Saturday’s 2 p.m. state title game in Brewer. Hall-Dale, 18-0, beat Madison 1-0 in the C South final.