Lawrence catcher Haley Holt and Oxford Hills pinch runner Brooke Carson tangle up after Carson scored on an errant throw to first base.

Lawrence catcher Haley Holt and Oxford Hills pinch runner Brooke Carson tangle up after Carson scored on an errant throw to first base.

Lauren Merrill winds up.

Lauren Merrill winds up.

Oxford Hills third baseman Kenzie Kahkonen gets ready.

Oxford Hills third baseman Kenzie Kahkonen gets ready.

Oxford Hills’ pitcher Lauren Merrill, center, celebrates with battery mate Anna Piirainen and Kenzie Kahkonen after the win.

Oxford Hills’ pitcher Lauren Merrill, center, celebrates with battery mate Anna Piirainen and Kenzie Kahkonen after the win.

Oxford Hills Hannah Kenney gets tagged out by Lawrence catcher Haley Holt. Kenney was eventually awarded third base because of an interference call.

Oxford Hills Hannah Kenney gets tagged out by Lawrence catcher Haley Holt. Kenney was eventually awarded third base because of an interference call.

PARIS — The way Lawrence’s Lilly Herrin was pitching early, Oxford Hills needed to get a little creative — and a little lucky — to find some offense.

The way the Vikings’ pitcher, Lauren Merrill, pitched late, it didn’t have to be much.

Oxford Hills made plays any way they could, and Merrill kept the Bulldogs quiet for a 4-1 win in a Class A North softball semifinal at Gouin Athletic Complex on Saturday.

Herrin and the No. 10 Bulldogs (10-9) took control of the game first. Herrin had the game’s first hit, a two-out single in the top of the first, but nothing more came out of that inning.

In the circle, Herrin (11 strikeouts) struck out five batters over the first three innings, and sandwiched 1-2-3 frames in the first and third around a single and a fielder’s choice in the fourth.

The Bulldogs scored their lone run in the second. Haley Holt looped a triple into deep right, then came home two batters later on Gretta Knowlton’s RBI single to shallow left-center.

“I kind of just brushed it off,” Merrill said of Holt’s three-bagger. “She’s a good hitter, and I left that a little over the plate, and I just knew I needed to hit my spots more.”

Lawrence never got a batter past second base again.

“She’s been really good at being able to coming back and whatever that comes next, just moving on to what comes next,” Oxford Hills coach Cindy Goddard said.

Merrill then helped get the third-seeded Vikings’ (13-5) offense going in the bottom of the fourth. Kenzie Kahkonen led off with a single just over the glove of shortstop Cassidy Sirois, then Merrill plopped a base hit into shallow left. Herrin won a long battle with Hannah Kenney — picking up a strikeout after Kenney fouled off numerous pitches — but Madison Day was able to put a Herrin pitch in play, which resulted in two Bulldog errors, scoring two runs. Anna Piirainen singled past second to drive in Day.

“The hardest thing to me is that (Lilly) pitched such a good game that all of their balls that they hit were not hit well,” Lawrence coach Joey Marcoux said. “Give them credit that they made contact and they hit them, and they ran bases and they put pressure on us. “I don’t know if they hit a ball square and hard all day. That was a (heck) of an effort by (Lilly). And credit to them too.”

The Bulldogs had their best chance to respond in the next half inning, with Sirois leading off with a single and moving to second on Camryn Caldwell’s sacrifice bunt. But Samantha Knox lined out to Kenney in center, who then doubled off Sirois at second to end the inning.

The Vikings added an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth. Kenney got revenge against Herrin, blooping a hit in front of the pitcher that took an awkward bounce away from Herrin. Day followed with a bunt single that Kenney got to third on, with help from an interference call, and Piirainen drove in the final run when her grounder was followed by an errant throw to first.

Lawrence’s last call was a quick one. Holt grounded out, Molly Folsom lined out, and Knowlton popped out to Pirrainen, the catcher, in foul territory.

“Lauren pitched a great game, we played a good game defensively, and we had the opportunity to take advantage of some of their mistakes and use our running game and speed to our advantage,” Goddard said.

The Vikings will face defending regional champion and No. 1 seed Skowhegan in the Northern Maine regional final on Wednesday at Cony High School in Augusta.

“We know against Skowhegan … we’re going to have to produce runs because we haven’t had many shutout games. But I think our team is confident that they can. And I think that’s something I can’t teach them,” Goddard said.

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