Skowhegan catcher Sydney Reed tags out Oxford Hills runner Lauren Merrill during the Class A North title game Wednesday at Colby College. Morning Sentinel photo by David Leaming

WATERVILLE — Oxford Hills drew first blood with a run in the top of the first inning, but that was all the Vikings could muster against Skowhegan and senior pitcher Sydney Ames.

Ames scattered four hits (no more than one in any inning), struck out eight and shut out the second-seeded Vikings (17-2) after giving up an unearned run in the first to help lift Skowhegan to a 5-1 win in the Class A North softball regional final at Colby College on Wednesday.

“She threw well,” Skowhegan coach Lee Johnson said. “I mean, every day with her we find something else that she should be doing, and we go with it. And today was something a little bit different, but she was spot on.”

In that first inning, Brooke Carson singled with one out, stole second, advanced to third on Madison Day’s sacrifice fly, and scored when the throw attempting to get her out at third went off-target.

“I did like the first inning. We scored right off. That was great,” Oxford Hills coach Cindy Goddard said.

Top-seeded Skowhegan (19-0) countered with three runs in the bottom of the opening frame, using four straight singles by Sydney Reed, Jaycie Christopher, Annie Cooke and Mariah Dunbar, along with an error, to take a 3-1 lead that stuck the rest of the way.

“You know, we’ve been trying to have a more aggressive approach at the plate, and I think that worked for us in that inning. We got some opportunities and we strung some hits together, took advantage of our opportunities,” Johnson said. “I mean, sometimes you leave those runners on base it comes back to haunt you. But today we found the hits when we needed them.”

The Vikings had few chances the remainder of the game.

Kori Kahkonen was stranded after hitting a one-out, ground-rule double in the second. In the fourth, Day made it to second after her lead-off fly to left was dropped, then she tried scoring when Lauren Merrill singled through the right side of the infield. The throw back in was off-target, but a friendly bounce off the backstop for Skowhegan put Day in a pickle that she didn’t win. Merrill made it to third on the play, but then a botched squeeze-bunt play turned into a pick-off at third.

Skowhegan’s Mariah Whittemore prepares to tag out Oxford Hills Olivia Gallen during the Class A North title game Wednesday at Colby College. Morning Sentinel photo by David Leaming

“(Madison) thought she had the chance. We’ve done that all season long. That is what we do. That’s our style of play,” Goddard said. “Now the squeeze bunt, that’s a gamble … It’s a risk.”

Ames stranded Day at first after a two-out single in the sixth, and then Bella DeVivo at the same spot after a one-out walk in the seventh.

Merrill settled down in the circle after the first, allowing just three more hits the rest of the way and no walks, but the Skowhegan bats did make noise again in the third. Reed singled to lead off, then scored three batters later on one of the Vikings’ four errors in the game. Mariah Whittmore then took advantage of the extra at-bat in the frame by singling home Dunbar, who had reached on the error.

Skowhegan’s Jaycie Christopher catches an infield popup during the Class A North title game against Oxford Hills on Wednesday at Colby College. Morning Sentinel photo by David Leaming

“I have to be honest with you, my team probably hasn’t made that many errors all together in one game,” Goddard said. “It’s hard when you don’t play as relaxed as you can, and just be relaxed and enjoy it, you’re playing tight. When you play tight, things like that happen.”

“(She) who makes the least mistakes wins,” Vikings assistant Dan Daniels said.

Skowhegan made just two errors, giving the Vikings less opportunities to try and mount a comeback.

“I would just say Skowhegan played a great game, we didn’t play our best game, and when you don’t play your best game at this level, all the way around, every aspect — hitting, fielding, you got to have it all, and we didn’t have it all today,” Goddard said.

Members of the Skowhegan softball team celebrate after they defeated Oxford Hills in the Class A North title game Wednesday at Colby College. Morning Sentinel photo by David Leaming