STANDISH — St. Dominic Academy softball coach Abigail Bowie kept telling her batters, “Just missed,” as they tried to make contact with pitches thrown by Searsport’s Ana Lang her first time through the order of Wednesday’s Class D South final.

Too many just-misses in the field cost the Saints in the third inning when the top-seeded Vikings took command for a 7-1 victory at Richard W. Bailey Field at St. Joseph’s College.

Lang was untouchable as she struck out St. Dom’s first nine batters. She finished with 19 strikeouts while tossing a one-hitter.

“Everything was working for me today,” Lang, a sophomore, said. “And once we figured out that they weren’t swinging at first pitches, we kind of took that to our advantage. So we used a lot of spins and stuff like that, off-speeds.”

Bowie said it was difficult for the Saints to adjust to Lang’s pitching.

“She’s probably one of the best pitchers we’ve seen so far, and it’s unfortunate that it has to happen in the playoffs, but we did what we could,” Bowie said. “But I’m not going to take that away from her. She’s an awesome pitcher.”

Sixth-seeded Saints (8-10) pitcher Kathleen Dean also was dealing strikeouts, but the Vikings (12-6) were able to score once against her in the bottom of the first. A leadoff walk and a stolen base by Jordan Greeley were followed by a bunt single by Lily Nadeau. Dean struck out a batter, but then a run came home on a grounder by Lang, who ended up reaching due to a throwing error. Dean fanned the next two batters to get out of the jam.

After a 1-2-3 inning in the second, the St. Dom’s defense made costly errors in the third. A dropped throw to first allowed Greeley to reach base. After a strikeout, another error put another runner on, and then a Lang bloop single froze the outfield and loaded the bases. Two runs scored on an errant throw home while trying to get the force out. The bases were loaded back up after an unsuccessful attempt to throw a runner out at home, and two fielding errors sandwiched around a Dean strikeout brought in three more runs before Dean got out of the inning with her seventh strikeout.

The Vikings’ five-run frame, helped by the Saints’ five errors, left them with a 6-0 lead.

“We have practiced running the bases, and getting the bats on, and I think that we’ve really come around towards the end of the season to be focused and read the field and read what’s going on,” Searsport coach Christin Chase said. “So I think we did really well then.”

Led by Dean, the Saints got one run back in the top of the fourth. Dean started her leadoff at-bat 3-0 against Lang, who then got it to 3-2. A foul-pop dropped to keep the at-bat alive, then Dean drew a walk. She stole second, then got up, rounded third and scored when the throw to second went high and past the outfield.

Lang followed that up by walking Bella Webster and Ava Apodaca, both on 3-2 pitches, and both runners advanced into scoring position on wild pitches and a defensive indifference, but Lang got out of the jam with a foul-pop, a strikeout, and, finally, a reaching snow-cone catch against St. Dom’s Sydney Dick for the third out.

“I did start to get off a little bit,” Lang said. “When coach came out, we kind of needed to die down a little bit, the pressure started to come on, but we did really well after that, got out of that inning.”

Lang called her difficult catch “all instinct,” and she wasn’t sure she caught it at first.

“I think it was good for her,” Chase said. “You could tell, just the light in her eyes that came back, that she was like, ‘OK, yup, I’m here, it’s softball, we’re doing this.'”

The Vikings got a run back in the bottom of the fifth. Emma Spiegel led off with a single, Hunter Kronholm reached on a fielder’s choice and moved to second on an error, then scored on Samantha Perkins’ single up the middle. A groundout followed by Dean’s ninth strikeout ended the inning, but not before Searsport had extended its lead to 7-1.

Dean broke up Lang’s no-hitter with a leadoff single in the sixth.

“I talk to her a little bit before she gets up there and I say, ‘Are you mad?’ And she’s like, ‘Well, I’m a little bit mad.’ I’m like, ‘Get madder and hit the ball and do something,'” Bowie said. “For her, getting mad works.”

Lang retired the final six batters, all by strikeout.

Dean pitched all six innings for the Saints and finished with 12 strikeouts and one walk while allowing five hits.

“Kind of our thing is we play St. Dom’s softball. That’s the type of softball we play,” Bowie said. “Unfortunately, it started late in the game, so that’s kind of what I said, you know, ‘This is what happens when you start late.’ If we could take away the first three innings, it probably could have been a different game.”

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