The story of how Mt. Blue graduate Sabrina Keach ended up at Maine Maritime Academy is a story of a failed rebellion.

“First off, it was my mom’s choice,” Keach said. “I really wanted to make the decision on my own, so I thought I’d give her the benefit of the doubt and go to an open house. I absolutely loved it. Farmington’s a small town, and Castine’s just like that.”

Keach, a Chesterville native and a senior first baseman on the softball team at MMA, really made her mark in athletics at the school on the softball field. After hitting a team-high .434 last season, she was batting an eye-popping .506 at the beginning of this week, with 13 walks and only five strikeouts.

“She’s got several different tools,” MMA coach Casey Purcell said. “She’s patient at the plate, so she gets deep into pitch counts. She’s got power, and she can place the ball as well.”

Unless they saw Keach play, most people wouldn’t suspect at least part of how she’s attained that .506 average. Sometimes, she’ll slap hit, and she’s about as far from the typical slap hitter as you can get.

Normally, a slap hitter is small and speedy, someone who would also play point guard in basketball. Keach is a six-footer, and has 10 doubles and two home runs this season.

“I used to joke that we’d tell her to slap and she might hit a home run by accident,” Purcell said.

“It’s just something I kind of picked up in my freshman year,” Keach said. “It’s just another tool I have in the toolbox.”

Keach’s walks spiked this year, and Purcell said she’s sacrificing some at bats where she might get a hit, just to make sure she gets on base. Still, she led the North Atlantic Conference in hitting last year and will finish first or second this season.

“It takes a lot of work to get there,” Keach said. “To know that my work is paying off — it’s rewarding.”

Keach is also a solid first baseman. Purcell said she’s especially good at blocking the bag when receiving pickoff throws from the catcher.

“She provides a big target for our infielders,” Purcell said. “She can get to balls other girls may not be able to get to.”

Although she didn’t spend a lot of time near the ocean while growing up, Keach is a marine biology major at MMA. She said she’s wanted to go into that field since she was in second grade.

“I love it all,” she said. “I love the ocean. I love the animals in the ocean. Right now, I’m hoping to head out to Alaska and work as a fisheries observer on commercial fishing boats.”

Matt DiFilippo — 861-9243

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