GARDINER — The top-seeded Gardiner softball team faced an obstacle before it even took the field against Ellsworth in its Class B North quarterfinal game Thursday.

The Tigers would play without sophomore ace Jillian Bisson, who was ejected from the final regular season game against Erskine after colliding with the catcher on a play at home plate. Under Maine Principals’ Association rules, Bisson was required to sit out her next MPA-sanctioned game.

The eighth-seeded Eagles took full advantage of the situation, banging out eight hits while getting a stellar performance from sophomore pitcher Mackenzie Chipman en route to a 6-2 victory. Ellsworth (12-6) advanced to play No. 4 Oceanside in a semifinal game Saturday while the Tigers finished 15-2.

Freshman Maggie Bell drew her first varsity start for Gardiner and kept her team in the game. Her teammates got her a couple of early runs and, entering the fifth the score was tied at 2. The Eagles scored twice in the fifth and two more runs in the seventh. They had two hits in each inning and were helped by two Gardiner errors.

“She did a good job, they didn’t play defense behind her,” Gardiner coach Don Brochu said of Bell. “She did a great job.”

Chipman was even more effective, allowing three hits while walking two. Both walked runners, Haley Brann to open the game and Kylie Sirois to start the second, ended up scoring.

“It’s definitely a highlight catching for a sophomore,” senior catcher Callie Hammer said. “She’s got a killer drop ball and that’s what we used today. We went inside and outside and it worked.”

Hammer had two hits, including an RBI double in the seventh while Hannah Sargent and Mariah Young each scored twice.

“(We’re) very unpredictable,” first-year Ellsworth coach Dotty Cameron said. “We started out and finished as the underdog. People didn’t think we were going to do well and we’re surprising them. I kind of like being an underdog.”

Julia Nadeau, one of three seniors on the team, doubled home the first run for the Tigers with a shot into the left-field corner. In the second, Sirois walked, and following a wild pitch and a bunt, scored on Meaghan Meehan’s ground ball. That was it for the Tigers, who made a couple of base-running mistakes that turned into outs. The only other hit was Sirois’ single in the bottom of the seventh.

“We haven’t hit all year,” Brochu said. “That’s been one of our problems.”

Bell allowed at least one base runner in every inning. She recorded two of her three strikeouts to escape damage in the second and sixth innings. The Eagles got on the board in the third when Young singled home a run and they executed a double steal with two outs. Nadeau saved another run. Chipman faced just 17 batters over the final five innings. She was aided by a couple of base-running errors, including one that resulted in a line-drive double play in the fourth and another when Bell stole second then over-slid the bag and was tagged out in the fifth.

The Tigers turned a nice double play of their own in the seventh when catcher Jazmin Clary fielded Ellie Clarke’s bunt and threw her out at first. Clark then took the return throw to tag out Hammer at the plate.