STANDISH — The longest active unbeaten streak in the nation came to a crashing halt on Saturday.

Freshman pitcher Leine McKechnie no-hit Richmond and clubbed a mammoth home run in the sixth inning, lifting Penobscot Valley to a 4-0 win in the Class D state championship softball game at Bailey Field on the campus of St. Joseph’s College. The Howlers’ second state championship in school history ended an 88-game unbeaten streak for Richmond and snapped the Bobcats’ run of four consecutive state championships.

“We had a heck of a run,” Richmond senior Meranda Martin said. “I’m upset a little bit, but I’m so proud of this team. We played our hearts out. Nobody else can say they’ve won 88 in row.”

Sophomore second baseman Erynn Williams singled home No. 9 hitter Morgan Banks with the game’s first run in the top of the seventh to ensure that McKechnie’s heroics in the pitching circle would not go to waste for Penobscot (20-0). McKechnie then made sure there would be little drama left for the final three outs of the contest.

Against Martin, who re-entered the game to pitch after giving way to Sydney Tilton to begin the fifth inning, McKechnie drilled a 2-1 fastball over everything in right-center field to give her plenty of breathing room for the home half of the final inning.

“I knew we’d score eventually, and I knew as long as I pitched my game the runs would come,” McKechnie said. “You can just kind of feel it when you hit it. (Martin) was tending to throw a lot of spin pitches later on when she got ahead. I knew I had to swing at the beginning of the count.”

The hard-throwing righthander finished things off against the middle third of the Richmond (18-1) lineup in the bottom of the inning, getting Caitlin Kendrick to fly out to right, striking out Cassidy Harriman on three pitches and inducing an Emily Douin groundout to first for the win and the no-hitter.

McKechnie finished with 11 strikeouts and allowed only one run in four playoff games.

“It did not surprise me one bit,” Penobscot coach Patrick Leonard said of McKechnie’s performance. “That’s who she is. She’s a strong young lady, and you saw who she is today.”

Richmond’s 88-game unbeaten streak ranks fifth all-time in the United States, according to the National Federation of State High School Association’s record books.

The Penobscot state title was its first since 2012. Ironically, the Howlers also beat Richmond for the title that season in what was the Bobcats’ last loss prior to Saturday.

“It was a blessing to see it happen again,” Leonard said. “We told them before the game that all the pressure was on (Richmond).”

“All streaks have to come to an end,” said Richmond coach Tony Martin, whose team holds the record for most consecutive state titles in Maine with Madison at four. “We tried a little bit of everything, but we just couldn’t get there.”

Martin turned in her best outing of the playoffs as the starting pitcher for Richmond, matching McKechnie by striking out eight through her first four innings of work. She was relieved in the fifth by Tilton, who was greeted by a one-out triple from freshman Alexis Ireland that rattled off the base of the fence in right field. Tilton helped her own cause to get out of the game’s first serious scoring threat from either side, however, holding Ireland at first by fielding a sharp grounder for the second out and then making a backhand stab on catcher Kortney McKechnie’s grounder back through the circle to get out of the fifth.

The Bobcats needed more defensive heroics in the top of the sixth. A lead-off double to McKechnie was erased when Martin — moved to catcher after Tilton relieved her in the circle — snared a shoulder-high foul ball off the bat of Miranda Brown and then fired down to second to double off McKechine, who was stranded halfway between second and third on her secondary lead.

Travis Barrett — 621-5621

tbarrett@centralmaine.com

Twitter: @TBarrettGWC