STANDISH — It has been so long since she lost a high school softball game that Richmond senior Kelsie Obi needs a moment to think about the last time it happened.

“Oh my goodness, it’s been so long,” she said after the Bobcats rolled Searsport 12-0 in five innings for the Western Class D championship Tuesday at Richard W. Bailey Field. “Probably the last time we lost I would say states my freshman year? It’s been so long. It’s crazy.”

The last time Richmond (17-0) lost a softball game was in fact for the Class D title in Obi’s freshman year, a 4-2 decision to Penobscot Valley. It also happens to be the only time the senior first baseman has lost a game with the Bobcats, as she carries a career record of 68-1 into Saturday’s Class D title tilt against Stearns (14-6) at 4 p.m. at Bailey Field.

A long winning streak — 51 in a row, to be exact — is not always a positive thing, though. Yes, you have to be very good to achieve such heights, but it can also carry added pressure — particularly come tournament time.

“We just tell them that it means nothing if you don’t win in the tournament. What are they going to remember? You’re 51 wins or the fact that you lost. That’s what I emphasize,” veteran Richmond coach Rick Coughlin said. “Fifty-one is great, but they’re only going to remember you lost whenever. That’s what we emphasize, just playing the game one game at a time, one inning at a time and go from there.”

The players seem to be buying in to that mantra. After all, it has worked before. Outside of freshman catcher/pitcher Sydney Tilton, every other starter has won a state championship in their tenure with the Bobcats.

“We don’t really get that through our heads because we have newcomers coming up and they’re not really a part of that,” sophomore pitcher and lead-off hitter Meranda Martin said of how the team treats the streak. “We don’t really talk about that at all; we just play our game and don’t think about it.”

Even still, a win Saturday would both put them in some elite company and allow them to make a run at Maine high school softball history.

Only three schools have won at least three straight state softball championships since 1977, with Madison winning four Class C titles in a row from 1994-97. Traip Academy won three straight in Class C from 1988-90, while Jonesport-Beals had the same streak in Class D from 1992-94.

The Royalettes, however, were the only ones to run the table in all three years of their championship run. Jonesport-Beals’ long winning streak was snapped at 62 games with a 9-2 defeat to Machias, according to a 1995 Bangor Daily News article.

Diane Clark, a Skowhegan Area High School graduate who coached Jonesport-Beals during its championship run, said that they had gone 54-0 during their championship run.

While Madison had the longest streak of state championships amongst the group — according to former coach Al Veneziano — the Bulldogs went 70-2 over their four-year run. Veneziano, who coached Madison in its championship runs from 1995-97, said they had lost regular season games in 1996 and 1997, respectively.

Traip, meanwhile, won its third straight title in 1990 but lost a game earlier in the regular season and finished 19-1.

Evan Crawley — 621-5640

[email protected]

Twitter: @Evan_Crawley

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