Oak Hill starting pitcher Sadie Waterman fires a pitch during a game this season.
After not starting on the varsity team as a freshman, Sadie Waterman was thrust into the fire as a sophomore on the Oak Hill softball team — as the ace pitcher and the leadoff batter.
Waterman got comfortable in her role, which was to make opponents feel uncomfortable at the plate, and in the field.
The Raiders had a stellar regular season, and Waterman was a big reason why. And that’s a big reason why she has been named the 2017 Sun Journal All-Region Softball Player of the Year.
“There’s no way, no way, we would have had that record or had nearly the success we did without Sadie,” Raiders coach Allyson Collins said. “Without her pitching, without her bat, her place in the lineup, no way. Absolutely no way.”
Waterman said she was nervous in the season opener against Monmouth, a team that returned its entire roster and that had high expectations. Waterman, meanwhile, didn’t know what to expect from herself or her team.
“I didn’t know how well my pitches were going to go,” Waterman said. “I wasn’t that confident in myself, but after the first few innings I started to settle in and I started to realize that the pressure wasn’t all on me, and everyone behind me was going to pick me up no matter what. And it helped make the season go a lot smoother.”
The Raiders won that game, setting up what turned into a 13-3 regular season and the No. 2 seed in Class B South. But senior catcher Emma Hlister went down with an injury in the opener, meaning the Raiders had to re-work both the lineup and the defense, and Waterman had to work with a new batterymate.
It turned out to be just another hurdle Waterman had to overcome. She did it by gaining trust in the players behind her — both in the field and in the lineup.
“As the season went on I think she got more confident in not only herself, but her teammates, and realized that she didn’t have to do absolutely everything on her own,” Collins said.
“I knew that everyone around me was going to do their job too,” Waterman said.
The budding sophomore had the perfect fall-back behind her in senior sister Charlotte, who was the team’s No. 2 hitter and center fielder. Charlotte had a knack for helping save runs in the field and creating them on the base path.
“If Sadie could get on, then her sister could follow, could bunt her over, and a lot of times bunt for a hit,” Collins said. “And so we’d have two very smart and quick base runners on so our 3-4-5 hitters could knock them in.”
Sadie Waterman was no slouch in the leadoff spot, batting .339 with 13 RBIs and 11 stolen bases. And often she was tasked with sacrifice bunting a runner over in the middle innings. Waterman said she prefers to try to get hits, but she can lay down a bunt when needed. And when her teammates are sacrificing for her in the field, it’s only fair that she sacrifices for them at the plate.
Those runs created helped Waterman as a pitcher, but with a 2.28 earned-run average in 80 innings pitched (as well as 71 strikeouts), she didn’t need too much run support.
“She’s able to mix speeds, and her drop is killer. I’m not going to lie, when I hit against her in practice it fools me. It falls right off the table,” Collins said. “She just has great command of her pitches and it took her a long way.”
Pos. Name School Class
P Sadie Waterman Oak Hill So.
C Emmy Lashua Edward Little Jr.
P Kylie Bureau Edward Little Sr.
CF Jordyn Rubin Lewiston Fr.
C Kayleigh Oberg Winthrop Sr.
1B Haylee Langlois Monmouth So.
P Alie Martel Gray-NG Jr.
C Hannah Shields Buckfield So.
SS Sarah Walton Poland Sr.
2B Gianna Russo Lisbon Fr.
Pos. Name School Class
SS Kali Litchfield Buckfield Sr.
3B Hannah Anderson Monmouth Jr.
CF Natasha Hart Telstar Sr.
P Sydney Royce Rangeley Jr.
CF Charlotte Waterman Oak Hill Sr.
CF Ali Sult Lisbon Sr.
3B Abby Nadeau Oak Hill So.
OF Rhiannan Hersey St. Dom’s Sr.
SS Allie Veinote St. Dom’s Sr.
P Lauren Merrill Oxford Hills Fr.
Erin Morton, Oxford Hills, Sr.; Olivia Jensen, Edward Little, Sr.; Emma Hlister, Oak Hill, Sr.; Meg Theriault, Lewiston, Jr.; Anna Piirainen, Oxford Hills, Sr.; Hannah Kenney, Oxford Hills, Sr.; Emily Chasse, Monmouth, Jr.; Maddie DeGroot, Dirigo, Sr.; Alexa Thayer, Gray-NG, So.; Morgan Brousseau, Poland, Jr.
Oak Hill starting pitcher Sadie Waterman tracks a pitch during the Raiders’ 15-0 victory over Telstar in Wales this season.