HS Softball: Oak Hill hitting its stride

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They’ve got the gang back together and thus far, it has been quite a ride for the Oak Hill softball team.

The Raiders have started the season 8-0 and are currently ranked third overall in Western B. That’s not too bad after winning 10 total games a year ago before losing in the quarterfinals.

“It’s been really exciting,” said junior second baseman Abby Goulet. “We all played together in middle school, and now we’re all finally back together in high school. It’s like we’re back in middle school again. We’ve always played together, and it feels good this year.”

Winning can often bolster a team’s spirit and this kind of success is just what Coach Julie Boucher was hoping for. After losing just one senior a year ago, she expected the team to be ready to take a significant step forward.

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“We have seven juniors that are outstanding players,” said Boucher. “So with that core of players and the others that we have, I knew this was a big year. This year and next year were extremely big as far as our program goes.”

The Raiders have outscored opponents 64-15 and pitcher Lauren Hall has hurled three shutouts already. The junior has been a force on the mound and at the plate.  Her fellow junior starters include batterymate Taylor Fillion, Becca Belaire at short and outfielder Katie Wood.  First baseman Sarah Albert is the lone senior while sophomores Alexis Priest, Alex Shaw, Marrissa Caskin and freshman Alyssa Rouleau are all starting and thriving.

“They get along really well,” said Boucher. “They’re a good team. Lauren has done a fanstastic job. She has all season. She continues to do it, and they realize that when you have confidence in your pitcher, they may or may not have the opportunity to play defense, but if they do, they have to come through big time.”

The Raiders have done that against some formidable foes already. They blanked second-ranked Lincoln Academy 2-0 and also shutout Winslow 3-0. They edged Camden Hills on Monday 3-2 in nine innings and beat MCI, ranked third in Eastern B, by a run. Friday, they play in Waldoboro against Medomak Valley. The Panthers are the two-time defending regional champs and are ranked second in Eastern B at 6-2.

“We’ve just got to keep our heads up and be patient and keep playing the game we’ve been playing,” said Goulet.

Looking for a groove

The Mountain Valley softball team has high hopes for this season, but have yet to get on track. The Falcons are currently 3-4 and are ranked 10th in Western B. After losing just three players from a year ago, the Falcons hoped to be a team that could ultimately be a playoff threat.

“We’ve had trouble with consistency and putting together three or four wins in a row,” said Falcons coach Brian Mills. “We’d always start the year with Georges Valley or Hall-Dale, Telstar and Jay. Right off the bat, we’d start off 0-3 or 0-4. Every year it was like that to start. This year, we went to Jay and won, and that was huge.”

The 10-8 win over the Tigers was a strong launching point for the season, but the Falcons then dropped back-to-back games to Telstar and Carrabec. They had a fine outing in a 5-1 win over Livermore Falls last week but lost to Dirigo and Mt. Abram this week, with a victory over Madison in between.

Mountain Valley has allowed 72 runs in seven games. Senior pitcher Shelby Moore pitched a nice game to beat the Andies and got a solid performance behind her in the field. The Falcons will need more of the same to move up into playoff contention.

“We’re going to be as successful as Shelby is,” said Mills. “Last year, I had a girl that basically tossed the ball in there. A lot of teams have adjusted to that.”

kmills@sunjournal.com

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