Whitney Mills and Candace Hall always believed they\’d play in a state championship game.

As the softball seasons have ended with losses in the Western C final, it has left the two Telstar seniors with diminishing opportunities to do so.

“I think we\’ve known that we\’d get there at some point,” said Hall, a pitcher/shortstop. “We\’ve gotten close so many times. The third time\’s a charm, I guess. We\’ve been to Western Maine\’s three times ourselves, not including freshman year.”

The Rebels won the Class C state title in 2006 when Hall and Mills were freshmen. The two have been close to returning but lost in the regional final to Georges Valley the last two years.

“Freshmen year, we watched and we learned,” said Mills. “Those girls kind of made us into who we are today. They taught us how to play, with the help of Coach (Jim Lunney) of course. Every year we\’d come out hoping to get there again. We\’ve gotten close multiple times. We\’re finally here, and we\’re ready for it.”

Telstar is scheduled to play at 3 p.m. at Coffin Field Monday afternoon. The game was originally scheduled for Saturday but was postponed because of poor field conditions. Weather could be a factor Monday, as well, and could prompt the Maine Principals\’ Association to change the location of the game. A site and time for the Class A softball game also needs to be determined. Those decisions are expected to be made first thing in the morning.

When Mills and Hall were part of the state championship team in 2006, they were newcomers on a veteran team. The Rebels had lost the state game in Brewer the year before and blanked Central in the rematch at St. Joseph\’s College.

“We were just bystanders our freshman year,” said Mills. “We were just moral support. Now that we\’re in the hot seat, it\’s exciting. We\’ve waited a really long time, and we\’ve worked really hard to get here. We have a great group of girls we\’re playing with, and we really enjoy our team. It means even more when you enjoy the people you\’re with.”

In 2006, Mills watched her older sister, Kayla, start in the outfield while Hall followed her cousin, Jessie Farrington. Farrington pitched masterful games in the regional and state games.

“That was really cool,” said Hall. “She hadn\’t really pitched as much the years before. Her senior year, she came out on top and she got the state game. It was really exciting to watch her and be part of that excitement.”

Hall would like nothing more than to repeat that performance against the Blue Devils. Calais has a team that is very similar to Telstar. The Blue Devils have senior pitcher Tessa Clark, who throws hard and walks few. Calais lost to Georges Valley in the state game last year.

 

“They\’re a mirror image of us,” said Lunney, who watched that state game and was able to scout the Blue Devils in the regional final last week. “They have a very good pitcher. They have a very good defense. They like to put the ball on the ground and run bases. It could come down to a key hit or a key mistake at the wrong time.”

That was the kind of battle the Rebels won in 2006, and Telstar has had nailbiters with Jay and Georges Valley this year, too, including the semifinal and regional title game.

“What it comes down to in the last few games, it is just mental,” said Mills. “It\’s being in it mentally. The mindset we saw (in 2006) has stayed with us, and we came out every year with it. So I think we\’re mentally prepared, all of us.”

Telstar has the luxury of being able to pitch both Hall and Kayla Merrill. The Rebels are solid defensively and have been well-tested. They know it just might take another near perfect effort to edge Calais.

“We\’re looking for a one-run game,” said Lunney. “We have a saying about collecting goose eggs. We want to collect goose eggs and then get a run up on the board.”


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