Local players to watch: Hannah Gallant, Sr. 1b, Buckfield, Alannah Knox, Sr OF, Buckfield, Arrabine Dunn, Sr. 3b, Buckfield; Taylor Esty, Jr. P, Rangeley, Tori Letarte, Sr SS, Rangeley, Blayke Morin, Soph. C, Rangeley.

Favorites: Richmond graduated nine seniors but hasn’t missed a beat from last year’s state championship. The Bobcats have a younger team but they haven’t played like one this spring. Richmond went undefeated in the regular season and outscored opponents 189-20, including six shutouts. That’s despite having no seniors on the team and only two juniors. Kelsie Obi, Kelsea Anair and Kalah Patterson are the only regulars returning in the infield.

Coach Rick Coughlin is in his 28th season and he’s kept the Bobcats on a steady course during that stretch. In the past 10 years, Richmond has been in five state games and won three. The Bobcats feature five players that are younger siblings of girls that have played in the program.

One of those younger sisters is freshman pitcher Meranda Martin, whose sister was also a pitcher for the Bobcats.

No other Western D team features that kind of pedigree or level of success.

Darkhorse: Searsport only went 8-8 but played a tough schedule featuring Eastern C and D teams, including Bucksport and Penobscot Valley. The only Western D team the Vikings played was Vinalhaven, and Searsport swept that doubleheader. The Vikings are the new kids on the Western D block and being seasoned by a tough Eastern Maine schedule makes them a bit of a mystery. Being the No. 4 seed makes it a challenging road for Searsport, which will have to face Richmond in the semifinals.

Vinalhaven could be another team to watch. The other Vikings are young but promising. They split with Greenville late in the season. Vinalhaven will have the home field in the semifinal and could earn a trip to the regional game.

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