Only one run stood in the way of the Edward Little softball team reaching the regional final last spring.

The Red Eddies lost a 2-1 heartbreaker to the eventual state champs from Messalonskee in the semifinals. This year, EL returns much of that team and hopes to be a threat again in Class A North.

“This year’s team will be looking to build upon last year’s post season run and are working hard to achieve more, knowing that every day in the KVAC will be a battle and that they must stay focused,” EL coach Elaine Derosby said.

EL only returns two seniors, but Sarah Hammond evolved into an ace pitcher last year while Karli Stubbs is a veteran catcher and third baseman. EL also returns juniors Jordyn Reynolds, Olivia Jensen, Kylie Bureau, Emmy Lashua, Taylor Depot and Grace Beaudet. Lashua (.500) was an all-conference first team pick last year while Hammond (.775 era, 103 strikeouts) and Reynolds (.400) were second team. Depot was an honorable mention selection.

EL finished 13-5 overall last year and has the experience to do well again. The hope is that the Red Eddies will be playing its best at tourney time once again.

Oxford Hills lost to EL in the quarterfinals last year and have seven players back and just two seniors in pitchers Cody Akers and Erika Whitman. Juniors Erin Morton, Anna Piirainen, Alyssa Morin, Hannah Kenney and Madison Leblond are also returning for the Vikings.

Oxford Hills should still be a tough team to beat with some solid pitching and defense. Coach Cindy Goddard says the squad had a blend of players that can play multiple positions and has some speed on the bases.

“This team has all the pieces to be a playoff team, pitching and catching is solid, good hitting and I expect the defense will get better over time,” Goddard said.

Teams like Messalonskee, Bangor and Cony will be contenders once again. The Eagles won the state title and should be a force again. Bangor lost to the Eagles in the regional final while Cony reached the semis last year. Mt. Ararat, Skowhegan and Brewer were all quarterfinal teams that could be in the mix again.

Both Lewiston and Mt. Blue have new coaches and hope to continue to improve.

Ron Smith takes over the Cougars after being an assistant with Mt. Blue. The Cougars lost some talent from last year’s 5-11 team. Seniors Lauren Guppy and Hailey Farrington lead the Cougars this year. Also returning are juniors Kayleigh Fontaine, Taylor Burke, Kasidie Barker, Chelsea Kane and sophomore Sammie Ellis.

“This year’s team is a solid mix of veteran players and promising newcomers,” Smith said. “The players have high expectations for themselves and so do I. We want to get back to the (A North) playoffs.”

Mike Child returns to Lewiston where he was an assistant years ago. He’s been involved in the game as an umpire but takes over a Lewiston team that went 1-15 last year.

The Blue Devils have no seniors but return a number of players from last year. Juniors Allison Porter, Alesha Gregoire, Makayla Girouard, Danielle Cyr and sophomores Lexi Poulin, Megan Theriault, Meagan Gosselin, Emily Mousseau and Jordan Myhanhan return and could help Lewiston improve.

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