Class A North

Players to watch: P/CF Sydney Ames, Skowhegan, So.; P/CF Ashley Alward, Skowhegan, Jr.; P Kylie Bureau, Edward Little, Sr.; C Emmy Lashua, Edward Little, Jr.; SS Taylor Depot, Edward Little, Jr.; P Lauren Merrill, Oxford Hills, Fr.; 1B Erin Morton, Oxford Hills, Sr.; 2B Madi Starbird, Oxford Hills, Jr.; SS Emma Payne, Bangor, Sr.; 3B Megan Conner, Bangor, Sr.; CF Jordyn Rubin, Lewiston, Fr.; C Meagan Gosselin, Lewiston, Jr.; P Meg Theriault, Lewiston, Jr.; 3B Crystal Dore, Brewer, Sr.

Favorite: Skowhegan.

What was predicted by many coaches before the season started as anybody’s region to win did play out that way, but the perennially contending Indians — the defending regional champs — get the nod as favorites thanks to their past and their 14-2 record this season. That was two wins clear of second-ranked Edward Little, which lost to Skowhegan in the regional final last year. The Indians have a two-headed pitching monster in Ames and Alward, who both can swing the bat as well. Skowhegan doesn’t have any seniors, however.

Darkhorse: Brewer.

The Witches are the No. 6 seed, but are one of two teams to have beaten the Indians this season. Brewer won its last six games, including a season-ending victory over rival Bangor. Sisters Libby and Sydney Hewes have handled the pitching, while Dore, along with freshman sister Kenzie Dore, have paced the Witches’ offense.

Overview: Edward Little and Oxford Hills are two of the more experienced teams in the region, though both had to replace their No. 1 pitchers from last year. Merrill has been a pleasant surprise for the Vikings, both in the circle and the batter’s box, while Bureau, as a senior, is a veteran for the Red Eddies. Both teams have had their ups and downs but finished strong. Lewiston is young, with no seniors that receive playing time, but is a tough out for any team. Bangor faded late, but has an offense that can put up runs in bunches. Lower seeds Brewer, Messalonskee and Mt. Ararat all can pull off upsets.

Prediction: Skowhegan.

Class B South

Players to watch: P/SS Anya Chase, Wells, Jr.; P/SS Karissa Kenyon, Wells, So.; CF Charlotte Waterman, Oak Hill, Sr.; P Sadie Waterman, Oak Hill, So.; C Makayla Cooper, Fryeburg, Sr.; P Nicole Bennett, Fryeburg, Sr.; C Cate Ralph, Yarmouth, Jr.; CF Sophia McGrath, Yarmouth, Jr.; P Kelsey Currier, Greely, Jr.; P Alie Martell, Gray-New Gloucester, Jr.; C Alexa Thayer, Gray-New Gloucester, So.; C Hope Faulkingham, Morse, Sr.; P Marissa Parks, Morse, Jr.; C Mackenzie Treadwell, Leavitt, Jr.; P Abby Robertson, Leavitt, Sr.; SS Sarah Walton, Poland, Sr.

Favorite: Wells.

The Warriors made it through a competitive Western Maine Conference schedule with just one loss — to No. 3 seed Fryeburg Academy. Chase and Kenyon took turns in the circle, and both kept opposing offenses quiet. Kenyon is the lone underclassmen on an experienced team, which could be an advantage when the games matter more in the postseason.

Darkhorses: Oak Hill, Morse.

The Raiders are the No. 2 seed, but playing out of the Mountain Valley Conference, haven’t faced any of the other teams in the field. Oak Hill’s biggest win came against Class C Madison, which is always among the top teams in that class. The Raiders are relatively young, but they are aggressive. The seventh-seeded Shipbuilders also are a bit of an unknown, but they went 12-4 in a competitive KVAC Class B. Only No. 9 Leavitt and No. 10 Maranacook have seen Morse, which showed that it could both pile up runs and win pitchers’ duels.

Overview: Wells’ path to a possible regional final is lined with fellow WMC opponents, so there shouldn’t be any surprises. But that doesn’t mean that road will be easy. Fourth-seeded Yarmouth and fifth-seeded Greely could both be tough outs if they match up with the Warriors. Fryeburg Academy can lean on its win over the Warriors, but might face a confident winner of a possible Oak Hill vs. Gray-New Gloucester quarterfinal.

Prediction: Wells.

Class C South

Players to watch: P Madeline Wood, Madison, Sr.; CF Sydney LeBlanc, Madison, Jr.; 3B Amber Raymond, Winthrop, Sr.; P Layne Audet, Winthrop, So.; 1B Haylee Langlois, Monmouth, So.; SS Tia Day, Monmouth, Jr.; 3B Mackenzie Baker, Carrabec, Jr.; P Sam LeBeau, Carrabec, Jr.; CF Ally Sult, Lisbon, Sr.; 1B Kipri Steele, Lisbon, Sr.; SS Maddie Day, Sacopee Valley, Sr.; CF Jordan Miner, Sacopee Valley, Sr.; P Kylee Martin, Telstar, Jr.; SS Josie Forbes, Telstar, So.; P Reilly Eddy, Traip, Jr.

Favorite: Madison.

The regional champions three of the past four years went undefeated against Class C competition this season and finished 15-1. Wood pitched well in the circle for the Bulldogs, and LeBlanc, as well as Ashley Emery and Whitney Bess, pitched in offensively, too. Madison had a knack for finding ways to finish off the other top contenders in Class C South, who were all gunning for the Bulldogs.

Darkhorses: Carrabec, Sacopee Valley.

The Cobras won their final seven games heading into the postseason and are playing as well as anybody not named Madison. LeBeau has been a dual-threat pitching and hitting, and Baker is just one of many Cobras locked in at the plate. The Hawks, meanwhile, are the outlier from the WMC who could end an MVC team’s title hopes. Sacopee scored runs in bunches en route to a 12-4 record, but that wasn’t against the MVC’s top pitchers, who hope to quiet the Hawks.

Overview: Madison is the team to beat until somebody else proves that they can beat the Bulldogs. Regional titles are the expectation. Winthrop took a step forward this year that was unsurprising to most and is the No. 2 seed. Monmouth Academy has shown flashes of being a dominant team and is seeded third, but must face Sacopee Valley in the first round.

Prediction: Madison.

Class D South

Players to watch: C Sydney Underhill-Tilton, Richmond, Jr.; P Meranda Martin, Richmond, Sr.; 1B Cassidy Harriman, Richmond, Sr.; P Halle Pelletier, Greenville, Fr.; C Jessica Pomerleau, Greenville, Fr.; Amber Benway, Greenville, Sr.; C Hannah Shields, Buckfield, So.; LF Abby Fogg, Buckfield, Sr.; SS Kali Litchfield, Buckfield, Sr.; P Gilleyanne Davis-Oakes, Vinalhaven/North Haven, Jr.

Favorite: Richmond.

The win streak is up to 86 and counting for the seven-time defending regional champs, who are looking for their fifth straight state title. The Bobcats’ closest call was a 2-1 win over Class C Traip Academy on the road. Richmond dealt No. 3 Buckfield both its losses. Underhill-Tilton is a big bat, and pitcher Martin doesn’t give up much.

Darkhorse: Greenville.

The Lakers play a schedule full of teams from the North, so neither Richmond or Buckfield has seen them this year. Judging by the scores Greenville has put up this year, the other playoff teams’ pitchers will have to be on point. The Lakers’ main pitcher, Halle Pelletier, is just a freshman.

Overview: Any team with a playoff seed other than No. 1 needs no extra motivation. Richmond has set the standard, and the Bobcats always have the target on their back. They play multiple playoff games every year, so no one can match them in experience. The Bucks think they can hang with the Bobcats, and the Lakers will be looking to do the same. But all that is easier said than done.

Prediction: Richmond.


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