Kennebunk’s Lindsey Gregoire catches the ball at first base to get Gray-New Glouster’s Jordan Grant during Monday evening’s game in Gray.

The South has been dominated by the West ever since the state’s regional alignment moved to North-South. That is, the Class B South softball title has routinely been teams from the Western Maine Conference.

That might not change this year, with defending regional champ Fryeburg and last year’s regional top seed Wells having something to say about it. Gray-New Gloucester coach Amanda Harmon says those two conference rivals of her Patriots will be among the teams to beat again this season.

For the Warriors, that will mean replacing a hefty number of seniors, though Kevin Fox’s club seems to rebuild on the fly every year despite roster turnover. And while the Raiders didn’t lose as many players, coach Fred Apt will have new captains to lean on to try and repeat as regional champs.

Oak Hill will look to buck the trend of WMC teams taking the B South title. The Raiders were the No. 2 seed in last year’s playoffs, but lost a heartbreaker to Morse, from the KVAC, in the regional quarterfinals. Oak Hill has many of the same players back, including pitcher Sadie Waterman, and has been mentioned by other MVC coaches as one of that league’s potential best teams this year.

Spruce Mountain has moved over from the KVAC to the MVC, and coach Clint Brooks brings much of last year’s cast with him. A new league — one where the Phoenix better fit — could mean more wins and a playoff push.

Harmon’s Patriots have to face a familiar cast of WMC rivals, and they have a battery returning that could keep them in playoff contention again this season. Neighboring rival to the east, Greely, didn’t graduate much and will look to build on last year’s quarterfinals appearance. The Rangers lost to Yarmouth, which has a new coach in Sandra Sanford but many of the same players from last year.

Poland has some holes to fill in the second year for co-coaches Kayla Vannah and Katrina Seeley. Vannah called the WMC “a strong conference.” The Knights did enough last year in league play to make the playoffs. They’ll add Class A opponent Lewiston to their schedule this season, which provides another stiff test.

Leavitt, another KVAC team in B South, has added a couple WMC teams to the schedule, something head coach Kevin Leonard said he has been asking for.

“The only time we see a (WMC) team is in the playoffs,” Leonard said, adding that they hope to include even more next year.

The Hornets, who have a roster capable of returning to the playoffs after last year’s ninth-place finish and quarterfinals appearance, will face Fryeburg and Cape Elizabeth during the regular season.

Harmon said the Capers, who lost to Leavitt in last year’s prelims, could be a surprise this season after returning most of their roster.

There could be as many as five WMC teams that tussle for the top spot in the league, according to Harmon, depending on who gets key wins over who. That will play a big role in how postseason seeding plays out, and who makes it to the regional final.


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