Skowhegan’s Ashely Alward delivers a pitch in the first inning against Oxford Hills during their playoff game last season.

The most motivated team in Class A North this season might also be the region’s best.

Skowhegan brings back everybody from a team that lost in the state final for the second straight year. And the Indians are the favorite to come out of the region again.

“I think that Skowhegan is the team that everyone needs to look at because they didn’t lose a single player from last year’s team, and some of those kids had a great run in the basketball tournament,” Edward Little coach Elaine Derosby said. “So they are proven at this point with their competitiveness.”

Derosby said Skowhegan has probably the two best pitchers in the region, which is a scary thought for opponents. Ashley Alward and Sydney Ames give the Indians two No. 1 starters, and that healthy competition only keeps both of them hungry.

Lewiston is in a similar position to Skowhegan, bringing everyone back from last year’s team. But unlike the Indians, the Blue Devils are still trying to get their program to the top — and stay there. This year’s experienced group has the chance to do that, but they have to prove it.

“We have the potential to be at the top of the list,” Lewiston assistant Meagan Marcoux said. “This specific group of girls have played together for several years. There’s a lot of team chemistry there and I think that could be a huge part of the potential success.”

Oxford Hills, which lost to Skowhegan in last year’s regional final, also thinks it has the pieces to be one of the league’s best teams again. The Vikings return six starters, including pitcher Lauren Merrill, who held her own as a freshman last year.

Marcoux called Oxford Hills, along with EL, “tough programs.” The Red Eddies don’t have the same experience returning as the Vikings, but Derosby said her team will be competitive.

Derosby said Bangor can never be counted out because head coach Don Stanhope “always has them in a position to compete with anyone.” She also said Messalonskee has some players who can carry the Eagles on any given day.

While Skowhegan is the prohibitive favorite, Marcoux said there aren’t really any darkhorses. But that doesn’t mean the Indians will just run away with the region.

“Honestly, there’s a lot of talent in A North. Any team is beatable,” Marcoux said. “There were a lot of surprises last year and I expect the same this year.”

The x-factor this season could be the new cross-over games on everyone’s schedule. EL, for instance, will play KVAC Class B teams Gardiner and Erskine. Lewiston has Poland, from the WMC, on its schedule.

“We’re not going to see everyone,” Derosby said. “So the numbers game toward the end is going to be a little more like basketball’s numbers game. It’s not going to be as easily played out, I don’t believe.”


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