Dirigo senior Katie Morse gets ready to hit a pitch during a softball home run derby at Sally Clark Field earlier this month. Morse hit 33 homers to win the derby. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

When Katie Morse looks back on her distinguished athletic career at Dirigo, the first image that comes to mind is her softball teammates waiting for her at home plate as she rounded third on one of the two home runs she hit at rival Mountain Valley last year.

Already this spring, Morse has hit 33 home runs, but hasn’t had to circle the bases even once. Two weeks ago, the Cougars’ cleanup hitter slugged all 33 and won a home run derby at Sally Clark Field.

Morse won a T-shirt and bragging rights as Dirigo’s home run king with her power display, and she’s grateful athletic director Jess McGreevy organized the event to help spring athletes get over the cancellation of their season due to the coronavirus.

Morse wouldn’t hesitate to give back her T-shirt and imaginary crown in exchange for finishing her four-year varsity softball career with her teammates, and to have them call her “captain.”

“The worst part (of the spring season being canceled) is not being with the team again,” she said. “I was excited to kind of be a leader this year. I’ve always wanted to be a softball captain and we had a lot of girls graduate from last year, so I was looking forward to being the senior surrounded by underclassmen.”

Morse, who’s been playing softball since she was 4 years old, would have been the Cougars’ lone senior and sage veteran this year. She has been the only member of her class to play softball for most of her high school career, which, looking back now, she sees as a positive.

“It’s given me a chance to bond with the classes around me and expanded my group of friends, definitely,” she said.

A right-handed hitting first baseman, Morse emerged as one of the top sluggers in the MVC with five home runs as a junior. While she also played soccer for four years and dabbled in skiing and basketball, softball was the sport where she was counting on being able to make her mark as a senior.

“It’s my favorite sport,” she said. “It’s a team sport, but you also have to focus on yourself as an individual. It definitely helps with learning patience and teamwork.”

Morse intends to show what she’s learned about softball at the college level when she enrolls at the University of Southern Maine. She isn’t letting the lack of a spring season keep her from improving on her knowledge and skill, either, as she’s been stopping by the field every day this spring to take some swings off a tee. She still has hopes to continue playing for a travel team out of the Oxford Hills area this summer, too.

But even if she has 33 more home runs in her softball future, she’s not sure if any of them can take the place of rounding third base and seeing a crowd in Dirigo blue-and-white waiting to greet her when she gets home.

“It’s hard thing to understand, not putting on the jersey one last time,” she said.

— Randy Whitehouse

SOFTBALL

Katie Morse

Katie Morse
“Katie Morse is the only senior on the Dirigo High School softball 2020 roster. Katie has been a vital player on her high school team for all four years. She has been a starter for three of them, where she has been the team’s first baseman. She has loved the game of softball from a very young age and was looking to lead her team to a successful season. She is the player that was seen at the field often practicing extra. Her team will miss her and wishes her the best in her future plans.”

BASEBALL

Mateo Lapointe

Mateo Lapointe
“Mateo was planning on joining the baseball team this year to round out a very successful senior year on the fields and the court. We will miss the opportunity to see Mateo play this year.”

Mike Packard

Mike Packard
“Mike Packard is our lone returning senior. This would have been his fourth year. As a freshman, Mike learned the ins and outs; he listened and learned. As a sophomore, Mike was utilized as a pinch runner and filled in sparingly at shortstop. The guys have always been encouraged to come talk with a coach regarding problems/issues. Mike stepped up and took the time to speak with me in regards to his playing time and what he could do. Mike was caught in a numbers game because there were others also playing shortstop and third base. Mike understood and kept training hard. As a junior, Mike started at shortstop, plus was in the pitching rotation. Mike threw some solid innings.”

BOYS TENNIS

Nolan Downs

Nolan Downs
“Nolan was our best prospect for No. 1 singles this year. He played in the offseason to improve and has improved immensely over the last couple of years. I was looking forward to a really good senior season, and I’ll miss seeing Nolan play.”

GIRLS TENNIS

Adrianna Belskis

Adrianna Belskis
“Adrianna has contributed to Dirigo tennis since her freshman year when she received her experience playing exhibition. She quickly moved up the ladder to third singles her sophomore year, ending the season with an injury. She returned her junior year in third singles and worked hard to keep it, with many of her teammates challenging her for it. Adrianna is a true leader and she leads our team off and on the courts.”

Morgan Gallant

Morgan Gallant
“Morgan has contributed to the Dirigo tennis team since her junior year. Morgan played exhibition last year but was up for the challenge to get on the ladder this year.”

Alexis Holman

Alexis Holman
“Alexis has contributed to the Dirigo tennis team since her sophomore year. She had never stepped onto a competitive court before but picked it up quickly. She played first doubles her sophomore year and even stepped in at third singles. She continued her junior year in first doubles but was challenging often for third singles. By far one of the most improved on our team. ”

Emily Jamison

Emily Jamison
“Emily has contributed to the Dirigo tennis team since her sophomore year. She had never stepped onto a competitive court before but picked it up quickly. She played first doubles her sophomore year and was a threat at the net. She continued last year as a junior to play first doubles, but I know that she was up to challenging for third singles this year. By far one of the most improved on our team.”

Alyssa McTyre

Alyssa McTyre
“Alyssa has contributed to the Dirigo tennis team since her freshman year, when she played second doubles. She quickly moved up the ladder after that, playing third singles and, last year, second singles. She is a committed player who is always looking to improve her game. There is no doubt in my mind that her season would have been very successful.”

Sarah Milledge

Sarah Milledge
“Sarah has contributed to the Dirigo tennis team since her sophomore year. Sarah played exhibition for the past two years but was up for the challenge to get on the ladder this year.”

TRACK AND FIELD

Damien Nadeau

Damien Nadeau
“Damien has been a consistent performer, across a wide variety of events. He’s primarily a sprinter, but he’s also had a big impact as a valuable relay runner in all distances. But his biggest impact has been his positive attitude, sense of humor and singing that always helped motivate the team. It’s too bad we didn’t get the chance to see him in his senior year.”

“Damien Nadeau would undoubtedly be our team captain this year. He has been a dependable, ever-present, positive student-athlete that not only contributed to his team’s score, but also was a friend and an inspiration to his teammates. The loss of this season is a disappointment as Damien was making impressive and steady progress in long jump and triple jump distances. He showed real skill and dedication to these events while always adding powerfully to team relay efforts. Damien has been a very well-rounded track athlete having competed in almost all of the running events as well as javelin and discus during his high school career. ”

 

Photos and quotes compiled by Dirigo High School athletic director Jess McGreevy. Quotes provided by baseball assistant coach Bob McPhee, softball coach Tanya Perreault, track and field coaches Dave Buck and Al Tacheny, girls tennis coach Kathy Crutchfield, boys tennis coach Bruce Thompson and McGreevy.


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