Coach Katrina Seeley said offense is key reason for the Poland softball team’s 6-0 start to the 2022 season.

Poland’s Maggie McGlauflin slides into third for a stolen base, beating the throw to Lewiston’s Bella Miller, during the Knights’ 6-4 softball win over the Blue Devils in Lewiston last month. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

“We’re off to a good start, our offense is probably one of the best we’ve had for a while at Poland,” Seeley said. “We have four seniors who have played varsity — they did have the COVID year (the 2020 canceled spring sports season due to the pandemic), but have played throughout their high school careers, and their leadership is really shining through.”

The Knights have averaged 13.3 runs per game, bolstered by a 23-run output against Wells on Friday. 

Poland’s only freshman, Olivia Rioux, has taken over the catcher spot and quickly earned the trust of her teammates. 

“She has done everything, plus more,” Seeley said. “I think it’s safe to say our entire team has a lot of trust in her behind the plate and at bat. She is leading in batting average (.647), and I have a lot of trust in what she wants the pitchers (Atlantis Martin and Gretchyn Paradis) to do, and they both seem to work really well with Olivia.”

COUGARS CLICKING

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After going 0-3 in the preseason against conference opponents, Dirigo quickly turned things around once the game started to count

The Cougars opened the season with wins over Telstar and Buckfield, avenging preseason scrimmage losses to both squads.

Losses to Lisbon and Monmouth have brought Dirigo to 2-2 heading into Friday’s game with Mt. Abram, which the Cougars won 12-5 after erasing a two-run deficit with a nine-run seventh inning.

“I am fairly happy with our record to this point,” Dirigo coach Tanya Perreault said. “Tuesday’s game was against Monmouth, and we expected a good game, they have an outstanding pitcher (Brooklyn Federico). We have an extremely good defense, three freshmen in the outfield starting, and we were a little nervous but they are certainly holding their own.”

Those three freshmen, Hannah Hamner, Emily Woods and Layla Merrill have play well enough to hold onto their spots in the outfield. 

After the rocky preseason, Perreault said, the Cougars have “started to click.” 

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“Those preseason games I was playing our entire roster trying to find out who would fit where,” Perreault said. “I think getting a better feel for who would be able to contribute at the varsity level has helped me, and getting the younger players confident to step in the batter’s box has been big. I have a great core of vets that are helping the younger girls to get their bats going. I think the dynamics of our team have improved.

SAINTS WORKING WELL TOGETHER

St. Dom’s has begun the season 5-0 with two doubleheader sweeps over Old Orchard Beach and Sacopee Valley.

St. Dom’s, a Class D team, has a schedule made up entirely of Class C opponents.

“The girls have been working very hard and we’re taking it one game at a time,” St. Dom’s coach Scott Berube said. “They put up a real good showing against Sacopee Valley in Class C, a good doubleheader on Friday against them. Put up an extra-inning 2-1 confidence-building win. Schedules are starting to pile up and we have another doubleheader against Mt. View, who is also Class C, but it’s one day at a time preparing for it. We don’t really think about the outcome, the girls are working really hard.”

Kathleen Dean has earned all five wins from the circle for the Saints, who as a squad, Berube said, have a great work ethic. 

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“We have a team motto, ‘Work hard together until the last pitch,’” Berube said. “We focus on that; we work hard together and we work well together.”

RAMBLERS BECOMING CLOSER

During Winthrop’s loss to Hall-Dale in late April, the Ramblers lost two pitchers to injuries, forcing coach Chuck Gurney to use catcher Lydia Rice in the circle in an emergency situation. 

Rice pitched an inning after Lauryn Wood and Bella Littler were hurt. Even in a loss, the Ramblers came away from the game as closer unit than they entered. 

“The team unity has been exceptional,” Gurney said. “We had a really tough one with Hall-Dale, our catcher finished the game after two pitchers got injured. Next day, all smiles and ready to get back to work. … I think, overall, it brought the team even closer together, having each other’s back even more getting through that. I think it made a more cohesive unit all together.”

Winthrop, which is 3-3 after a close loss to Telstar on Friday, relies on its veterans to help carry the team.

Senior Lydia Rice was runner-up for player of the year in the Mountain Valley Conference last year and has become a leader for the Ramblers, as has senior Maddie Perkins.

There also is a lot of talent among the young players, including, Gurney said, freshman Ella Rice.

“She’s our starting center fielder, and I think she’s going to step into her sister’s shoes,” Gurney said. “She’s the fastest kid on our team as a freshman and our two hitter.”

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