Emily Poland of Leavitt Area High School jumps as she celebrates hitting a three-run home run in the Hornets’ win over Lewiston on May 11 at Lewiston High School. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal

Prior to Leavitt’s softball game against Lewiston under the lights of Joseph Deschenes field, assistant coach Dave Chabot spoke to the team. 

The Hornets were 4-4 heading into the game on May 11, having alternated between losing and winning each of their first eight contests. Chabot was confident that the Hornets had the potential to play better than they had in the first half of the season.

“Before the game,” junior outfielder Lily Chabot said, “our assistant coach, and my dad, Dave Chabot, said, ‘You are a good team and I don’t think you’ve shown how good you can be. We are under the lights, we’ve never beat Lewiston, so let’s go show everyone how good you are.’”

Leavitt (8-5) hit three home runs and, for the first time in program history, defeated the Blue Devils 13-3

Maddie Dutil, a sophomore pitcher and outfielder, said that the Leavitt coaching staff told the players after the win that Lewiston realized before the game even started that the Hornets were going to be tough to beat.

“Our coach talked to us after the game and told us that immediately after we got off the bus, the Lewiston coach knew that it would be a hard game because he could see that we are all just such a big family,” Dutil said. “I think that’s the energy coming from all of us coming together that got the bats going. Once one person gets the bat going, then we all do.”


Several Leavitt players and coaches credited the team’s energy for its recent run of success. Counting a win over Erskine on May 9, the Hornets (9-5) have won six of seven games, which includes handing Gardiner its first loss of the season on Monday.

The players are close, they joke around, dance and sing to music before, during and after games. And when it’s time to play, they’re ready.


“The energy that we’ve been bringing to these games, our energy has gone up so much,” Leavitt junior third baseman Sam Withee said. “We have confidence at the plate, and we’ve been working on drills in practice that have helped a lot.”

Emily Poland, Haley Turcotte and Dutil hit the home runs in the win over Lewiston.

In between innings, Poland and other players danced in front of the dugout, keeping the mood loose and fun.


The positive energy and power hitting were contagious. 

“With softball, no matter what team I play on, I have this saying, ‘Feed off each other’s energy,’” Poland said. “When you just get going and you’re cheering and the bats are going, something switches and you get out of that bad mentality you have sometimes going into games, and you just have fun and not worry about anything, and you’re going to have fun no matter what.”

“I think the biggest part of that game was we went into it having fun,” Dutil added.

The positive energy has continued, sparked, in part, by music.

“We have music, and music just gets us going,” Withee said. “Music has brought us close. Through this whole season we’ve discovered music, and we are just unstoppable, honestly. After we are all vibing to music, when we’re playing loose and relaxed, it’s a whole new ballgame for us. We’ve turned into a different team over the last few games.”

Some players say that Haley Turcotte is the best dancer on the team, while Kori Hathorne, one of two seniors, is an actual dancer. 


“You can see it in her play sometimes,” Dutil said. “She made a play against Mt. Blue where she had this hop and she pointed her toes and everything. She keeps the energy going and makes so many jokes.”

Leavitt coach Kevin Leonard has been working on understanding the young team he’s in charge of, a team with seniors Hathorne and Sarah Perkins, who was the starting catcher and a leading hitter for Leavitt before an injury on April 30. They can get on his nerves, but when it’s time to play, he said, the players are ready.

“They’re almost too loose,” Leonard said. “I’m still trying to figure out if their heads are focused or not. It typically takes the first pitch before they settle down, but other than that they can drive you up a wall with some of their cowboy hats or the line dancing they do. But, honestly, it’s a fun bunch, and it’s been one of the funnest bunches I’ve had in the eight years since I’ve returned. They’re normal high school kids that have a good time, but by the first pitch they’re ready to go.”

In their wins, the Hornets have averaged 7.9 runs a game. In losses, just 1.6. During their recent stretch of six wins in seven games, they have hit home runs in five of those six victories.

Sophomore Nola Boutaugh, who homered against Gardiner and in Friday’s win over Medomak Valley, missed the Lewiston win due to illness. When she returned for the team’s matchup with Messalonskee the following day, she saw a change. 

“When we then got to the Messalonskee game, we had a great energy going, and we’re all good batters and it all seemed to fall into place then,” Boutaugh said. “I was sick for Lewiston and I was really bummed because we were playing a Class A team, and then I heard that they had three home runs and beat them by so much. I was so pumped about it.”


The Hornets’ recent run has included revenge wins over teams they lost to earlier in the season, Gardiner and Medomak Valley.


Leavitt’s pitching also has been solid this season. Leonard said that Abby Albert, Turcotte and Dutil can all throw at least 60 miles per hour.

The pitchers have been backed up by a strong defense.

We’ve got excellent pitching. It’s so good this year,” Leonard said. “We’ve got three kids that are at 60 miles per hour. Abby Albert is as close to an ace as you can get. Haley throws hard, and Maddie Dutil threw the last couple games and she’s throwing well. So, along with our pitching and defense, we knew that if the line drives started coming then we would be pretty productive (on offense), and so far it’s held up.

“We’re strong up the middle, with Emily Poland behind the plate, she’s sensational there. We’re really strong, considering we’re so young. This will be great experience for the next couple years.”

The Hornets, currently ranked fifth in Class B South, have two regular season games left before start of the postseason. Leonard said this year’s squad is similar to Leavitt’s 2002 and 2003 Class A state championship teams.

“I coached back with coach Peter Higgins from ’02-05 when we were in Class A, winning state championships,” Leonard said. “Those 2002 and 2003 teams and the 2004 team reminds me a lot of this team. Those teams back then only had one pitcher, but I’ve got three to four right now.”

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