Skowhegan baserunner Carlie Jarvais (22) slides safely across home plate as Oxford Hills catcher Kaydence Morse fields the throw during a game Tuesday in Skowhegan. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

SKOWHEGAN — After trailing by a run three times in its regular season finale, the Skowhegan softball team wanted to make sure there wouldn’t be a fourth.

The River Hawks found themselves down a run Tuesday as they entered the bottom of the fifth inning of a major Class A North softball clash with Oxford Hills. By the time the inning ended, they had come within 180 feet of winning via mercy rule in what would be a 16-5 victory.

“We just got on a roll hitting-wise and didn’t stop,” said Skowhegan head coach Lee Johnson. “We’re capable of hitting the ball very well, and we did it today. Everybody just jumped on the bus and kept going.”

It was a remarkable reversal of an inning for Skowhegan, which plated 10 runs on nine hits in the frame to turn a 5-4 deficit into a 14-5 lead. The win secured the No. 2 seed in the upcoming Class A North playoffs for the River Hawks, who got hits from five of their six seniors in the Senior Day victory.

Oxford Hills (13-3) took an early lead in the top of the first inning as an error at first base allowed Miah Gallan and Trinity Bernard to score with ease. Yet Emily Dunbar answered for Skowhegan in the bottom of the first inning by ripping a double to score both Jaycie Christopher and Sierra Carey and tie the game at 2.

Skowhegan (14-2) would answer again in the bottom of the third after a Chloe Estes single put Oxford Hills back up a run in the top of the inning. This time, it was the River Hawks scoring two runs on a costly error as a misplay at second base allowed both Annabelle Morris and Carey to score and put the home team up 4-3.


Oxford Hills again took the lead in the top of the fifth as Maddy Miller and Gabby Wright knocked RBI singles. Yet after Carey walked for Skowhegan to begin the fifth inning, Dunbar started a spree of nine hits in the frame for the River Hawks as she smacked an RBI double to the wall to tie the game at five.

Skowhegan first baseman Riley Fitzpatrick cant dig the ball out of the dirt on a throw from pitcher Sierra Carey (13) as Oxford Hills Chloe Estes (3) hustles down the line during a game Tuesday in Skowhegan. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

“I have a lot of confidence in my team behind me, and I knew they would have my back if I could get [the rally] started for us,” said Dunbar, one of six Skowhegan seniors honored prior to the game. “That allowed me to get good hits.”

Dunbar’s second game-tying double would, indeed, get a rally going for Skowhegan. The River Hawks took the lead for good two batters later as a Callaway LePage RBI double brought home Dunbar to make it 6-5. The team went on to plate eight more runs in the inning before a two-run double by Carey gave the home team a mercy-rule win in the sixth.

Seniors Christopher (triple, single), Dunbar (two doubles, three RBIs), Reese Danforth (single), Riley Fitzpatrick (single, two RBIs), Annah Perkins (single, two RBIs) and Emma Smith (walk, run scored) all contributed to the victory. The senior day victory was an emotional one for the six players, who are no strangers to winning across multiple sports.

“It’s some mixed feelings because it’s a lot of fun to be able to compete every day with each other, but it’s kind of sad knowing that it’s coming to an end,” Christopher said. “From here on out, it’s do or die, so we have to come together and get the job done.”

Carey (single, RBI), LePage (single, double, RBI), Annabelle Morris (two singles, two RBIs) and Maddy Morris (single) added hits for Skowhegan. Carey was also the winning pitcher, striking out six batters in the win. Estes had two singles and an RBI to lead Oxford Hills, and losing pitcher Maddy Miller had an RBI single.


For Skowhegan, the loss came on the heels of a 5-0 road defeat Friday against Brunswick. Responding to that shutout loss with an offensive outburst was a major moral lift for the River Hawks, who were determined not to enter the playoffs on a two-game losing streak.

“I think we did a really good job to bounce back after Brunswick,” Dunbar said. “Usually, after we lose like that we get down. I was glad we were able to come back and battle our way back so easily. I think that’s going to help us a lot.”

Next up for Skowhegan will be a Class A North quarterfinal game early next week. Although the River Hawks are the reigning champs in the region, they’ll have to navigate a field that includes 15-1 Brunswick, Oxford Hills and potent Hampden Academy and Bangor teams if they want to take home another trophy in two weeks.

“There’s a lot of teams that are pretty dangerous, to be honest with you,” Johnson said. “I wouldn’t be shocked to see some upsets along the way. It’ll come down to whatever team survives.”

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