The Central Maine Community College softball team poses at the Auburn school before departing this weekend for the Small College Softball World Series in DuBois, Pennsylvania. In front: Sage Cormier; second row, from left: McKenna Ridlon, Sydney Stewart, Alyvia Perreault, Olivia Scott, Olivia Gallan; Back row, from left: Paige Ouellette, Sarah Poli, Emily Sanfacon, Emily Wormwood, Riley McNamara and Abby Ferland. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal

AUBURN — A rash of injuries dogged the Central Maine Community College softball team all season long, but the Mustangs turned to their resilience and versatility to carry them to their second straight national tournament appearance. 

The third-ranked Mustangs (28-3 overall) will be on the road again, travelling to DuBois, Pennsylvania, where they will face eighth-ranked Penn State New Kensington in their opening game of the 2023 Small College Softball World Series at 8 p.m. on Monday. 

Central Maine Community College softball coach Bruce Robertson signals to the press box that his team is ready prior to the start of the first game of a doubleheader against Thomas College at CMCC in Auburn on April 11. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

“It has a been a good year,” CMCC coach Bruce Robertson said. “It has been up and down. We had some injuries and we had to fill in some key roles (because of) injuries, but it has been a good, solid year. 

“It has been a team effort. When someone goes down, another one steps in. We have rebounded well with it.” 

Injuries kept the Mustangs hopping around and players were required to adapt to new positions in a hurry. 

“Our team captain, Abby Ferland, hurt her knee in the preseason down in Myrtle Beach,” Robertson said. “She missed eight to 10 games, so she is our starting catcher. She is our captain. That took a little bit (out of the roster). 


“So our next catcher, Emily Wormwood, had to step in. She did a great job. It is just the dynamic a little bit. Abby is not only our No. 1 catcher, she is our top first baseman. So when she is not playing first … essentially (we) lost two positions that we had to fill in.” 

Robertson said the Mustangs are all on the same page, which makes for a cohesive team. 

“When I recruit players, I bring them in and I get them to buy in to our system,” Robertson explained. “It is ‘we before me,’ and if they are not ready to play that type of ball, then this is probably not the best place for them.” 

The CMCC coach said the trip to Myrtle Beach helped get the Mustangs ready for the season. 

“We did a spring trip to Penn State (in the past) and that opened some eyes,” Robertson said. “There is a lot of teams who don’t see us up here in Maine, so seeing some of those Penn State teams and USCAA teams helped us. 

“So then this year we did the trip to Myrtle Beach. We played eight top teams, all nationally ranked, and that just set the tone right there.” 


Robertson admits he was “surprised” that CMCC is ranked No. 3 going into the tournament. 

“I thought we were going to be four or five, something like that,” Robertson said. “I think with the trip to Myrtle Beach, and playing all those D-III schools — Thomas, UMF and UMPI — it helped us solidify a solid record.” 

Robertson said if the Mustangs play their brand of softball, they will experience success. 

“If we go out there and we play confident, we play hard … we will be fine,” he said. “If we go out and we take it lightly and we don’t play as hard we can, we will probably lose.” 

He added just about every player is ready to go on Monday, but Oxford Hills graduate Olivia Gallan, his base-stealing leader, is a wait-and-see issue because of her knee injury. She will see how her knee feels during practice on Sunday.  

Ferland, a senior who graduated on Thursday and will be working on the orthopedic floor at Central Maine Medical Center, is also impressed with how her teammates stepped up when injuries appeared. 


“We had to put people in positions they don’t normally play, but we kind of fought through that and came out with a winning record still,” the Monmouth Academy graduate said. “We are definitely able to adapt to challenges.” 

She added that CMCC teams are close-knit and she enjoys the camaraderie and closeness that comes from attending a small school. 

Wormwood, a catcher and first baseman, was out with her own injury and missed the fall season after suffering a broken wrist, but it was another learning experience for her. 

“So I was out all fall, and it was really good to watch because we have a lot of new players this year,” Wormwood, a Mt. Ararat graduate, said. “So to watch all of them all grow into the player that we all know they that they can be, was something out this world.” 

Wormwood said the Mustangs proved their resilience all season. She said CMCC rallied against the University of Maine at Farmington after being down seven runs. The Mustangs won that game in the seventh inning. 

She added that CMCC’s pitching has been strong, as well as the team’s fielding. Wormwood said the Mustangs’ trip to nationals last season should give them a bit of an edge. 


“We now have that under our belt of what to expect,” Wormwood said. “Our first goal is to beat Kensington, and I think that is doable.” 

Pitcher Olivia Scott, who hails from Quispamsis, New Brunswick, said that it has indeed been an interesting season, “but we all came together at the end and still fight through it.” 

“Our team is very versatile,” she said. “Put someone in a different position and they are still going to play it.” 

Central Maine Community College outfielder Olivia Scott gets under a fly ball to end the first inning during the first game of a softball doubleheader against Thomas College at CMCC in Auburn on April 11. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

Scott said the disruptive injuries couldn’t dampen the Mustangs’ desire to make it to the postseason.  

Sophomore utility player Sarah Poli, a Lawrence graduate from Benton, agreed that it was an up-and-down year, but she added that the Mustangs prevailed despite unwelcomed challenges. 

“We faced a little bit of adversity, but we powered through it,” she said. “Everyone can play other positions, so we adapted pretty well. We would not be going to nationals if we weren’t resilient. 


“I had a gut feeling we were going (to nationals), but I also didn’t want to go in cocky. I knew at the beginning that we had it. Our team is better this year. I think our chances are very high. We are the third seed. We got a bye (through the) first round.” 

Gallan, a South Paris native who is a sophomore, is trying to move on after suffering a second knee injury. 

“I have been injured all year,” she said. 

She is hoping the other players are ready to go come Monday. 

“They better be,” Gallan said. “They’ve got a couple of days to figure it out.” 

But no matter what transpired during the regular season, the Mustangs are back in the postseason. 

“We’ve had a good season and the players have worked hard, and we just need to go down there and do what we do,” Robertson said. 

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