STANDISH — Kailyn McIntyre’s big plays boosted North Yarmouth Academy back to the state title game.

The senior singled to right field in the bottom of the seventh and scored the game-winning run when Hayden Wienckowski’s single down the line landed fair in short right field, and the Panthers prevailed 2-1 over Buckfield in the Class D South softball final Tuesday at St. Joseph’s College.

“To start, I was looking to get on base and go from there and see what happens,” McIntyre said. “… I was hoping Hayden would smoke it, and once I am on base, I know I am going.”

The defending Class D state champion Panthers (18-1) will face D North champ Penobscot Valley (15-2) in the Class D final Saturday (4 p.m.) at the University of Southern Maine in Gorham.

Buckfield (17-2) coach Shawn Prokey said top-seeded NYA capitalized on more opportunities Tuesday.

“Both teams played amazing; you can’t complain about either,” Prokey said. “NYA is a very well-coached team, defending state champions, and that’s the way it was coming into the game. They did a few of the little things better than we did, unfortunately. One team has to win and one team has to lose.”


McIntyre also scored the game’s first run.

She led off the bottom of the first inning with a walk, then stole second base. She nearly was tagged out while trying to swipe another base, but she put on the breaks and managed to slide safely into third.

“We used our speed, and we were going, we were stealing,” NYA coach Ricky Doyon said. “We weren’t going to sit back because we knew we had to get runners around.”

McIntyre came home when Jordan Nash’s fly ball to center field just dropped in for a hit.

“Jordan has an amazing bat. She has had it since last year,” McIntyre said. “She continues to improve, day by day, and her swings are so smooth.”

Second-seeded Buckfield tied the game in the top of the third. Brittany Carrier legged out a double with two outs and later scored on a throwing error to first base after Cora Brewster put the ball in play.


After relinquishing a run in the third, NYA starter Lily Rawnsley retired the Bucks in order in the fourth.

“She mixed her pitches up really well, which kept them off-balanced,” Doyon said. “They weren’t hitting the ball that well. She doesn’t have the speed as the Buckfield pitcher has, but she has great pitches where she mixes it up.”

Rawnsley allowed seven hits and had five strikeouts.

NYA loaded the bases in the bottom of the fourth with one out, but Bucks pitcher Carmen Crockett got out of the jam by getting back-to-back strikeouts to end the inning.

The Bucks had a golden opportunity to take a lead in the fifth when Alyssa Breton led off with a single and moved to second on a fielder’s choice.

Buckfield leadoff hitter Amelia Hill sent a grounder up the middle for a single to center field, where McIntyre fielded the ball and launched a throw home that arrived in plenty of time for catcher Cami Casserly to tag out Breton.


“I knew where I was going as soon as it was hit out here,” McIntyre said. “I was ready for it.”

She said the Panthers practice throws from the outfield all the time.

“We work on that a lot because we know she can do it,” Doyon said. “She has done it a few times this year, and today was one of the biggest throws.”

North Yarmouth Academy’s catcher Cami Casserly prepares to catch the ball before tagging out Buckfield’s Alyssa Breton during Tuesday’s Class D South regional final at St. Joseph’s College in Standish. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal

Prokey took the blame for sending Breton home.

“I may have been a little too aggressive on that one — I will own it,” Prokey said. “It was going to be one of those plays, but in a big game like this, you feel like you have to be aggressive, and certainly that one, it didn’t work out.”

Hill moved to second on the play, but she was stranded when Wienckowski, the second baseman, made a nice one-handed catch in short right to end the inning.


Crockett added three more strikeouts to her total in the bottom of the fifth. Wienckowski reached base on a two-out single but was stranded there.

Crockett finished with 14 strikeouts while allowing seven hits and walking one batter.

The Bucks left a runner in scoring position in the top of the sixth, and quickly got another one in scoring position early in the seventh when Cori Merrill led off with a double to left field.

NYA’s Sadie Morgan made a diving catch at first for the first out.

“We put the ball in play a lot, but their defense was strong,” Prokey said. “Every fly ball, even if it wasn’t routine, they made it. The first baseman made a great diving catch on that, and that was crucial. That was a great play. Unfortunately, when we got runners in scoring position, we couldn’t advance them.”

A fly ball to right field was caught for the second out, but the throw into the infield sailed past its mark, allowing Merrill to take third. But Rawnsley ended Buckfield’s final threat with a strikeout.

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