The Maine Central Institute softball team is 3-1, while Nokomis is 2-2. No one would have predicted that, just like no one would have predicted that the difference in their records comes down to MCI beating the Warriors.

The Huskies’ 5-1 victory over Nokomis on Monday was big for a lot of reasons. Most importantly, the Huskies missed the Eastern B playoffs last year by less than two Heal points. While they played competitively against a lot of good teams and beat Winslow, they didn’t have a huge win like this one.

“Last year, we didn’t capitalize (on opportunities) as we should have,” MCI coach Nicole Steeves said. “I feel we’re doing that from the get-go this year.”

MCI had 11 hits and played clean defense. Nokomis has one of the best offenses in Class B, but had only five hits off MCI senior Courtney Fowler.

“She has been working in the preseason with everything,” Steeves said. “We worked on her rise, we worked on her change-up, and we worked on speed.”

With 12 returning players, the Huskies have the most experience they’ve had in quite some time. This is especially helpful with the battery of Fowler and catcher Kat Smedberg, who is also a senior.

“Courtney and Kat work together well,” Steeves said. “When you have a good catcher and pitcher combination, you’re going to win some games.”

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When Carrabec knocked off St. Dominic on Wednesday to improve to 2-0, the Cobras matched their win total for all of last season.

“Basically, we’re getting good pitching, and we’re playing good defense,” Carrabec coach Craig Knight said.

That doesn’t mean perfect defense, but Knight feels the Cobras are doing a much better job of limiting the snowball effect after errors.

“When we make a mistake now, we forget about it and move on to the next pitch,” Knight said. “I’ve asked the kids to buy into that, and let it go, and they’ve done it.”

Knight said catcher Brooklynne Lewis and his daughter, Ashlee, are providing the veteran leadership, and freshmen Paige Chadbourne and Libby Chestnut had five hits apiece in the first two games. It’s also probably not a coincidence that Ashlee Knight has stayed exclusively in the infield in Carrabec two victories. Ashlee can pitch, but Coach Knight would rather have Jessica Vaillancourt and Mickayla Willette do that job and have Ashlee play shortstop or first base.

It’s only two games, and the Cobras haven’t faced the league’s powers yet. But for a team that won two games last season — and at a school where that was the best record of Carrabec’s four sports teams last spring — it’s a welcome change.

“They’re pretty excited,” Knight said. “But I’ll tell you, I think these kids — they just want to win, but they want to do the little things right. This group is so much fun to be with. They’re good kids.”

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Erskine began the season with a 5-0 loss to Bangor and a 14-0 loss to Cony, then earned convincing wins over Lewiston and Mt. Ararat to bump its record to 2-2.

“We started off with some pretty hard games,” Erskine coach Holly Tripp said. “I think it was good for our team to see what that good competition was going to look like. If you take away some errors, those games look really different, so the girls know that they need to play clean softball.”

Tripp wants the Eagles to forget about their errors and move on from them. Of course, that’s kind of tricky, because the more she talks about that, the less likely they are to forget it.

“I saw them the Monday after our Cony game,” Tripp said, “and I said, ‘OK, we’re going to talk about this for about 30 seconds, and then I’m never going to mention it again.’ “

Tripp thinks with Erskine having a young team, her players can do a nice job of forgetting mistakes. She also likes what she’s seen from the senior battery of pitcher Alyssa Gartley and catcher Alison Gauvin, as well as the defense sophomore Avery Bond has displayed in center field.

“She’s all over the place,” Tripp said. “She’s getting to balls I didn’t think anybody could get to.”

Matt DiFilippo — 861-9243

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