The battle of the bridge between the Waterville and Winslow baseball teams will take place 50 miles to the north at Mansfield Stadium in Bangor on Tuesday, but that will do nothing to diminish the rivalry.

Not with a berth in the state championship game at stake.

“We’re ready to go,” said Waterville sophomore AJ Godin, who is expected to get the pitching start for the Purple Panthers. “It’s what we’ve been waiting for. It’s always a big game. We know all of them.”

The Messalonskee baseball team will bid for a second straight Eastern Maine Class A title when it faces Oxford Hills on Wednesday at Morton Field in Augusta while the Skowhegan softball team plays Bangor on Wednesday night at Cony High School in Augusta for the Eastern Maine championship.

In a semifinal game today, unbeaten Madison hosts Winthrop for the right to play for the Western Maine Class C softball championship on Wednesday.

Waterville and Winslow played three times this season with Winslow winning both regular season matchups, 17-11 and 2-0, and Waterville winning the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference championship game, 10-0. Both teams used the aces Saturday — Brian Bellows for Waterville and Dylan Hapworth for Winslow — so neither is eligible to pitch Tuesday, although predicted rain will change that situation should the game be pushed back another day.

Winslow coach Jesse Lacasse was unsure Sunday if he’ll pitch Logan Hewes or Donald Camp but Hewes appears a likely choice since he shut out the Purple Panthers earlier this season.

“Hewes threw an awesome game against us,” Waterville coach Don Sawyer said. “We managed two hits against him.”

 Both coaches said strong defense has been a team strength down the stretch.

“Defensively, we’ve been playing very, very well,” Sawyer said. “We’ve been getting pitching from AJ and Bellows from Week 2. We have to come out and put a couple of big swings on the ball.”

Messalonskee coach Ray Bernier has pitched by committee with great results lately. He used four pitchers in Saturday’s 7-2 win against Hampden and may do the same against Oxford Hills, a team the Eagles didn’t face in the regular season.

“I believe we’re going with the same concept,” Bernier said.

The return of sophomore Jake Dexter to the mound late in the season has helped dictate the strategy. Arm problems prevented him from pitching until the last game of the regular season, then he pitched a couple of three inning stints in the tournament.

“That worked out well for us,” Bernier said. “He’s come up huge in the last two playoff games.”

 Skowhegan and Bangor each reached the Eastern Maine championship via upsets. Bangor knocked off defending state champ Cony in the quarterfinals while Skowhegan beat top-seeded Brewer in the semifinals Saturday.

“I’m not sure anyone had either one of us in the finals,” said Skowhegan coach Lee Johnson, whose Indians won Eastern Maine titles in 2007 and 2009. “We both want one more to get to that state game.”

Skowhegan beat Bangor twice in the regular season, 3-2 and 11-4.

“The second time they probably played their worst game of the year,” Johnson said. “We know this is going to be a tight ball game.”

The Indians alternated junior Kaitlyn Theriault and Taylor Johnson on the mound most of the season, but have gone with Theriault the past few games.

“Kaitlyn was pitching pretty good,” Johnson said. “And defensively we’re better off with Taylor at first base.”

Since losing one-run games to Messalonskee and Brewer, the Indians have reeled off six straight wins. Johnson attributes the turnaround to pitching and defense.

“So far in the playoffs I don’t think we’ve hit the ball to our ability yet,” he said.

Gary Hawkins — 621-5638
[email protected]

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