One of the unique features of the high school sports postseason is that the brackets often match up either non-conference foes with virtually no familiarity with each other or conference opponents who know virtually everything about the other side, right down to what flavor gum each player chews.

The baseball and softball preliminary rounds scheduled for Tuesday offer plenty of both scenarios. In Eastern A softball, Lawrence hosts Mt. Ararat in the third meeting of Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference rivals this season, while Nokomis takes a three-hour bus ride to face Presque Isle in Eastern B. In baseball, Maranacook, of the KVAC, hosts Mountain Valley of the Mountain Valley Conference in Western C, while Gardiner and Waterville square off in the rubber match of their KVAC series in Eastern B.

Also in Eastern B, both Erskine teams will encounter Ellsworth on Tuesday. For softball coach Holly Tripp, whose seventh-seeded Eagles (9-7) host No. 10 Ellsworth (7-9) at 4 p.m., the prelim will also be a reunion of sorts. Tripp is a 2003 graduate of Ellsworth High School who started three years and played U16 softball as a lefthanded catcher for Ellsworth coach Rick Roberts..

Tripp, who went on to play at the University of Maine-Farmington, still talks regularly with Roberts, although she may not be sharing as much information about her team this week.

“Rick is a really good friend,” said Tripp, now in her seventh year at Erskine. “His grandson goes to my mom’s (Sue) daycare and his daughter and I have the same birthday. We have a long history together.”

Tripp, who has led the Eagles to the playoffs the last two years, said the most important thing she learned from Roberts was perspective.


“The thing I’ve always remembered about Rick is no matter what, he was always positive,” she said. “He was always there to have fun and make sure people were making connections and building relationships.”

The Eagles head into Tuesday coming off a bounce-back 16-2 win in their regular-season finale after losing back-to-back games against Camden Hills and Oceanside. Tripp said her team has been battling injuries and illness this season and has sometimes played games without any substitutes available. Getting that win to clinch a home prelim showed her the team has grown from its adversity.

“I think we’re in good shape,” Tripp said. “I would have liked to finish the season a little bit stronger but I’m glad we went through what we did. The girls knew going to Morse we had our destiny in our own hands. They knew if we lost, we go to Presque Isle for the second year in a row and get a 3 1/2 hour bus ride. So they just went down there and put an exclamation point on our season.”

Instead, it will be No. 9 Nokomis (10-6) traveling to No. 8 Presque Isle (10-6). Another Eastern B prelim has No. 6 Winslow (11-5) hosting No. 11 Medomak Valley (7-9).

In Eastern A, No. 8 Lawrence (6-10) will be looking for its first win in three tries against No. 9 Mt. Ararat (6-10). The Eagles won the season-opener, 14-1, and the rematch in Fairfield, 6-4, on May 22.

In Western C, No. 9 Maranacook (7-9) travels to No. 8 Lisbon (9-7) for the right to face top-seeded and defending state champion Madison. No.7 Mountain Valley (7-9) hosts No. 10 Mt. Abram (6-1), while No. 6 Carrabec (9-7) meets No. 11 Sacopee Valley (5-11) in the other prelim.


No, 10 Gardiner (11-5) and No. 7 Waterville (12-4) each won at home in their first two games, with the Purple Panthers securing home field advantage thanks in large part to their 5-2 win on May 29.

“I think it makes things interesting,” Waterville coach Don Sawyer said. “We split during the season and I’m sure they’re looking forward to a rematch again. We’ve got a home game again, so I like how things worked out.”

Clearly, one of the keys for Waterville on Tuesday will be defense. It committed four errors in its 4-1 loss at Gardiner on May 7, none in its win. Senior A.J. Godin was the starting pitcher in both games and has been the Panthers’ go-to guy down the stretch, but Sawyer said he was undecided on whether to give him a third crack at the Tigers or start junior Dalton Wood.

Gardiner threw senior Josh McKelvey in its win over Waterville and junior Nic Berube in the loss. McKelvey had a no-hitter going one out into the sixth inning. He also walked three, fanned two and hit a batter in six innings before Sam Jermyn came on in relief in the seventh.

Eastern B baseball includes another Erskine/Ellsworth matchup, but for that one, the No. 9 Eagles (10-6) will be traveling east to No. 8 Ellsworth (9-7). In another non-conference matchup, No. 5 Winslow (12-4) hosts No. 12 Hermon (9-7).

Western C features two intra-conference prelims and one non-conference matchup. No. 9 Madison (8-8) will face No. 8 St. Dominic (11-5) in Auburn, where the Saints blanked the Bulldogs, 2-0, on May 20 in their only regular-season meeting. No. 6 Monmouth (9-7) hosts No. 11 Carrabec (7-9). The Mustangs won 8-5 on May 6 in North Anson.


The non-conference matchup — No. 10 Traip Academy (9-7) at No. 7 Hall-Dale (11-5) — is a rematch of last year’s 7/10 prelim, which Hall-Dale won, 13-3.

Randy Whitehouse — 621-5638

Twitter: @RAWmaterial33

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