NEWPORT — When the Nokomis softball team gets on base, it gets aggressive.

That aggressive baserunning helped lead the Warriors to a 7-1 victory over Waterville in a Class B North quarterfinal Thursday. Nokomis (13-5), the No. 3 seed, moves onto the semifinals, while the No. 6 Purple Panthers end their season with an 11-7 record.

Nokomis stole six bases in the first two innings, two of which came from leadoff hitter Amanda King in the first inning alone. King started the bottom of the first with a perfectly placed bunt down the first base line for an infield single, before promptly stealing second and third base, eventually scoring the Warriors’ first run of the game on a passed ball.

There was just one goal in King’s mind after reaching base.

“Just steal and score,” King said.

Nokomis’ baserunning helped fluster the Waterville defense, which made four errors on the afternoon. Two of those errors came in the second inning. King reached base again on a bunt single, and scored on a dropped fly ball one batter later. Later in the inning, Jordyn Condon reached on a walk, moving to second on a passed ball. Moments later, Condon attempted a steal at third, and scored when the throw went into the outfield, giving Nokomis a 3-0 lead.

“It’s been our nemesis all year, it’s not the other team beating us, it’s us beating ourselves,” Waterville head coach Tom Toner said. “Seven losses now this year, and out of those seven losses, four or five of them have been unfortunately due to some defensive issues that we’ve had. We just struggled a little bit today, we got flat after the first inning. I think we got in our heads. Nokomis did a great job getting the bunts on the ground and playing small ball.”

After scoring another run on a passed ball in the third inning for a 4-1 lead, the Warriors added their final three runs in the fourth inning, highlighted by a a two-run double to left field by Sydney King.

Nokomis received a strong start in the circle by Mia Coots, who allowed a run on four hits, striking out eight batters while walking three.

Waterville hitter Abby Williams attempts to bunt during a Class B North quarterfinal game against Nokomis on Thursday in Newport. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

“We saw (Waterville) in the preseason and split (a win and loss) with them,” Coots said. “I was excited to play this team and so excited with the outcome.”

Coots had help defensively as well. In the third inning, Waterville’s Raylee Gilbert hit a shot to the left center field gap that was run down and caught in full sprint by Amanda King.

“I don’t know if it was going to be over my head or not, I had to jump a little bit,” King said. “It was definitely very important (to catch the ball).”

Coots also gave defensive credit to shortstop Hope Brookes, who made the move over to the position from second base after regular starter Camryn King recently tore the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in her knee. Brookes had a clean game at short, and was involved in three ground ball outs.

Nokomis third baseman Mia Coots tries to throw out a Waterville hitter from the ground after making a diving stop during a Class B North quarterfinal game Thursday in Newport. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

“(Brookes) has been working so hard and she did an absolutely amazing job tonight,” Coots said. “I’m really proud of how our team has come together after losing (Camryn King), really just coming together and playing as a family to win the games we need to win.”

Gilbert was the tough luck loser in the circle for Waterville, showing dominance at times over Nokomis hitters. She finished with 13 strikeouts, with three walks.

“This year she’s averaged about two strikeouts per inning,” Toner said. “She’s been tough. She finished the regular season with 198 strikeouts, so she’s been a solid rock in the circle for sure.”

Savanna Cormier was 2-for-4 on the afternoon for Waterville, with an RBI single.

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