Hailey Ruff of Brunswick, left, throws the ball back to her pitcher after recording an out at first-base during a game in Saturday’s Babe Ruth state tournament against Lewiston in South Paris Eli Canfield/The Times Record

SOUTH PARIS — Brunswick 12U head coach Krista Chase said she “couldn’t fathom” having just a six-week regular season after not having any season at all last year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Now, her’s and several other teams get their chance with the 10U and 12U Babe Ruth state softball tournament underway at the Dennis Rugg Sports Complex in South Paris.

“We really just want to come and compete with the rest of the teams. We weren’t very sure what we were walking into leading up to the tournament,” said Chase, who said her team hadn’t had any formal scrimmages before the tournament. “Of course our goal is to win, but our philosophy going in was to work and play hard, but have fun.”

Katelyn Blais of Winthrop winds up to pitch during Saturday’s Babe Ruth state tournament in a game against Andy Valley in South Paris. Eli Canfield/The Times Record

Games are played on a 90-minute timer to move the tournament along at a steady and diligent pace. Once the 90-minutes are up, the inning that is taking place can be played out if the game is close. Otherwise, games are stopped when the 90-minute timer goes off.

After Friday brought torrential downpours across the state that caused opening-round games to be pushed back in the 12U bracket, Saturday was 75 degrees with little clouds in the sky. Both fields were in perfect shape to host a full day of softball.

The five teams in the 10U bracket are Andy Valley, Auburn, Brunswick, Lewiston and Turner. The 12U bracket consists of Andy Valley, Brunswick, Lewiston, Lisbon and Winthrop.


Each team took different approaches when building its rosters for the state tournament.

The Brunswick team was selected based on performance in the regular season. Coaches collaborated to form a team, who have been practicing around twice a week since the three-team regular season ended.

In Lewiston, there were just two teams in the regular season. According to co-head coach Erick Ashton, they took a similar path to Brunswick and collaborated based on the regular season. Winthrop also had two teams, but held tryouts at the end of the season and chose a roster based on performance in tryouts.

Unlike baseball that was able to play a minuscule schedule last summer, softball had limited opportunities to play. The long layoff of no state tournament since 2019 added to the excitement for both coaches and players.

“It’s super exciting, the girls are more than ready to play some competitive softball,” said Winthrop head coach Chip Shaw. “I haven’t seen these girls be this excited in a long time. We’re happy to be here and ready to go.”

Hailey Ruff of Brunswick, left, throws the ball back to her pitcher after recording an out at first-base during a game in Saturday’s Babe Ruth state tournament against Lewiston in South Paris Eli Canfield/The Times Record

Players felt similar but also could feel the pressure of being on a big stage.


“We were excited but especially nervous. We’ve only played together a few times before,” said Lewiston co-captain and pitcher Ava Ashton. “I think we’ll be fine, we just have to play as we have been in practice.”

Coaches also think the time playing at a tournament like Saturday’s will go a long way for their experience on the softball field.

“This is so great for the kids. The experience they will get on and off the field is going to help their game so much,” said Ashton. “It’s a great organization and facility over here.”

Chase agreed with Ashton.

“For us, it’s more than just on the field. These girls have gotten to know each other so well and have bonded together as a team despite being from different schools,” she said. “One day they will be rivals at Brunswick and Mt. Ararat, but right now they get to share this experience together which is awesome.”

Both the 10U and 12U tournaments were scheduled to begin Friday before the rain said otherwise. Things started at 8 a.m., Saturday in the 12U tournament, while the 10U’s played their second-round games on Saturday afternoon.

The 10U games that were originally scheduled for Friday were played on Thursday evening.

State champions will be decided on Sunday afternoon. The team with no losses in the state championship game will have to be beaten twice by the team out of the losers’ bracket. The 10U state title game will begin at 11 a.m., with Game 2 starting at 1:30 if necessary. In the 12U bracket, the state championship is at 4 p.m. Game 2 will start at 6 if necessary.

Comments are not available on this story.

filed under: