NEWPORT — Mia Coots’ stuff is so electric that her catcher’s hand once couldn’t take it.

Coots, the Nokomis softball team’s star pitcher, threw so many hard strikes last year that she wore down the cushioning on catcher Meg Watson’s glove. When Coots threw a particularly hard pitch one day, Watson said she felt a painful jolt as she secured the ball in the mitt.

“My glove had no more padding anymore because she had kept hitting it,” Watson said. “She threw a really fast one, and it broke my thumb.”

Coots, now a sophomore, has only improved for Nokomis. The Hartland native has fooled batters left and right in an utterly dominant season for the Warriors (15-1), who will enter the Class B North playoffs as the top seed.

A year ago, Coots emerged as a promising young pitcher for a Nokomis team that would finish runnerup in Class B North. She came on particularly strong toward the end of the year, sending the Warriors to the regional final with an 11-strikeout one-hitter against an Ellsworth team that entered the semis having won 16 consecutive games.

While clutch, that effort was nothing compared to what Coots — who’s gone 75 consecutive innings without an earned run — has done in 2022. The sophomore reached strikeout totals in the mid-to-high teens against Lawrence (16), Foxcroft (15), Winslow (14), Waterville (17) and, most recently, Maine Central Institute (18).


“I worked hard in the offseason; I worked out, I got into the gym, and I got stronger,” Coots said. “My goal was to own the mound and to be better than the batters I faced, and I think getting better in the offseason helped me step up my game from freshman year to this year.”

Then, on May 24, came Coots’ magnum opus. Facing a Hermon team that had delivered Nokomis its only loss of the season exactly two weeks prior, Coots struck out 20 batters in a perfect-game effort that marked her fifth shutout of the season.

Throwing a perfect game, the gold standard of a day’s work for pitchers on softball and baseball diamonds, was something Coots said she’d never really thought about prior to last week. Striking out all but one possible batter made the feeling even more surreal.

“Even though I’m a pitcher and want to do well, I never even dreamed of something like that happening in real life,” Coots said. “That’s such a crazy accomplishment, especially to do it the way I did it with 20 strikeouts. I’ll never do something like that again, I bet, but just to do it once is amazing.”

Nokomis sophomore Mia Coots looks on during a game Wednesday against Maine Central Institute in Newport. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

That game, Nokomis head coach J.D. McLellan said, was a masterclass in what’s made Coots so tough for opposing batters to read. Mixing in an array of rise balls and curves, Coots had the type of stuff that was untouchable from the first pitch to the final out.

Coots did the same thing Wednesday in her 18-strikeout one-hitter against MCI in Nokomis’ regular season finale. Her wicked movement forced some wild swings on pitches in and out of the strike zone from the Huskies, whose lone hit came on a bunt single in the sixth inning.


“She makes great adjustments, and she knows how to figure out batters quite well,” McLellan said. “I think her drive is special. She doesn’t let up or say, ‘OK, I can just breeze by,’ when it gets to the bottom of the order; she goes after them.”

That drive has helped power Nokomis to a No. 1 spot in the Class B North Heal points, which were finalized Thursday. The Warriors are one of two central Maine softball teams to secure top seeds in their respective regional tournaments along with 15-0 Hall-Dale, which will have the No. 1 spot in Class C South.

Coots is an avid fan of NCAA softball and the causes surrounding the sport, and that’s plenty evident in her gameday attire. In the back of her hair, Coots wears a sunflower, something the University of Florida’s done since 2015 in tribute to an honorary team member who died of cancer. On her batting helmet is a green ribbon, which promotes mental health awareness.

Nokomis sophomore Mia Coots (16) delivers a pitch during a game Wednesday against Maine Central Institute in Newport. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

“There’s been a lot going in Division I sports in general with athletes committing suicide, and it’s heartbreaking to see high-level athletes under so much pressure,” Coots said. “I know it’s a small way to bring awareness to it, but I want anyone who might also be going through that to know that they’re not alone.”

As for Nokomis, the Warriors have the advantage of having the region’s most prolific pitcher in their dugout rather than an opposing one. They’ll also have one extra game of rest as the only Class B North team with a bye to the regional quarterfinals.

Coots should be well-rested for Nokomis’ first quarterfinal game, which will be against either No. 8 Winslow (9-7) or No. 9 Presque Isle (7-9). So, too, will her catcher, who loves the stability a pitcher who throws nothing but strikes can provide — as long as her mitt is fully padded.

“I know where her pitches are going to go and when they’re going to get there,” Watson said. “She makes my job really easy.”

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