FAIRFIELD — The Winslow High School softball team is back in a familiar place.

The No. 8 Black Raiders held on to beat No. 5 Lawrence 3-2 in a Class B North semifinal Saturday. Winslow (12-7) moves on the regional final on Tuesday in Brewer. The Bulldogs finished 14-5.

“Something kicks when we get in the playoffs,” Winslow right fielder Neveah Duplessie said. “Something pops. We just do so well together. We bond, we support each other so much. It’s so nice to be on a team like that.”

After taking a 3-2 lead in the third inning, the Black Raiders held the Bulldogs hitless (and scoreless) the rest of the way. Junior pitcher Emma Michaud was strong in the circle, allowing two runs on four hits while striking out seven and walking two.

Michaud was backed by impressive defensive play, particularly from Duplessie, a junior, who stayed busy throughout the contest. Duplessie was responsible for five putouts and two assists. One assist came on groundball off the bat of Maylie Knox in the sixth inning. Duplessie was quick enough to jump on the ball to make the throw to Winslow first baseman Alonna Carreros for the out.

“We’ve worked all season on being mentally tough and having short memories when we make mistakes in the field,” Winslow head coach Kasey Larsen said. “It’s really nice for them to not have to worry about that stuff and to make plays when they happen and to show up for each other. That’s what they did today. They came out, they played for each other, and they made plays.”


But Duplessie’s most impressive play came in the third inning. With Lawrence second baseman Jazmin Johnson on second base, Duplessie caught a fly ball off the bat of Knox. Johnson tried to tag up and reach third base, but Duplessie threw a laser that one-hopped to third baseman Leah Knight, who promptly made the tag to complete the double play and end the inning.

“I (caught) the ball, and I just kept hearing, ‘Three, three, three,'” Duplessie said. “I’m just like, ‘Oh my god, I need to make this (throw) perfect. I see it go, I see it bounce, and I just knew. It felt so great, like it was the best throw I’ve ever thrown.”

Winslow jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first inning, when Michaud plated Knight from third on an RBI single. Lawrence scored runs in both the first and second inning, On an RBI single from Sage Reed and an RBI single from Kaylie Elkin to take a 2-1 lead.

Winslow’s Kate Nichols (20) and teammate Tayia Ware celebrate after defeating Lawrence in a Class B North semifinal softball game Saturday in Fairfield. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

Winslow responded with two runs in the third. Kate Nichols was hit by a pitch and Duplessie cracked a single to reach base. Both would eventually score on wild pitches to make it a 3-2 game.

Michaud led Winslow offensively, going 2 for 3 at the plate, with two singles.

It was a quick turnaround for both Winslow and Lawrence, each playing a quarterfinal game the day before.


“I could tell today (the players) were a little bit tired,” Larsen said. “But, again, when they put their heads and their hearts into something, they’re really hard to beat. They came out and they committed to having high energy and having the right attitude. They deserve that victory.”

Despite a tough third inning, Reed was otherwise brilliant in the circle for the Bulldogs. She allowed just three hits, striking out 14 and walking two.

“Winslow is peaking right now,” Lawrence head coach Joey Marcoux said. “They scored three runs, we scored two runs. Oh well. It’s unfortunate. I still personally believe we’re the better team, but we weren’t today. It was just one of those days.”

Elkin was Lawrence’s top hitter, going 2 for 3 with an RBI.

“We have a lot of underclassmen coming back next year, and today hurt them,” Marcoux said. “It hurt the seniors today, too. But the underclassmen were hurt today, and they felt the hurt last year when we got knocked out. They play summer ball and year-round. They love the game and I think they’ll be back and ready to go next year.”

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