AUGUSTA — Much in the way its season unfolded, the Messalonskee softball team started quietly Tuesday night before steamrolling straight into the state title game.

The ninth-seeded Eagles scored six runs in the fifth inning en route to a 10-0, six-inning drubbing of No. 2 Skowhegan in the Class A North championship at Cony Family Field. Junior pitcher Morgan Wills tossed a two-hit shutout, while also going 2 for 4 at the plate with two RBIs to lead Messalonskee to its sixth straight win and first regional title since 2015.

“We were taken for granted for a long time, especially by (Skowhegan),” Messalonskee sophomore center fielder Kyra Cummings said. “We’re not done yet.”

Skowhegan (17-3), the reigning state champion, was trying to win its fifth regional title in seven years. 

The Eagles (9-11), who knocked off the top two seeds in the regional tournament after starting the season 3-11, will play for the state title at 2 p.m. Saturday at Cony High.

“It definitely made me relax a lot more,” Wills said of Messalonskee’s fifth-inning outburst. “My movement pitches, my curveball (were key). I heard a lot of parents say, ‘Don’t chase her junk.’ But it works.”

Wills surrendered a leadoff single to Jaycie Christopher in the first inning and didn’t give up another hit — retiring 15 of the next 16 — until a bloop single to left off the bat of Madalynne Morris to begin the home half of the sixth.

Two quick pop-ups to Eagle third baseman Jordan Lambert in foul territory followed by a three-pitch strikeout of pinch-hitter Emma Smith, Wills’ 11th of the night, secured Messalonskee’s trip to the finals.

“I think it took me a little bit to get in my groove and settle down a little bit,” Wills said.

Messalonskee pitcher Morgan Wills challenges a Skowhegan batter during the Class A North softball final on Tuesday night in Augusta. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel

“Morgan’s on a hot streak right now,” Cummings added. “There’s no stopping Morgan. If you can time up Morgan, you’re lucky and you’re a good hitter.”

Between the hits of Christopher and Morris for Skowhegan (17-3), there was success for Messalonskee up and down a deep lineup. Eight of the nine positions in the order scored at least one run and the only spot that didn’t cross the plate — left fielder Maddi Wilson — finished 2 for 4 with two RBIs.

The Eagles got to Skowhegan starter Sierra Carey with an unearned run in the third inning before blowing the doors open in the fifth.

In all, 10 batters came to the plate against Carey, who was touched for all five hits against her in that single frame. The inning started with Messalonskee’s 7-8-9 hitters all producing — including a leadoff walk from Payton Alexander and Cummings’ single to center.

“I knew we needed runs on the board, so it wasn’t time to hit for the fences. It was time to put the ball in play,” said Cummings, who was 1 for 2 with a walk and two runs scored.

Messalonskee team members celebrate around winning pitcher Morgan Wills, center, after beating Skowhegan in the A North softball final in Augusta. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel

“I always want to have a strong nine no matter what, so the girls at the bottom of the order know that they’re considered strong hitters, too,” Messalonskee coach Samantha Tunningley added. “We don’t want our opponent to ever feel like they can relax, no matter where we are in the order.”

That success at the bottom set things up for the top of the Messalonskee lineup, with Elise McDonald, Izzy Culver, Wills and Wilson all delivering RBI singles.

Skowhegan handed the ball over to Lillian Noyes to start the sixth, but she didn’t fare much better. Wills and Wilson again drove in runs from the third and fifth holes in the order in a three-run inning.

“With the way we were hitting, (Wills) knew that we were going to push runs across the plate,” Tunningley said.

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