BREWER — For the second straight year, the Winslow softball team entered the postseason just barely in the top half of the Class B North standings. 

For the second straight year, the Black Raiders have emerged from that field with championship hardware.

Winslow has had to claw its way past a number of strong opponents over the past two years as Class B North’s No. 8 seed. The Black Raiders, who stunned everyone to win the regional title last year after a four-win regular season, repeated as Northern Maine champs Tuesday with a 3-0 victory over Hermon.

“Our whole mentality has been, ‘We’re the underdogs; no one expects us to win it, no one believes that we will,’” said Winslow junior pitcher Emma Michaud. “That takes the pressure off us, and we can just focus on having fun and doing what we do best.”

Winslow has certainly had its share of fun over its past two playoff runs, both of which have ended in celebrations on Brewer’s Coffin Field. This time, the Black Raiders got a one-hitter from Michaud in the circle and got a scattering of clutch hits at the plate to dispatch Hermon and book another state final berth.

Neither team could touch the opposing pitcher in the first three innings as Michaud and Hermon’s Katie Fowler posted a trio of perfect frames the first time through the lineup. Both pitchers struck out five batters during that span with Hermon’s Braelynn Wilcox being the only player to near a base hit on a bang-bang play at first base.


In the top of the fourth, though, Winslow (13-7) put two runners on base with Hermon committing an error at first base and Neveah Duplessie walking on five pitches. Then, with two outs, Harley Pomerleau ripped a single to left to notch the game’s first hit and give the Black Raiders a 1-0 lead.

No. 6 Hermon (11-9) then got its first two baserunners in the bottom of the fourth, but Michaud then got the inning’s final out to stamp out the Hawks’ scoring threat. Winslow would make Hermon pay as singles from Leah Knight and Kate Nichols, a series of wild pitches and a Michaud sacrifice stretched the Black Raiders’ lead to 3-0.

“When Leah got that hit and got to first, I think that’s when we really started getting going,” Nichols said. “I got a hit right after, so I think her getting that first one gave us some momentum. Suddenly, I just had the confidence to swing away.”

Winslow third baseman Leah Knight fields a bunt against Hermon in the Class B North softball championship game Tuesday in Brewer. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

Hermon threatened to cut into Winslow’s lead in the sixth as it loaded the bases with one out, but the Hawks hit into a forceout at home for the second out before Michaud forced a tapper to the circle to end the inning. The junior ace then retired the side in the seventh to secure the Black Raiders’ second straight Northern Maine title.

“I was really just throwing a fastball and trying to hit my spots,” Michaud said of her success on the rubber. “They were kind of struggling just hitting that, so I wasn’t trying too hard to throw them a changeup or anything special. I was just trying to get the ball over the plate, especially with the rain.”

Michaud struck out 11 batters and issued three walks. Fowler (eight strikeouts, one walk and three earned runs in five innings) and Lyndsee Reed (five strikeouts, one walk in two innings) split duties in the circle for Hermon, which got its only hit on a Faith Coombs single in the sixth.


Winslow’s win over Hermon followed the team’s victories over No. 9 Presque Isle in the preliminary round, top-ranked Nokomis in the quarterfinals and No. 5 Lawrence in the semifinals. The Black Raiders, head coach Kasey Larsen said, aren’t afraid to take risks and make mistakes, something she believes has been the key factor behind the team’s recent postseason successes.

“We always stress that we’re going to have short memories, we’re going to have a good attitude every day, and we’re not going to sweat the small stuff,” Larsen said. “We’ve built a team that’s mentally tough all season, and right now, they’re taking risks, and it’s coming up in their favor.”

Winslow will need to show more of that mental toughness this weekend when they face Class B South No. 2 seed Gardiner (18-2), which upset top-ranked York on Tuesday in its own regional final. Yet that hasn’t been an issue for the Black Raiders thus far, and the team’s head coach of three seasons doesn’t think that’s about to change.

“We’ve had a mentality all season where we’re going to work hard, not worry about making mistakes and hopefully get all the kinks out before we get to the postseason,” Larsen said. “Luckily, we did it this year.”

Winslow, though, didn’t “do it” only this year; they did it again.

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