Gardiner’s Corrine Vasvary, left, gets a hug from Devin Clary, right, after she scored on a passed ball to beat Winslow and win the Class B softball championship game Saturday in Gorham. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

GARDINER — For Corinne Vasvary, bits and pieces of Saturday afternoon are still a bit hazy.

Vasvary, a member of the Gardiner softball team, remembers scoring the winning run to give the Tigers their first state championship in 42 years. What she doesn’t quite recall — at least not vividly — is how she ended up on third base in the first place.

“There are some parts of it that are still a blur,” said Vasvary, who sprinted home on a passed ball following a triple to give Gardiner a 10-9 win over Winslow in the Class B championship game. “I barely remember hitting the ball, and I don’t remember running the bases.”

The adrenaline that comes with big moments in championship games often produces such lapses in memory, especially for the winning teams. Even for those whose memories are more lucid, it can take days for the reality of a state title to set in — something two local softball teams have learned over the past few days.

Gardiner and Hall-Dale are currently relishing state championship wins days after bringing shiny gold trophies back home. It’s a feeling of shared glory for the two neighboring school communities, which made southern Kennebec County home to half of Maine’s state softball champions.

Hall-Dale pitcher Rita Benoit (2) jumps into the arms of first baseman Sammy Thornton after defeating Mattanawcook Academy 5-1 in the Class C state championship game Saturday at Coffin Field in Brewer. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

It was a season of expectations for Hall-Dale, which entered the season as one of the Class C South favorites after returning most of the production from last year’s undefeated, state title-winning team. The Bulldogs lived up to those expectations, capping off a second straight unbeaten season with a 5-1 win over Mattanawcook Academy in Saturday’s state title game at Brewer High School.


“I think it feels even better knowing that we did it having the target on our backs,” said sophomore catcher Zoe Soule. “We talked about that as a team before the season. We knew that we’d be the team everyone was coming after, and to have that and go undefeated again is really special.”

Last year’s championship win was the first in program history for Hall-Dale, which had never even played in a state title game prior to defeating Dexter for the Class C crown. Yet repeating this year, senior third baseman Lily Platt said, feels even sweeter than winning it for the first time.

“Now that we can look back on it, this one was better for me because it was the last time playing together for me and our other seniors,” Platt said. “We talked before the (state championship game), and I said, ‘Hey, this our last day being Bulldogs, so let’s give it everything.’ To do it in your last game together, there’s nothing better than that.”

For Gardiner, it’s taken a few days for hearts to stop racing. The Tigers trailed by four entering the bottom of the sixth inning before coming back to tie it at 9 and winning it on Vasvary’s sprint home an inning later.

Yet while the adrenaline that was palpable Saturday afternoon might have faded, the high of winning a state championship is still going strong days later. Vasvary is still reading newspaper stories, watching recaps on TV and replying to congratulatory messages on social media.



The Gardiner Tigers celebrate after Corrine Vasvary scored on a passed ball to beat Winslow and win the Class B softball championship game Saturday in Gorham. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

“I’ve read everything and watched all the highlights Channel 8 and Channel 13, and yeah, people have been reaching out to me on social media a lot,” Vasvary said. “Standing back and looking at it now, it’s a dream come true. It’s something you want to relive over and over again.”

There were celebrations in both communities Saturday evening to congratulate the teams. The Tigers and Bulldogs received parades through their local downtown areas before arriving back at their respective schools, which are separated by a mere 3.8 miles.

“With the weather, it was exciting to see how many people came out for us,” said Hall-Dale senior Tanley Tibbetts. “There were probably 100 people there, and there were others who stepped out of The Quarry and Liberal Cup and all the other businesses to cheer for us. It was so cool to see that from the community.” 

Over the years, players from Gardiner and Hall-Dale have built relationships with one another through non-varsity softball. Vasvary, Zoe Soule, Emma Soule, Tanley Tibbetts and Tori Tibbetts play together for the Capital Mainiacs travel team, and players from both schools were ecstatic to learn about one another’s championship wins.

“I’m very close with some of those Gardiner girls,” Tanley Tibbetts said. “They honestly deserve it more than anyone. I’ve made amazing memories with all of them. They’re an amazing group of girls, and I know both of our teams have worked harder than anyone.”

Hall-Dale’s Zoe Soule slides into second base on a double as Mattanawcook Academy’s Ereka LaDuke (1) tries to apply the tag in the Class C state championship game Saturday at Coffin Field in Brewer. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

Vasvary had similar praise for Hall-Dale, which won its Class C title an hour after she scored to win the Class B crown for Gardiner. At the Tigers’ celebration at Gardiner Area High School, Vasvary and the other players welcomed parents and fans while taking photos with the state championship trophy and regional and conference championship plaques.

A similar reception was held back at Hall-Dale High School, where players got to hold the 2021 and 2022 trophies alongside one another. As for where the newest trophy is now, it might be hard to pry it away from head coach Steve Acedo.

“It’s on Coach’s desk,” Platt said. “I think he’s going to hold onto it for as long as he can.”

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