SACO — Late in a tied game, Averi Baker found herself in perfect position Saturday afternoon to make her last shot representing Hall-Dale High School field hockey a special one.

Baker, an all-state selection for the Bulldogs, had her eyes on the corner of the field in the final minutes of the South’s 2-1 win over the North in the Moe McNally Senior All-Star Game at Thornton Academy. As a long pass up the field appeared destined to go out of bounds, players from both sides were prepared to let up ahead of a bully.

Instead, South teammate Micaela Jacobs showed remarkable hustle to reach the ball and make a pinpoint pass toward the circle. Although there were other players from both teams in the area, the ball ultimately fell where only Baker could cleanly put a stick to it.

“I was just thinking, ‘It’s right there; I’ve got to put it in the cage,” Baker said. “I was a bit nervous, but I just needed to get my stick on the ball.”

Baker did that with 5:29 left remaining to break a 1-1 tie in the game, an exhibition contest for all-state senior year players from last fall. The resulting goal proved to be the difference Saturday in a game that had been deadlocked almost the entire way.

The South had two excellent scoring opportunities in the first quarter of play but came up empty as North goalie Madison Shorey (Belfast) made a pair of brilliant saves. The North got the better opportunities in the second period, but it, too, would come up empty with South goalie Savannah Havey (Greely) making three saves and Belfast’s Grace Hall sending a promising shot just wide.


The North continued its momentum into the second half and capitalized less than three minutes after the break with a goal from Messalonskee’s Frankie Caccamo. Just two minutes later, though, Falmouth’s Chloe Bush responded with a goal of her own to knot it at a goal apiece.

The late third and early fourth periods saw lesser action until Jacobs’ improbable sprint toward the corner to save the ball and ensuing cross into the area produced a golden scoring chance. Baker, a consistent scorer for Hall-Dale all throughout high school, was not about to miss.

“When I heard it hit the back of the cage, it was just so surreal,” said Baker, who will play field hockey and study nursing at Husson University this fall. “We were all excited to play one last field hockey game, and it was a great way to end it. I would never have expected it.”

Eva Stevens, left, of Mt. Blue High School gets her stick tangled with Mary Duffy of Massabesic during the annual McNally Senior Field Hockey All Star Game on Saturday at Thornton Academy in Saco. Ben McCanna/Portland Press Herald

Central Maine players participating in the game included the South’s Baker and Maddie Perkins (Winthrop) and the North’s Caccamo, Eva Stevens (Mt. Blue), Alaina Lambert (Winslow), Grace Moore (Maine Central Institute) and Leah Pushard (Gardiner). Sharon Coulton of Winthrop was one of three coaches for the South while Paula Doughty of Skowhegan was on staff for the North.

For many players, Saturday’s Moe McNally game marked the first time playing field hockey since the 2021 season concluded last November. With no practices leading up to the game and only a 30-minute warmup session prior to the start, those players spent much of the contest shaking off rust.

“I think everybody was nervous, especially me; I was super nervous during warmups,” Baker said. “I think once we got playing, we all settled down, and the game was a lot of fun. For me, once I got a lot of the kinks out during the first 10 minutes, I was good to go.”

Samantha McGrath of Kennebunk, 2021’s Miss Maine Field Hockey winner, was chosen as the Most Valuable Player for the South. Shorey, who made another great save late in the game as she denied McGrath on a penalty stroke, was selected as MVP for the North.

The game headlined the 13th Maine Field Hockey Festival. Seven-on-seven games were held before and after the all-star game. 

“I think there are a lot of people who are falling in love with the sport,” Baker said. “Everybody seems to be getting a lot better.”

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