As it does nearly every year in Maine, rain can provide headaches for area softball teams.

Monmouth Academy head coach Dave Kaplan is enjoying a 3-0 start to the season for his Mustangs. But the team has also battled with the rain, and the storms that hit the state at the beginning of the week did nothing to help the Mustangs’ playing field.

“We’re 3-0, so I can’t complain,” Kaplan said. “But like everybody else, we’re getting backed right up (with postponements). A lot of schedule changes with the schedule because of the weather this week. Right now our field is under water. We’re playing two more games on Saturday. We’re making up (a game against) Wiscasset/Boothbay in the morning and then we travel and play on the road against Lisbon on Saturday afternoon.”

Monmouth is far from the only team dealing with postponements from wet weather. In the Mountain Valley Conference alone, which Monmouth is a member of, four teams — Oak Hill, Lisbon, Carrabec and Telstar — have played just two games.

Winthrop, Monmouth’s rival and a fellow MVC school, is slated to play four games this week. But head coach Chuck Gurney wasn’t sure how many of those games the Ramblers might get in, considering his own home field wasn’t in playing shape.

“We’re supposed to play Oak Hill (on Wednesday) at our place, and right now I have my doubts,” Gurney said. “There’s standing water on a quarter of the infield. As it stands right now, we have games scheduled for Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday.


“We push on them, ‘Hey, we don’t know if we’re going to play tomorrow, but you need to come prepared,'” Gurney continued. “It’s game day. That’s all about what we can do. We have a couple seniors in Lauren Wood and Julia Letourneau that do a pretty good job keeping those younger kids on track.”

Fellow MVC rival Madison has managed to play six games entering Tuesday. Head coach Chris LeBlanc — who is also the school’s athletic director — is no stranger to wet conditions, or how to plan around it.

“We try to alleviate that when we have the opportunity,” LeBlanc said. “During (spring break) we played Mountain Valley in a doubleheader… We’re very fortunate to have six games in already.”

Nokomis third baseman Jenna Sawtelle makes a diving catch for the out against Winslow during a softball game Tuesday in Winslow. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

In Class D, Richmond has managed to play five games, starting the season off with a 3-2 record.

The Bobcats have a different scheduling trick than other area schools. Richmond got an early start to its season, playing its first game on April 13. The Bobcats also have three different doubleheaders on its schedule. So far, it’s been a success, as Richmond pulled a split with Class C Sacopee Valley on April 22. Richmond’s next doubleheader comes against Forest Hills on Saturday.

“We started earlier than normal, and the weather was cooperative early, getting those first five under our belts,” Richmond head coach Joe Viselli said.


Viselli said the doubleheader games can be both helpful and hurtful for the Bobcats.

“They help at getting the games in,” Viselli said. “I don’t think it’s the best thing for your team. This year, all of our doubleheaders are five innings. Now, all of a sudden, you have all your doubleheaders being five inning affairs. When you get into that seven inning game, you don’t have as much experience with that. It’s a double-edged sword.”


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Speaking of the MVC, the 2023 season was supposed to be considered something of a rebuild season for multiple programs that are annually contenders.


It turns out, it’s more of a recharge season than a rebuild.

Hall-Dale, Monmouth and Madison were all teams within the conference replacing multiple players within each team’s respective lineups. At the beginning of the week, Hall-Dale (3-0) and Monmouth (3-0) were both undefeated, while Madison is 5-1.

Madison had to replace seven starters, including pitcher Brooke McKenney, last year’s MVC player of the year. But LeBlanc has been pleased with what he’s seen so far.

“We’re real happy,” LeBlanc said. “I think I’ve always stated that I’ll talk about the one game we lost than the five games we’ve won so far. If we eliminated a couple of mistakes, we could very easily be 6-0… In losing seven people, seven starters, I need to commend the girls. I just told them early on that I would need to be patient, they would need to be patient because usually we come in with a high level (of expectation). (Pitcher) Kylee Furbush has done an admirable job coming in.”

At Monmouth, Kaplan has managed a 3-0 start with just 11 players on the roster, two of which, he said, have never played softball before. Brooklyn Federico has been an early standout in the circle for the Mustangs.

Hall-Dale pitcher Ashlynn Donahue helps her own cause by clobbering a two-run triple during a Mountain Valley Conference softball game against Winthrop on April 26 in Farmingdale. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

“We’ve been hitting pretty well,” Kaplan said. “We’ve got some sophomores that are hitting well. Federico has been superb on the mound. She’s a senior and she’s tough, she’ll keep us in most games. The strength is pitching, our infield defense is really solid.”


Hall-Dale, the defending Class C champion, had to replace five starters. But the Bulldogs returned its pitching duo of Ashlynn Donahue and Rita Benoit, with Zoe Soule at catcher.

“I think Hall-Dale is above everybody,” LeBlanc said. “I see a lot of the old Madison teams with them, they’re just loaded at every position.”


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Nokomis pitcher Mia Coots makes a pitch to a Winslow batter in the second inning during a softball game Tuesday in Winslow. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

It’s no easy week for the Nokomis softball team.

The Warriors are 4-0 after defeating defending Class B North champion Winslow 13-3 on Tuesday. But Nokomis’ biggest test of the young season will come on Friday, when it hosts Lawrence.


“You’re not going to no-hit Lawrence, it’s just not going to happen,” Nokomis head coach J.D. McLellan said. “They’ve always been a good hitting team all the time. That’s going to be a tough game, that’ll be the game probably of the year, the first time we play them.”

The Bulldogs (3-1) entered the week as the No. 1 team in the B North standings, while the Warriors were No. 2. Both are considered the top contenders to win the B North crown this spring.

“We’ll be doing a lot of practice work (for Lawrence), if we get the chance outside,” McLellan said.

It won’t be the last time the two teams meet in the regular season. The Bulldogs and Warriors meet again in Fairfield on May 26.

The Warriors — who fell to Winslow in the B North quarterfinals last season — returned nearly all of their roster this spring, including top pitcher Mia Coots, the returning Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B Player of the Year.

“With Mia on the mound, she gives us an opportunity to win, we’ve just got to put some runs on the board, and that’s what we’re working harder towards,” McLellan said. “Last year I don’t think we put enough on the board. We’re working towards that.”

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