Hall-Dale’s Torie Tibbetts (10) slides safely under the tag of Monmouth pitcher Brooklyn Federico after a wild pitch in the first inning of a May 19 game in Monmouth. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

It’s easy to say a regional final between the Hall-Dale and Monmouth Academy softball teams was to be expected — but how the teams got there certainly wasn’t.

The Bulldogs and Mustangs both had to survive by the narrowest of margins in their respective Class C South semifinal games. In the end, though, the two teams that have been the Mountain Valley Conference’s best all season dug deep to set up the most appetizing of regional championship clashes.

Throughout its 54-game winning streak, No. 2 Hall-Dale (18-0) has rarely been tested like it was in Saturday’s regional semifinal win over Maranacook. The Black Bears trailed by just a run with two on and nobody out in the sixth inning before Ashlynn Donahue pitched her way out of a jam as the Bulldogs held on for a 3-2 victory.

“We made a couple fielding mistakes, and I think if we don’t make those mistakes, we maybe hold them down a bit more,” said Hall-Dale head coach Steve Acedo. “You’re going to have games like that where things don’t go perfect for you, but we battled through it, and I was happy with how we played overall.”

Top-ranked Monmouth (17-1) also had to escape by the skin of its teeth in a 1-0 win over Spruce Mountain. The Mustangs needed pitcher Brooklyn Federico to come through as the team endured an uncharacteristically tough day at the plate, and she did nothing less as she one-hit the Phoenix while striking out six.

It’s set the stage for a big-time clash between Hall-Dale and Monmouth at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the University of Southern Maine in Gorham. For the Bulldogs, Acedo said, the key will be keeping the Mustangs from breaking through for a big inning, something Hall-Dale succeeded in doing in its 5-1 over Monmouth in the regular season.


“They’ve got some power and speed at the top of their lineup, so you’ve got to be careful about that,” Acedo said. “Both teams have pretty good pitching, we have strong lineups, and our defenses are really solid. I think it’s going to be a good game, a game that’s close until the end.”

In Class B North, No. 1 Nokomis (18-0) will look to win an elusive regional title when it faces No. 2 Hermon (15-3) at 3 p.m. Wednesday at Brewer High School. The Warriors won both matchups with the Hawks in the regular season, prevailing 5-2 on May 9 in Hermon and 1-0 on May 22 in Newport.

In Class A North, Skowhegan enters Wednesday’s 7 p.m. regional title game against top-ranked Oxford Hills (17-1) at the University of Maine fresh off a strong performance in Saturday’s semis against Messalonskee. The Vikings edged the River Hawks 2-1 on May 30 in a tight regular season finale.


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Their games came down to the wire, but the Cony and Messalonskee girls lacrosse teams are still alive after pulling out hard-fought victories in their respective Class B quarterfinal contests.

Weather-permitting, the Rams and Eagles will head on the road to play in  regional semifinal games. Third-ranked Cony (13-2) will face No. 2 Brunswick (13-2), while No. 5 Messalonskee (8-6) will take on top-seeded Greely (13-2).

Cony, which avenged one of its two losses on the year with Saturday’s 12-10 quarterfinal win over Camden Hills, will now look to avenge the other against Brunswick at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday. The Dragons beat the Rams 14-4 on April 22, though Cony was at a disadvantage with multiple starters out for April break.

Cony’s Abby Morrill, left, tries to get around Messalonskee defender Abigail Stevens during a May 31 lacrosse game in Augusta. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

“That’s one game where we were held early in the season, but we’re confident with the group that we’ll have on the field that we’ll be able to score more goals than we did the first time,” Cony head coach Gretchen Livingston said. “Defensively, we’ll need to have a strong ride because we know their transition game is very good.”

Messalonskee will look to take down reigning state champion Greely at 5 p.m. Tuesday. The Eagles’ 6-5 win over Mt. Ararat, along with Cony’s tight win and Brunswick’s 9-8 victory over York, made for a very entertaining quarterfinal round that highlighted the competitiveness of Class B.

“Class B is a really strong group of teams,” Livingston said. “There’s only 12 teams, but the eight of us that made the quarterfinals can all play. On any given day, anybody can beat anybody. I’m looking forward to seeing how it all plays out this week, for sure.”


Following the Cony-Brunswick girls game, the third-ranked Messalonskee (11-4) will look to take down the No. 2 Dragons (11-4) at 7 p.m. It’s a rematch of a state semifinal last season, in which Brunswick knocked off the Eagles in Oakland en route to claiming the state title.

The two teams split their two regular season matchups with Messalonskee winning 19-10 on May 19 in Brunswick and the Dragons prevailing 10-9 on May 30 in Oakland. Winning the rubber match, Eagles head coach Tom Sheridan said, will require his team to neutralize Brunswick’s Zach Stern-Hayes.

Monmouth’s Kyle Palleschi pitches to a Mt. Abram batter during a May 10 game in Monmouth. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

“He had a great game for us in the playoffs last year, and he was tough both times we played him this year,” Sheridan said of Stern-Hayes, who scored four goals against Messalonskee in last year’s regional semis. “We know it’ll be tough, but to have to beat Brunswick to get to the state game, that just feels right.”

In Class C, fourth-ranked Oak Hill (9-6) will take on No. 1 Waynflete (13-2) at 4 p.m. Wednesday. The Flyers, who have dominated against Class C opposition all year, topped the Raiders 11-4 in the two teams’ lone meeting this year back on May 2.


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Although there were a number of central Maine baseball teams with legitimate regional championship aspirations this season, only one will get the opportunity to play for one Wednesday: the Monmouth Mustangs.

Expected to contend for the Class C South title after returning much of last year’s regional runner-up team, No. 2 Monmouth (17-1) lived up to the hype. Since losing 3-0 to Oak Hill on April 26, the Mustangs have rattled off 16 straight wins to earn a date with No. 1 Sacopee Valley at 3 p.m. Wednesday at USM.

Monmouth had to navigate a remarkably difficult MVC field to do so. Oak Hill, which the Mustangs defeated in Saturday’s regional semis, had a championship-caliber squad this season, as did a veteran Mt. Abram team. The Mustangs also had to go through reigning regional champ Lisbon in the quarterfinals.

Monmouth did it in well-rounded fashion. The Mustangs boast an incredibly strong lineup that’s averaging 9.7 runs per game and scored 10 runs or more 10 times in 11 games from late April to late May. Their pitching is also strong, having held opponents to two or fewer runs in 14 of 18 games.

In Sacopee Valley, Monmouth will face an equally well-rounded foe that outscored opponents by an average margin of 9.4-1.2 this season. They did, though, need to rally in extra innings to claim a 4-2 win over Waynflete/North Yarmouth Academy in the semifinals.

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