Nokomis’ Hope Brooks tries to make a catch over her shoulder against York in the Class B softball state championship Tuesday at Brewer High School. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

BREWER — All that came between the Nokomis softball team and a possible Class B state championship on Tuesday night was 60 feet.

It’s the length between bases on a softball diamond. It’s the length between third base and home plate. It was the length the Warriors reached not once, but twice, to potentially tie — and possibly take over — the lead from York, but could just not accomplish.

Instead, it was the Wildcats (19-1) that walked off Coffin Field with a 2-1 win, the program’s first state title since 1989. The Warriors finished 19-1.

With returning Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B Player of the Year Mia Coots holding down the circle, and a strong defense backing her up, the lone concern for Nokomis head coach JD McLellan entering the season was the team’s offense.

“Compared to last year, we’ve been working more on our offense, because our defense is solid,” McLellan said back in April. “The goal for this year is to score more runs, that’s for sure.”

That concern held true on Tuesday night. The Warriors managed just two hits off York starter McKayla Kortes. The lone run for Nokomis came in the bottom of the second inning, while the Warriors trailed the Wildcats 1-0. Senior catcher Megan Watson reached based on a single and immediately advanced to second on an error. Moments later, Watson reached third on a wild pitch from Kortes and scored on a passed ball by York catcher Carlie Welch to tie the game 1-1.


An RBI single by pinch hitter Bella Santini gave York a 2-1 lead in the top of the fourth. It seemed almost inevitable that the Warriors would tie the game again in the bottom of the inning, as freshman outfielder Raegan King reached base on an error, stole second and reached third on a wild pitch, all with no outs. But Kortes buckled down, striking out Watson, Jenna Sawtelle and Coots to end the inning.

“I was definitely nervous,” said Kortes, a junior, who struck out 10 batters. “I knew that if I just pitched strikes, my teammates would have my back. I was just able to pitch strikes and keep going and fire it in there because I knew my team wouldn’t make any errors.”

Nokomis was ready to make up for the missed opportunity in the fifth inning. Sophomore first baseman Addie Hawthorne led the inning off with a base hit up the middle, stole second and reached third on a wild pitch. She was followed by junior outfielder Sydney King, who walked and promptly took second base, with no York defender noticing or trying to pick her off in the process. But once again, the Warriors couldn’t take advantage. Senior outfielder Rachel Creswell popped out to third. Senior shortstop Camryn King reached first base on a fielder’s choice but couldn’t push Hawthorne home from third. Senior second baseman Hope Brooks hit a squibbler in the infield that produced a force out of Hawthorne at home plate, followed by Raegan King popping out to Welch behind the plate to close out the inning.

“I trusted our defense and I trusted McKayla,” said Welch, a senior. “She’s been my best friend since sixth grade and I knew she was going to push it through for us. And I knew our defense was going to come through, too. No matter where (Brooks’ ball) was hit, that run was not getting in.”

Two innings. Two opportunities. No runs for Nokomis.

The lack of runs did nothing to diminish the outing in the circle by Coots, a junior, who picked up her second straight KVAC B player of the year award last week. She struck out 13 York hitters, fighting with the infield dirt all evening, the result of hard rain that hit the area earlier in the day. She finished the season with 251 strikeouts. She also received some excellent defensive help, highlighted by Camryn King in the sixth inning, diving to her left to stop a hard ground ball off the bat of Kortes. King was able to promptly get up and fire a throw over to first, just getting Kortes out in the nick of time.


Nokomis’ Megan Watson slides safely across home plate on the wild pitch before York’s Maddie Fitzgerald can field the throw during the Class B softball state championship game Tuesday at Brewer High School. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

“We need more offense, it’s as simple as that,” McLellan said after the game. “And we’re used to having a lot of offense… Our offense just didn’t come through. But (York) is a good team.

“I really can’t complain too much. After going 19-0 and getting to this game, they played great.”

Nokomis graduates four seniors — including Watson and Camryn King — but will be a Class B North favorite again in 2024. Coots is well lined up to contend for her third consecutive player of the year award, with a possible nomination for the Miss Maine Softball award, given out to the state’s top senior.

But Tuesday night will be the outing that will haunt — and likely motivate — the Warriors next spring.

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