NEWPORT — It’s never easy for an established pitcher to develop good symmetry with a new catcher.

Unless, of course, that catcher is a  younger sibling.

Such is the case with the Nokomis softball team, which opened pitcher/catcher workouts Monday with senior Mia Coots — a two-time Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B Player of the Year — throwing to freshman sister, Hallie Coots.

Monday marked the first day pitchers and catchers in baseball and softball could hold team conditioning workouts.

“I feel awesome and I’m really, really excited for this year,” Mia Coots said. “It’s never easy. In the offseason, you’re always working, visualizing when you’re in (pitching) sessions, like, ‘This is York that I’m facing,’ and trying to do my best. And it’s really special that I get to share it this year with my younger sister as my catcher.”

The assignment is not an easy one for Hallie Coots. To start, she’s catching one of the state’s best pitchers. Mia Coots has struck out 475 batters in the last two seasons, including 251 last year.


“(Mia Coots) will keep us in every single game, no matter what, even on a bad day,” Nokomis head coach JD McLellan said.

Hallie Coots immediately becomes a defensive leader for the Warriors (19-1), who won their first regional title in program history last season and nearly won a state title, falling 2-1 to York in the Class B final. But gone from that team is the graduated Megan Watson, last season’s catcher who hit .483 with three home runs.

“At first, I was a little nervous,” Hallie Coots said. “I was thinking, ‘There’s no way I’m going to be a varsity catcher. Especially with one of the best pitchers in the state. She’s my sister, so it’s kind of easier to read her mind and think what she’s going to do. Right now, I’m just excited for it. I’m super-ready for the season to start. Today is the (start day), and I’m catching for her. I get to see Coach JD and we’re working together, kind of going over tips and tricks. Learning how to catch a ball, frame a ball, things I never had to worry about before.”

Nokomis senior pitcher Mia Coots fires a pitch to her sister and catcher Hallie Coots, a freshman, in the school’s gym on Monday. Pitchers and catchers in baseball and softball could begin throwing together on Monday. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel

“We’ve got a few things to work on, but (Hallie has) been working on it over the winter,” McLellan said. “She’s a house, too, she’s bigger than her sister, she’s strong. She’s going to be an asset over the next few years, she really is.”

The pair have built up trust over the years on the diamond, taking turns throwing to one another while preparing for their respective softball seasons.

“We always had a place to pitch (growing up),” Mia Coots said. “So I’d go, ‘Alright, Hal, we’ve got to go throw.’ We’d dedicate three hours. One of us would always fight over who got to pitch first, because no one wanted to catch first. Then the other one would pitch right after. We’ve been doing this forever.”


The duo got an early start during the winter, working on their game with their travel softball team. Hallie Coots said she has no issue talking with Mia about adjustments during a game.

“(The feedback) is always positive,” Hallie Coots said. “With being sisters, we have that sister bond, a little bit of that, ‘Ugh, I want to beat her up sometimes,’ but staying really close. You can read her mind, almost. I can call a pitch; she doesn’t want it (in the moment) and you learn from it. She doesn’t want a rise ball this time? Let’s throw a change-up out here. Learning and growing with her is a really good experience.”

“We have a unique relationship, not a lot of people are as close as we are,” Mia Coots said. “I know she’s knowledgeable. She’s young, but she’s played this long before I started. She knows what’s she talking about, and I know, myself, that if I’m not on and she calls (timeout), it’s good to take a second, talk to my sister, see what’s up and see what she notices. She also pitches, so she can pick up on things, too. It’s a learning experience, and (it’s) really good growth.”

Mia Coots is trying to put a state-title winning performance together in her final season. Upon graduation, she will continue her softball career at the University of Southern Maine.

“It’s just awesome to have a (college) home and know where I’m going,” Mia Coots said. “It’s going to be really fun for me to show my future coach where I stand (as a player). I’m just really excited.”

A return to the state final will be no easy feat for the Warriors. Aside from B North rival Lawrence, which Nokomis plays twice, the team will also take on Class A Skowhegan during the regular season, as well as defending Class C champion Hall-Dale.

“We’re all here for each other,” Mia Coots said. “We understand that last year was an amazing season. This year, we just hope to win one more game than we did last year.”

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