Addison Hawthorne of Nokomis after scoring a run in the Class B state final against York. Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer

On the first day of pitchers and catchers this spring, Nokomis softball coach JD McLellan knew his team, the defending Class B North champions, were in for a bear of a schedule.

The Warriors had games scheduled against recent champions of three different classes (Skowhegan, Gardiner and Hall-Dale), a tough rival (Lawrence) and programs that proved to battle until the end in the B North ranks (Belfast, Hermon).

Playing strong competition throughout the season ultimately paid off for the Warriors (17-2), who beat York 2-1 for the Class B state championship Saturday at the University of Southern Maine in Gorham. It’s the first state championship in program history.

“(The schedule) was huge,” McLellan said. “Because we faced that really tough schedule, I think we were ready for the small things to happen (during the state championship game).”

The win was sweet revenge for Nokomis, which lost by the same score to York in the state final last year. The win also snapped York’s 35-game win streak.

“I’m on the verge of sobbing, and I’m also grinning ear to ear,” Nokomis senior pitcher Mia Coots said after the game. “This is just the most special moment I’ve ever gotten to experience.”


The win also capped one of the finest playoff performances by Coots, the two-time Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B Player of the Year. In the B North final — a 5-1 victory over Old Town — Coots struck out 14 and shared in the success of the game with her sister, freshman catcher Hallie Coots, who had a key two-run double. Against York, Mia Coots allowed two hits and struck out nine. In the final three games of her career, Coots struck out 40.

Mia Coots of Nokomis delivers a pitch during the Class B state final against York. Coots allowed two hits and struck out nine. Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer

“I knew coming into this that my team was going to need me at my best,” said Coots, who will pitch at USM next year. “My mentality (was) to go out there and (think) ‘You have to beat me. I don’t have to beat you. You have to beat me.’”

“She controlled the ball extremely well,” McLellan said. “It wasn’t just trying to force it by (hitters), it was putting a little more spin on the ball… But her pitching was extremely good. She was dialed in, she put spin on the ball and controlled the game.”

Early in the season, it didn’t appear Nokomis was going to have a dominant run. The Warriors went 3-2 in their first five games, which included losses on the road to Gardiner (7-6) and Skowhegan (5-0).

“When we had that Gardiner loss, Mia’s back was sore, and we had no preseason,” McLellan said. “We walked right into the season facing Oceanside, Gardiner and Lawrence and we had no preseason. And right from the first two or three games, the only people I had in the same exact position (in the lineup) was Mia and (Hallie Coots). Everybody else on the entire team was in a different position from the beginning of the season.”

Starting with a 3-0 victory over Erskine Academy on April 30, the Warriors started going on a tear, winning 15 consecutive games. Pitching and defense led the way during the streak as Nokomis allowed just 16 runs. That included a 6-0 victory over Hall-Dale on May 11, snapping the Bulldogs’ 62-game win streak.


If the schedule wasn’t difficult enough, McLellan also scheduled scrimmages against South Portland and Brewer, both Class A programs, before the start of the playoffs.

“We knew who’d we have to face (in the playoffs),” McLellan said. “We beat South Portland and went to a 2-2 tie with Brewer. Then we went into the playoffs and had a great game against Hermon (in the semifinals) and against Old Town (in the regional final).”

Nokomis graduates just three from its championship roster, but losing Mia Coots, along with first baseman Sydney King and outfielder Courtney Hughes, are significant losses. The Warriors will look different next spring and very different from the 2022 team that fell short to York in the Class B final. But with a Gold Glove now sitting in the trophy case in Newport, the program has a blueprint in place for how to make another championship run.

“It still feels kind of surreal, because it’s so difficult to get to that (championship win),” McLellan said. “Getting that monkey off the back is kind of a good thing. I’ve been doing this for 20 years at Nokomis. I’ve said, ‘Well, maybe I’ll (retire) in the next few years.’ But (now that we’ve won), maybe I can, and feel a little bit happier about it.”


Portland Press Herald staff writer Drew Bonifant contributed to this story.

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