BREWER, Maine — Hermon’s “heroine-of-the-day” formula for success was exactly that at the Class B state softball final, and on Saturday afternoon, it was Kristen Wilcox’s turn.
The shortstop and No. 8 hitter in Hermon’s batting order backed up a stellar pitching effort by Debbie Colpitts with two doubles, a single, and three RBIs to help lead the Hawks to a 6-1 victory over West champ Fryeburg Academy at sun-baked Coffin Field.
“That’s ultimately been the key to our success is that on any given day, somebody else is going to step up,” said head coach Stephanie Biberstein, whose 18-2 Hawks notched the program’s first state title since 1977. “Every day is somebody different. I think that takes pressure off any individual players.”
Hermon would get all the runs it would need in the first as Sami Schultz reached on an error, went to second on Monica Gallant’s one-out single, and scored on another error with two outs. Gallant would then score on a wild pitch and McKayla Bates drove in pinch runner Jenny Phipps with a double to make it 3-0.
“They did what we’ve done all year long. They took advantage of every mistake and didn’t make any that hurt them,” said Raiders coach Fred Apt. “We kept trying to come back, but Hermon kept shutting us down whenever we threatened anything.”
Much of that shutting down was done by Colpitts, who went the distance for a five-hitter.
“Their pitcher kept us off balance,” Apt said. “She hit her spots really well and her changeup messed us up. That caught us off guard.
We’ve been scoring five or six runs every game, but this is the least we’ve scored all year.”
Colpitts (18-1) notched 11 strikeouts and issued just two walks.
“I was working my curveball quite a bit,” Colpitts said. “I just wanted to keep their batters off balance and mix the change in.”
Biberstein credited the game called by catcher McKayla Bates and Colpitts.
“I think they used the changeup a lot more today and she has great command of her pitches,” she said. “When you can hit your spots like she does, you don’t have to be overpowering. I think she kept them off balance.”
Fryeburg (18-2) would reach Colpitts just once with a run in the fourth off a leadoff single by Brylie Walker, a two-base error on a fielder’s choice grounder, and Maggie McConkey’s RBI single to shallow right.
Hermon would double its score in the fifth with two outs as Graves reached on an error, Bates singled, and pinch-hitter Marisa Kelley reached on a fielder’s choice. That would load the bases and set things up for Wilcox’s bases-emptying double down the left-field line.
“Some games, the top of the lineup gets the hits and others, the bottom of the lineup picks the other ones up,” Wilcox said. “Today, I just was getting the bat on the ball really well.
“I was able to get a sense of what she was throwing at me and sit on some fastballs right down the middle where I like it.”
Just a freshman, Wilcox is typical of the youthful exuberance and looseness of a surprisingly relaxed team that has just one senior (Gallant) on the roster.
“We are a young team, but the key is the kids who came out have fun and they work as a team,” said Biberstein. “They know if they make mistakes, someone else will pick them up.”
It’s common to see the players laughing, singing, and even dancing in and outside the dugout.
“They were very comfortable and relaxed and I think it showed today,” Biberstein said.
Bates and Gallant each had two hits for the Hawks.