HERMON — The Hermon High School softball team is youthful with nine freshmen and sophomores among its 14 players.
But the Hawks feel it can contend for an Eastern Maine Class B championship, and John Bapst of Bangor coach Shannon Whiting agrees.
The Hawks improved to 4-0 with a 16-0 victory over Whiting’s Crusaders on Wednesday when the game was called after four and a half innings due to the mercy rule.
“They can contend. They’re solid all-around,” said Whiting. “They hit very well, they can bunt, and they run well. Their fielding is exceptional, and their pitching is solid.”
Sophomore righthander Alessa Oakes, who splits the pitching with sophomore lefty Karli Theberge, tossed a no-hitter with eight strikeouts and two walks. She threw 67 pitches of which 47 were strikes.
Oakes features a rise, curve, screwball, fastball and change-up.
“I thought I threw well today,” said Oakes, who didn’t allow a ball to be hit out of the infield.
The Hawks put the game away early, scoring 11 first-inning runs as the team banged out nine hits, including two singles apiece by Hailey Perry and Shaniah Haskell. Perry scored twice, and Haskell scored once and drove in a run.
Theberge ripped an opposite-field double to left center to drive in the second and third runs after Sydney Adessi plated the first one with a fielder’s choice on which the throw to the plate was late.
Haskell followed with an RBI single and Kylie Kennedy doubled home the fifth run.
Oakes had a two-run triple later in the inning, and Addessi added an RBI triple.
Perry finished with three singles, and Addessi, Theberge and Claire Petersen had two hits apiece along with Haskell.
Hermon has scored 62 runs through its first four games.
“We’re a young team, but we have a lot of experience,” said first-year coach Megan McCrum, who had been an assistant at Hermon for five seasons. “They’ve played a lot of softball.”
“We have a lot of people who play year-round,” said Petersen, the Hawks’ junior second baseman.
“We’ve been hitting the ball better than we did last year,” said Oakes. “And we know how to play defense.”
McCrum pointed out that Oakes and Theberge homered in Tuesday’s 13-0 win over Ellsworth and have hit the ball hard consistently all season. Addessi also has been a catalyst, and McCrum said freshman Perry has done a very good job in the leadoff spot.
“She’s very disciplined,” said McCrum.
The Hawks lost just three regulars off last year’s team, which went 16-2 and reached the semifinals. But the fourth-seeded Hawks were beaten by top seed Gardiner in the semifinals.
First baseman Shannon Graves, center fielder Gabby Bryant and shortstop Kristen Wilcox graduated, but Perry has moved in to play first, Oakes plays shortstop when she isn’t pitching, and senior Katie Kivler has slid over from right to play center.
Junior Kennedy plays shortstop when Oakes is pitching but plays third when Theberge pitches and Oakes is at short. Kennedy was the third baseman last season.
Freshman Lexey MacManus plays third when Oakes pitches and is in right when Theberge is in the circle.
Sophomore Addessi handles the catching for Oakes and plays left when Theberge pitches.
Petersen has returned at second.
Freshman Jaelen Albert is the left fielder, and Theberge plays right when Oakes pitches.
Haskell, a senior, catches for Theberge and is the designated player with Oakes in the circle.
The Hawks will host fellow unbeaten Old Town at 4:30 p.m. Friday.