For the second straight year, a player from Hermon High School has been named Miss Maine Softball.
Catcher Hailey Perry, who will attend the University of Maine in the fall, has won the award given to the state’s top senior player. It is voted on by the coaches and was announced at the senior all-star games at Cony High School in Augusta on Thursday night.
Hermon left-handed pitcher Karli Theberge won the award a year ago.
The other finalists were Windham first baseman Olivia Mora, University of Maine-bound Scarborough pitcher Lilly Volk, Bucksport center fielder Madysen Robichaud, Cheverus of Portland/North Yarmouth Academy catcher-outfielder Ally Tillotson and Wells catcher Sara Ring.
Perry led the Hawks in hitting at .576. She had a team-high 34 hits and 27 runs scored and tied for the team lead in doubles with eight. She knocked in 22 runs, belted four triples and struck out just four times in 59 regular-season at-bats.
She is also an exceptional defensive catcher with a strong arm.
“I was very surprised,” said Perry via text-message following the North-South Classes A-B Seniors All-Star game at Cony High School in Augusta Thursday night. “I knew about the other girls, and their stats, and knew it would be a tough choice, especially with my soon-to-be-teammate, Lilly Volk, in the running. She’s an amazing player!
“But it’s a huge honor, not only to be representing Hermon for a second year, but to be representing Maine. I’m so thankful and fortunate for this opportunity. I couldn’t have done it without my Hermon softball family, my family and my friends.
“I’m so excited to be furthering my career at UMaine and working even harder to become a better player every day,” she added.
“Hailey is definitely a great player,” said Jenn Plourde, head coach of two-time Class B state champion Old Town. “She has such a great arm that you hesitate to try to steal on her. You have to tell your kids not to take too big of a lead [because she’ll pick you off]. Her throws are also accurate.”
Hermon coach Rob Jenkins said Perry is amazing.
“I don’t think there were more than five steals against her this season. That’s a pretty good percentage,” he said. “She can easily make a [strong, accurate] throw to second from her knees. She is one of the best catchers I’ve had the privilege to coach.
“She allows us to do things, defensively, we wouldn’t normally do,” added Jenkins.
Plourde said as a hitter, a pitcher has to make sure “you hit your spots against Hailey because if you give her anything down the middle, she’ll make you pay for it.”
Perry also has an exceptional work ethic and desire to get better, according to Jenkins.
“She is always working on her skills in her off-time,” he said. “When she isn’t swinging at bat, she’s thinking about swinging a bat. She was the spark plug of our team.”
UMaine softball coach Mike Coutts called Perry a “great competitor.
“She’s a good leader on the field and she plays multiple positions so she will fit in great with the coaches we have now,” said Coutts. “The fact she can do different things makes her really valuable to us. We like our players to learn other positions because they can understand the game better by seeing it from different places on the field.”
Perry has played the infield during travel softball and can also play the outfield.
Coutts said the catching job will be “wide open” next season because starter Rachel Harvey graduated and back-up catcher Ashley Tinsman from Cape Elizabeth will be coming off shoulder surgery.
Maddie Decker, who will be a junior, wound up catching in the America East Tournament after Harvey was suspended due to an off-field incident.
Decker will be in the mix along with Perry, Tinsman and incoming freshmen Amanda Nee from Virginia and Makayla Livingston from New Hampshire.
“The big thing for Hailey will be adjusting to the speed of Division I softball,” said Coutts. “But she’s a good athlete and with her work ethic, she should be able to adapt quickly.”