The state champions have been decided in high school softball, and now it’s time to have some fun.
Four All-Star games, co-sponsored by the Maine Softball Coaches Association and Frozen Ropes Training Center in Portland, are on tap for the coming week, with two to be played at St. Joseph’s College in Standish and the other two at Cony High School in Augusta.
The Maine Senior All-Star games will be held at Cony Family Field on Thursday, with the Class C-D East All-Stars taking on their Western Maine cousins at 4 p.m., and the Class A-B game is set for 6.
Each contest will consist of nine innings, or two hours, whichever occurs first, and all players should wear their high school team uniforms and arrive at Cony an hour and a half prior to the first pitch.
The Miss Maine Softball award will be handed out between games, along with regional player of the year honors in each class.
Bangor senior pitcher Sam Bedore, the state’s Gatorade Player of the Year, is one of the leading candidates for Miss Softball, and if she wins it, she’d be the second Ram in three years (Amy Hackett, 2008) to receive the honor.
Hannah Hill of Fryeburg Academy, now pitching at Seton Hall University, won the award last spring.
Two all-star games are scheduled for June 29 at St. Joe’s, starting with the Maine vs. New Hampshire senior game at 4 p.m., followed by the Maine Underclass game at 6.
The Maine vs. New Hampshire contest will feature Maine’s top senior players taking on the best seniors from the Granite State, and Maine players will be given a gold T-shirt to wear with a number on the back, and all players should bring game shorts or pants. The game will consist of nine innings.
The subsequent game will pit top underclassmen from Eastern Maine against the best underclassmen from the West.
Hawks could soar for a while
The only Eastern Maine softball team to pull through and win a state championship, the Hermon Hawks, could be contending for titles for years to come in the Class B ranks.
Coach Stephanie Biberstein’s team, which won the school’s first state softball title since 1977 by defeating Fryeburg Academy 6-1 on Saturday, graduates just one senior in outfielder Monica Gallant.
The Hawks hadn’t played in a state championship game since 1994.
Among the players who will return to defend Hermon’s title in 2011 will be junior pitcher Deb Colpitts, who was outstanding in the state final. Also returning will be EM championship game heroine Sami Schultz, a sophomore who sent the Hawks into the state final with a game-winning two-run homer, and freshman Kristen Wilcox, who drove in three runs on three hits in the state final.
Hermon will be recognized for its accomplishments at Speedway 95 on June 30, with a police escort to the racetrack for its “Wacky Wednesday” card, while the team will be honored with its state-championship trophy during intermission at the event.
Biberstein credited the town’s strong Little League and middle school softball programs for developing talented players.
“They’re certainly a major contributor as to why we’re having the success we’ve had now,” she said. “It’s very exciting to look down and see what we have coming up.”
Even though these Hawks had never played in a state championship game, they didn’t have the deer-in-the-headlights look which can victimize a team competing on this stage for the first time.
“The kids coming into the state game, they just wanted to go out and have a good time, see what happens,” Biberstein said.
With their respective pitching aces returning, Hermon, Mattanawcook of Lincoln and Bucksport should be at the head of the favorites in the East next spring.
Maine runners shine at nationals
A number of Maine track and field athletes ended their seasons with strong performances at the New Balance National Championships in Greensboro, N.C., over the weekend.
Kennebunk sophomore Abbey Leonardi led the Pine Tree State contingent with a fourth-place run in the 2-mile run while also finishing 11th in the mile.
Leonardi was timed in 10 minutes, 26.59 seconds in the 2-mile, the fastest time ever run by a Maine schoolgirl, while also running 4:56.22 in the mile.
Leonardi’s fourth-place effort in the 2-mile earned her All-American honors.
Earning similar accolades was Biddeford’s Kiela Grigware in the javelin, who uncorked a throw of 135 feet, 9 inches to place sixth.
Brunswick senior Will Geoghegan posted a strong 4:12.76 in the boys mile to place ninth, while Cheverus of Portland’s Jack Terwilliger finished 36th overall in 4:27.10.