May 27, 2019
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Championship week: Bucksport seeking seventh regional softball title in eight years

Pete Warner | BDN
Pete Warner | BDN
Sisters Leine McKechnie (left) and Kortney McKechnie of Penobscot Valley High School are seen in this 2017 file photo.

When the Bucksport High School girls softball team holds its first practice of the season, head coach Mike Carrier doesn’t need to tell his team what the goal is.

The Golden Bucks have played in six state championships games in two classes over the last seven years and have four state titles, all in Class C, including last year. They lost in the B state final in 2011.

The top-seeded Bucks (17-1) take on No. 2 Narraguagus of Harrington (17-1) in the Class C North final at Coffin Field in Brewer on Tuesday. Game time is 6:30 p.m.

In the other regional championship games, top seed Skowhegan (18-0) eyes its third straight Class A North title when it faces No. 2 Oxford Hills of South Paris (15-3) at 4 p.m. Tuesday at Winslow High School.

Wednesday finals at Coffin Field in Brewer pit top seed Brewer (18-0) against third seed Oceanside of Rockland (17-2) at 3 p.m. in Class B and No. 1 Southern Aroostook of Dyer Brook (16-0) plays defending state champ Penobscot Valley of Howland (18-0) at 7 p.m. in a rematch of last year’s game won by PVHS.

Among games in the South, all of which will be played at Saint Joseph’s College in Standish, top seed and two-time defending Class C regional champ Madison (18-0) and No. 2 Sacopee Valley of South Hiram (16-2) play at 7 p.m.

On Wednesday, the Class D title game at 7 p.m. pits No. 1 Greenville (16-1) against No. 3 Buckfield (14-4), which ended Richmond’s eight-year reign as regional champs in the semifinals.

Carrier, who is in his 28th year at Bucksport and will coach his 21st regional final, is counting on the Bucks’ championship game experience.

“All of our players, except our freshmen, played on our state championship team last year,” Carrier said.

Ace righty Katelin Saunders has 491 career strikeouts and will be matched up against Narraguagus junior standout Lanie Perry. Both are Penobscot Valley Conference Class C first-team all-stars.

The veteran Bucks’ leading hitters are seniors Makenzie Smith, Maggie Bires, Hannah Stevenson, Darian Jellison and Hannah Ashmore.

The Class A, B and D finals will also feature potential pitching duels.

Juniors Chloe Jones of Oceanside and Libby Hewes of Brewer have met twice this season with the Witches coming out on top 4-2 during the regular season and 3-2 in nine innings in the KVAC title game.

Penobscot Valley sophomore Leine McKechnie and Southern Aroostook junior Kylie Vining will meet in a final for the second straight year. McKechnie pitched a one-hitter with 19 strikeouts and Vining allowed five hits and struck out 13 last year.

The Class A North final matched Skowhegan senior Ashley Alward against Oxford Hills sophomore Lauren Merrill, who two-hit the Indians in the KVAC championship game 3-0. Skowhegan won the regular season meeting 2-1.

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