STANDISH — Skowhegan scored four runs in the first inning and continued to put pressure on all game en route a 7-3 win against Thornton Academy in the Class A softball state championship game Saturday at St. Joseph’s College.
It was the first state softball title for Skowhegan (16-4) since 1993. The Indians had lost five times in the final since, including last season to Scarborough.
When Andrea Quirion drove in the first run with a double off the fence in left, starting the four-run rally, Skowhegan seized control it would never relinquish.
“Our momentum built off that,” Quirion said. “Everybody was hitting. It was just a great feeling off that. Everybody was up in the dugout.
“Coming into last year we were a little nervous, a little hesitant at the plate. Coming into this year we had that experience and it helped us a lot.”
Thornton (16-4) had won 14 straight en route to its first-ever appearance in the championship game.
“We broke a lot of records and it’s the first time we made it here,” Thornton senior captain Erin Brayden said. “It’s definitely not the end of the season we wanted, but it was still a great year.”
Skowhegan did damage right away against Thornton ace Bailey Tremblay, as Mikayla Toth and Eliza Bedard opened the first with singles to left field. With one out, Quirion doubled home one run. A throwing error by third baseman Kaylee Burns – on a play where it appeared the runners were ready to hold at second and third – brought in two runs, and Emma Fitzgerald followed with a double.
“I think the fact that (our players) were (in the championship game) last year was a huge help,” Skowhegan Coach Lee Johnson said. “They knew what the moment was like. Handling the moment in a big game is really key. You can’t make it bigger than it is.”
Skowhegan added an unearned run in the second to take a 5-0 lead.
Thornton scored twice in the bottom of the second when Libby Pomerleau’s two-out single brought in Burns and Maizee Lee. Even that was something of a win for Skowhegan, though, because Thornton started the inning by loading the bases with no outs. That quickly changed when Aleisha Cross’ fly ball to left turned into a double play, as Morgan Buker threw out Brooke Cross on a close play at the plate.
Skowhegan, which finished with 12 hits, scored two more in the fourth on a two-run single by Taylor Johnson.
Thornton loaded the bases again with no outs in the fourth but could score only one run. The inning ended when a liner by Brayden glanced off pitcher Kaitlyn Theriault and caromed directly to second baseman Bedard, who completed the play.
“They prevented us from those big innings. We tried, honest to God,” Thornton Coach John Provost said. “We had runners on … first and second, bases loaded. I mean, Erin hits an absolute bomb off the pitcher’s leg and it goes right to the second baseman and she flips over to first. That’s just the type of day it was.”