BIDDEFORD — Many of the members of Biddeford High’s softball team have been playing together since they were nine years old. Most have been coached by Ray Magnant for that long.

They won Little League district championships. They won two Junior League state championships.

But Saturday will be a special day for them. They’ll be playing for a high school state championship. The Tigers (15-4) will play Skowhegan (12-7) for the Class A state title at 4 p.m. at St. Joseph’s College.

“Some of us have T-ball pictures together, so we’ve been together for a long time,” said Brook Davis, Biddeford’s sophomore catcher, who was named player of the year in the SMAA. “It’s very special. We played Little League looking up to those high school girls hoping that would be us some day. And it’s kind of unbelievable thinking we’re at that point in our lives where we’re going to states.

“That’s where we’ve always dreamed to be when we were younger.”

“These girls are all great friends,” said Magnant, in his second year as Biddeford’s coach. “They love the game and they have fun together.”

Biddeford, which lost in the regional semifinals in each of the three previous seasons, got here by knocking off top-ranked and previously unbeaten Scarborough 9-7 in the Class A South championship game. That game highlighted the Tigers’ strengths: aggressive hitting (15 hits), clutch pitching by Kirsten Lebreux and steady defense.

The Tigers, who last won a state title in 2006, have always been able to hit but were also hindered by defensive breakdowns.

Not this year.

“We still make mistakes at times,” said Magnant. “But we stay up. We don’t get down.”

“I think a big thing this year is that throughout the season we learned to play with each other,” said Lebreux, who will attend Bentley University next fall and will run track. “We have confidence in each other.”

In Tuesday’s regional championship, Scarborough scored five runs in the bottom of the sixth to tie the game at 7. But, said senior third baseman Erin Martin, the Tigers didn’t panic.

“We just moved on to the next play,” she said.

And scored twice in the top of the seventh to win the game.

Davis is Biddeford’s most feared hitter, with a .643 average, 11 home runs and 39 RBI. Martin, who will attend USM, is hitting .549 with 26 runs. Lebreux is hitting .493 and is 14-3 as a pitcher.

As well as the Tigers have played, they are also gaining inspiration from an outside source.

Donald “Joe” Colucci, the father of Thornton Academy sophomore Louisa Colucci, died on Monday. Louisa Colucci plays summer ball with many of the Tigers on Magnant’s team and Joe Colucci was always there with her, cheering her and her teammates on.

Before the regional championship with Scarborough, the Biddeford players requested that a moment of silence be held for him. And then they dedicated the game to him.

When the game ended, said Martin, Louisa Colucci joined the celebration.

“We’re just trying to support her,” said Martin. “And she’s supporting us.”

That support transcends the Tigers’ rivalry with Thornton Academy.

“We love her, we love her family,” said Davis. “It means a lot that we did something for them. I know she plays for Thornton and we have that rivalry with them but they’re like family to us.”

Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or at:

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