BIDDEFORD — Last June in the Class A South softball championship game, Biddeford High gave up five runs to nemesis Scarborough in the bottom of the sixth inning to tie the game at 7.
But the Tigers scored twice in the top of the seventh to win the game, 9-7, and the regional title, en route to the school’s second Class A state championship.
And Alex Chase knows why. In looking back at that game recently, she nodded to Brook Davis, the standout junior catcher on the Tigers.
“Other than the coaches, she was the sole player in that one inning who was on us about staying up and staying positive,” said Chase, a senior first baseman. “I think we won that game because of her. I don’t think we come back without her.”
Davis, standing three feet away, appreciated Chase’s comment. But to her, that was simply a moment to embrace.
“This game, softball, I’ve played it for a long time,” she said. “It is so much fun for me. I don’t get nervous. I go up to the plate thinking I’m going to have so much fun, I’m going to hit, I’m going to help my team out. I don’t get too, too nervous out there.”
It shows. Davis has become one of the state’s most feared hitters. In two years, she has 18 home runs (11 last year), 67 RBI and 63 runs scored. She hit .577 as a freshman and .633 as a sophomore.
The question this year – with only three starters returning for Biddeford – is whether anyone will actually pitch to her.
“Last year you had to (pitch to Davis) because they had some really good hitters around her,” said Rick Melanson, the coach at Noble. “I don’t know what will happen this year. You can’t give her anything good to hit. If you’re lucky, you get her up with nobody on (base) and pitch around her.”
Mike Bailey, the coach at Sanford, said his pitchers will be very selective with Davis.
“The thing is, when you’ve got a great hitter like Brook you can’t make any mistakes,” he said. “Even if you think it’s a pitch on the higher side she’ll go up and get it and it’s gone 200 feet the other way. She is a game changer.”
Mike Fecteau, the Tigers’ first-year head coach, knows this. In fact, he joked in preseason that he just might bat her leadoff. “If they want to walk her, we’ll start each game with a runner on first,” he said.
“I hope they pitch to me,” said Davis. “But I’ve experienced being walked in the past. I’ll take a walk for my team. And hopefully my team can hit me around and I’ll come around to score. It’s got to be a group thing.”
The Tigers will be led by Davis and seniors Alex Chase, Amber Magnant and Aibhlin O’Connor, all of whom contributed to last year’s championship run. Their job is to make sure the young players stepping in understand what it takes to not just play at the varsity level, but defend a championship.
“We need to show them what it means to work hard, like we did,” said Chase. ” You put in the work and something good happens.”
Magnant, an outfielder who will also pitch, said they’ve also got to welcome the young players to the team.
“We need to communicate and make sure everyone feels like they’re part of the team and had a part in playing the game,” she said.
And no one, said both Chase and Magnant, can do that better than Davis.
“Brook holds the infield and outfield together,” said Magnant. “She’s the one person you can trust to go talk to if you make a mistake, if you don’t get a grounder. You can talk to Brook and she’ll say, ‘Calm down, keep going.’ Brook is someone that picks us all up. No matter who you are she’ll always pick you up and give you the confidence you need.”
Case added, “She 100 percent knows how to communicate with everybody. I’ve never seen her get down on herself. When she’s in a game mode I know that she’s going to contribute, she’s going to make her plays.”
Davis takes her position seriously. In addition to Magnant, she’ll be handling a couple of inexperienced pitchers: junior Katie Stewart and sophomore Lexi Matteau. So Davis visited a session with their pitching coach. She wanted to watch them throw.
“I listen to them, try to learn from a pitcher’s standpoint as well as being a catcher,” said Davis.
“I think it makes me a better catcher. If the pitcher doesn’t know what’s going on I can point out that maybe their hands need to come down or their stride is off.”
She’s looking forward to their development and the challenge facing the Tigers.
“We have a lot to prove,” she said. “Being state champions we’ve got to live up to that. We’ve got to stay competitive, we’ve got to stay tough. Go through it, keep going, keep hitting, don’t stop.”
Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or: