YORK — All the York softball 11-12 Little League team wanted this year was to recapture the District 4 title, a year after losing in districts following a state title as 9- and 10-year olds in 2016.

Indeed, the team won the district championship in June. More impressively, they won the state championship in Machias last week to earn a trip to the Eastern Regionals in Bristol, Connecticut, starting Saturday. It was York’s first 11-12 state title since the mid-1980s.

“That was our goal – to win districts,” said Coach Kerry Brent, who has led the all-star team for four years. “Once we won our district we said let’s just play softball (at the states), but we wanted the kids to have fun, too. Then when we got there we thought, ‘We can do this.'”

In the state tournament, York outscored Five Towns, Acadian, Gorham and Bangor by a whopping 45-13, including a 13-3, four-inning mercy-rule victory over Bangor in the final.

Many of the players from two years ago are on this year’s team.

“I think that the difference-maker for us is many of the girls playing together for so long,” Brent said. “They are such a unit. There are no egos, no drama. I think that is a game-changer.”

In the title game, Bangor cut a 5-1 deficit in half in the top of the third inning, but York put up five runs in the bottom of the inning for a comfortable advantage before pulling away with three runs in the fourth.

Carly Welch led the way with two hits and three RBI. Madison Raymond, who pitched every inning of the tournament, stymied Bangor by allowing only one hit while fanning eight.

“Going into Machias … I don’t think we expected (to win) and we thought we’d go up and have fun,” Raymond said.

“It’s been amazing. We didn’t even picture that we’d win the district tournament.”

Throughout the tournament, the top of the order – Chloe Bourque, Ava Brent, Raymond, McKayla Kortes and Emily Estes – has led the team offensively while Raymond’s hard throwing has kept the competition off balance.

Also on the team are Kayleigh Foss, Nina Anzalone, Meghan Daly, Adah King, Emma Joyce, Katie Sama and Ella Hickey.

York will arrive in Bristol on Friday but received a bye – from a random draw – and won’t play until Sunday against the New Jersey-Connecticut winner.

Again, York is not putting any pressure on itself and is looking to enjoy the experience. Any wins will just add to the already sweet season.

“I think (we are) most excited about staying in Connecticut, seeing different competition and (possibly) being on ESPN,” Raymond said. “We know there is a lot of good competition. We will have fun and try our best and see what the outcome will be. If we play to the best of our ability and we do our job we will be able to compete with some of the teams.

“Having a shot at going to the World Series is awesome.”

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