Kelsey Sullivan of Brunswick legs out an infield single as Freeport first basemen Amanda Panciocco stretches to catch the ball during Tuesday’s game at Brunswick High School. Eli Canfield/The Times Record

BRUNSWICK — Coming into the season, Brunswick softball head coach Hugh Dwyer wasn’t exactly sure how the team would perform on the field. He did, however, know that he would be relying on a lot of underclassmen to step in and start on Day 1, a tall task considering some hadn’t picked up a softball since 2019.

“With this infusion of talent, I didn’t really have any expectations going into the season since it was such an unknown,” Dwyer said. “We really emphasize competition in practice, and I truly believe that’s raised our level of play.”

The young talent showed their stuff on Tuesday, as the Dragons rolled Freeport 15-1 in five innings behind a stellar start from sophomore Sophia Morin, who hadn’t started a game on the mound in over two years prior to Tuesday’s victory.

Brunswick’s Sophia Morin, left, and Kelsey Sullivan pose with the game ball in Morin’s hand after Tuesday’s win over Freeport in Brunswick. Eli Canfield/The Times Record

“I was definitely a little nervous, but I got out there and my teammates calmed me down which helped a lot,” said Morin, who allowed one run on one hit while striking out four. “It’s definitely a cool feeling to be out there helping your team on both sides of the ball.”

Morin is one of five underclassmen in the regular Brunswick (3-1) starting nine. While Dwyer was skeptical that putting so much on several younger players would be too much pressure at the beginning of the season, his players have certainly risen to the occasion.

“The key for us is a lot of these girls have played together before, a core of them have had a lot of good coaching and have built that invaluable chemistry that’s needed,” said Dwyer. “It’s really exciting because we don’t forget where we came from, and that’s something else that motivates us too.”

For junior captain and starting catcher Kelsey Sullivan, it’s a nice change from where they were two years ago when she was starting as a freshman.

“Softball is a team sport. So when you have all these girls coming up who show they can play a well-rounded game, it’s just great to see for us,” said Sullivan, who went two for three with a walk. “We all know each other pretty well which gives us that extra boost we need at times.”

Dwyer emphasized after the game the “confidence” that his team has, even if they aren’t as experienced at the varsity level as others.

Merry Brier of Freeport swings under a pitch in a game against Brunswick on Tuesday in Brunswick. Eli Canfield/The Times Record

“Look at Sophia (Morin) out there today, she didn’t look like she hadn’t taken the mound in two years,” he said. “We have confidence up and down the lineup whether you’re a senior or a freshman, which is one of the more important attributes to have in this game if you ask me.”

When asked about that confidence, Morin didn’t hesitate.

“I know that my teammates have my back, and I try to be quick to forget out there,” she said. “You just have to move on to the next play if something doesn’t go your way, which is something I’ve learned quickly.”

While the Dragons are focused on the task ahead this year, Sullivan couldn’t help but think about the potential this group has down the line.

“It’s nice to know that we still have so much room to grow and have the opportunity to be even better next year,” said Sullivan. “Everyone here is so committed, too, which gives us even more confidence to get better each and every day.”

Brunswick picked up five runs in the first inning and seven in the second to blow the game open and take control for good early.

The Dragons have now scored 43 runs over their past three games, all of which they have won.

“We just want to keep up our momentum and stay focused on the road ahead,” said Dwyer.

Freeport falls to 0-7.

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