STANDISH — After watching his Biddeford High softball team get just eight combined hits in its last two playoff games, Coach Mike Fecteau said he was looking forward to his team’s bats to break out.

It happened Thursday afternoon.

The second-seeded Tigers got home runs from Laura Perreault and Baylor Wilkinson and solid pitching from Charlotte Donovan to defeat top-ranked Marshwood/Berwick Academy 5-2 in the Class A South championship game at Bailey Field at St. Joseph’s College.

Biddeford (17-3) will play Skowhegan in the Class A state championship game at 4 p.m. Saturday, also at St. Joseph’s. It will be Biddeford’s fifth appearance in the state final, and the first since 2016.

This game lacked the drama of the Tigers’ last two playoff wins – they needed eight innings to defeat Massabesic in the quarterfinals and 14 to beat Windham in the semifinals – but it was still full of tension, with Biddeford holding a one-run lead into the sixth.

“It was a fight,” said Fecteau. “For us, we’re a young team, not being able to play last year (after the season was canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic), everybody thought this (year) was a prelim to the future. But these girls want to win. And that’s how they play.

“They play hard, they’re not scared to get dirty. They just love the game.”

The Hawks (16-4) were appearing in their first regional final. But after falling behind 3-0 early – Hannah Gosselin creating the first run in the second inning with her running and Perreault launching a long two-run home run in the third – Marshwood/Berwick came within 3-2 with some aggressive baserunning.

Raya Anderson scored from second on an infield grounder in the third, and McKenzie Davis scored from second on a bloop single by Alisha Dube in the fourth.

Then Wilkinson struck, hitting the first pitch from Dube in the sixth over the 225-foot mark in center field. Swinging at the first pitch is normally a no-no for the Tigers, but Wilkinson asked Fecteau as she walked up to the plate if she could swing away.

“I usually don’t swing at the first pitch,” said Wilkinson. “But that was my pitch, so I took it.”

Madison Dineen drove in Gosselin (three hits) to make it 5-2. Marshwood/Berwick stranded a runner in the sixth and seventh.

“This one hurts a little bit because the ultimate goal was to be playing Saturday,” said Hawks Coach Pete Eastman. “I walk out of here feeling pretty good that we didn’t beat ourselves. We just didn’t hit the ball. At the end of the day, that’s what it came down to.”

And for the Tigers, the season continues. When the players were presented the regional championship plaque, standing in the middle of the group was Fecteau’s 5-year-old grandson, Tanner Fecteau. Tanner was diagnosed with leukemia on Easter and is undergoing treatment.

The team wears black T-shirts that proclaim “Tanner Strong” and seek inspiration from him each day.

“This whole season is for him,” said Donovan, who struck out nine and allowed four hits. “We’re doing this for him. We have the fight because we don’t want to lose because we don’t want to let him down. We have someone watching over us.”

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