STANDISH — As Skowhegan High was nearing the end of its infield practice before the Class A softball state championship game Saturday, officials announced that the teams had to clear the field because of an approaching weather system.

So the River Hawks retreated to their bus and regrouped.

“I actually think that worked to our benefit,” said junior shortstop Jaycie Christopher. “We went on the bus and we had fun. We’re really close, and just having that time helped with nerves a little bit.”

And it showed. The River Hawks kept battling back and finally broke through in the seventh inning, scoring three times to defeat Biddeford 7-4 for the school’s first softball state championship since 2014 and third overall, the other coming in 1993. Skowhegan (19-1) has played in seven state title games in the last 14 years.

“We’ve had our chances that’s for sure, for a while,” said Skowhegan Coach Lee Johnson. “There’s just something special about this group. They never gave up and they’ve always been able to grind things out, and they have a ton of character.”

This was a back-and-forth game, with each team seizing the momentum at critical moments. Each team also made rally-killing defensive plays to keep the game close.

But in the end, Biddeford’s normally-solid defense faltered in the seventh, with two infield errors.

“Unfortunately, we didn’t make the plays at times we needed to make the plays,” said Biddeford Coach Mike Fecteau, whose team finished 17-4. “But that’s the game of softball. We’ve been fortunate to make them throughout the playoffs and the season. And I tip my hat to Skowhegan. When they needed a hit, they got the hit.”

It was 3-3 game in the sixth before Skowhegan took the lead on an RBI single by Christopher, a basketball star who has already accepted a scholarship to play that sport at Boston University. But Biddeford tied it in the bottom half when Baylor Wilkinson belted a long home run that hit the utility shed beyond the left-field fence.

Winning pitcher Sierra Carey got the next two outs to send the game to the seventh tied. And with the top of Skowhegan’s batting order coming up, Christopher told her teammates, “We’ve just got to push through.”

They did. Freshman Annabelle Morris led off with a single to the gap in left-center. After an out, Mariah Whittemore shot a double to right field, putting runners on second and third. And after an intentional walk, Morris scored on a wild pitch to make it 5-4.

Carey then reached on an error, with Whittemore scoring. After an out, pinch runner Emma Smith scored on another error.

After Biddeford got a runner on first with one out in the bottom of the inning, Carey caught a pop-up and threw to first to complete a double play.

“This is special, this is really special,” said Christopher. “I’m certainly never going to forget this group.”


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