SOUTH BERWICK — The Cheverus softball team hadn’t won a playoff game in nine years. And Stags first baseman Madison Bunnell-Parker had a sinking feeling, with her team trailing by three runs, that the streak was going to continue.

“I won’t lie, I got a little bit scared. I got a little bit teary-eyed,” she said. “But I have so much trust in this team.”

The trust was rewarded, and the streak was broken. Ninth-seeded Cheverus defeated No. 8 Marshwood/Berwick, 11-6, in the Class A South preliminary round Tuesday, earning its first playoff victory since 2014 – also against the Hawks.

“It’s crazy. … It was a new experience, and it felt awesome,” said Bunnell-Parker, who had three hits and two RBI in the victory. “I’m excited for our next game. … We felt confident in our abilities, we just had to perform.”

That next game for the Stags (9-8) will be Thursday against No. 1 and defending state champion Biddeford.

“We just played them a week ago, so it’s going to be great to get back there and battle them,” Cheverus Coach Theresa Arsenault said. “The girls know they’re going to go in and battle every pitch.”


Marshwood/Berwick (10-7) fell in its first playoff game for the second straight year after going to the A South final in 2021. The Hawks experienced a six-win improvement in the regular season but let a 5-2 lead slip away Tuesday.

“Things that did well for us this season weren’t working today,” Coach Pete Eastman said. “We usually play defense very well, we usually pitch well. But we had some miscues in the field to extend innings, and pitchers really couldn’t keep their command.”

The Hawks went up 3-0 in the second with Emily Hester (single, double) driving in two of the runs, and then answered Cheverus pitcher Ashley Connor’s two-run double with two more runs in the bottom of the third.

Cheverus scratched across two more runs in the fourth, however, and though a diving catch by Hester in left maintained the 5-4 lead, the rally had boosted the Stags’ confidence.

“I was getting a little nervous,” Connor said. “But when I saw the next inning that our bats were coming back, I was like ‘Oh no, we’ve got this.'”

Eastman tried to throw off the Stags’ rhythm with a pitching change and brought in Hester for starter Lindsay Bennett, but the freshman’s command was off and Cheverus took the lead with five runs on three hits in the fifth. Bunnell-Parker drove in Eadie Nadeau with a single for the go-ahead run, and Bella Napolitano also singled in a run.


“Once they got the momentum from us, we just couldn’t get it back. It was a tough one,” Eastman said. “Pitching’s one of those things, some days you have it and some days you don’t. Today we didn’t have it.”

Cheverus added two more runs in the sixth for an 11-5 lead on singles by Bunnell-Parker and Delia Tremble (3 for 4), who combined to go 6-for-7 hitting with three RBI out of the Nos. 8 and 9 spots in the lineup.

“We are full of a bunch of great hitters,” Bunnell-Parker said. “I think Delia’s the best No. 9 batter in the state.”

Given the lead, Connor stifled Marshwood/Berwick’s productive lineup. After allowing seven hits through the first four innings, she allowed one over the final three.

“I was kind of more dialed (in), there was less stress on my back to not let them get any runs,” Connor said. “Without that stress, I could breathe a little.”

Bella Pomarico had three hits for the Hawks, while Hester had two and Bennett had a double.

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