HERMON, Maine —- Junior Allessa Oakes, part of the dynamic right-left pitching duo with Karli Theberge that led Hermon High School to the state Class B softball title last season, recently underwent surgery on her throwing arm and may never play softball again.

Oakes also was the Hawks’ starting shortstop when she wasn’t pitching.

She said she had a pinched nerve in her elbow stemming from “a diving play I made during preseason last year,” and it got worse during the softball season.

She played basketball this past winter, saying the pain “wasn’t as bad [as it was in softball], but it felt weird. If I moved it a certain way, I definitely felt it. I wore a brace so I wouldn’t move it the wrong way. When I tried to shoot, there was a lot of tension in my elbow.”

She decided to have surgery after “I leaned on it while I was sleeping and my fingers went numb. It had started to impact my daily tasks, not just my sports.”

She said the surgery was successful, but “as of now, after talking with the doctor, it doesn’t look like I’ll ever play softball again. I don’t want to mess up my arm just to play softball.”

Oakes has been out of a sling for two weeks after spending four four weeks in one.

Oakes was 7-1 during the regular season with a 0.80 ERA and 64 strikeouts in just 44 innings last spring. She walked just 11. She hit .491 with seven doubles, a homer and a team-high three triples. She shared the team lead in stolen bases with 10 and was second in runs batted in (20).

“My elbow is still pretty numb, and the doctor said it will be that way for at least a year,” said Oakes, who added that she isn’t in any pain. “It‘s going to have to heal on its own. I’m not undergoing any physical therapy.”

The 16-year-old said it is going to be “pretty tough” not being able to play softball.

“I’ve played softball since I was 7. Not being able to play is going to be weird,” said Oakes, who added that she will probably talk to her doctor at a later date to see if she might be able to play softball next season.

She does anticipate being able to play basketball next winter.

Hermon High School coach Megan McCrum, junior Theberge and senior second baseman Claire Petersen said Oakes will be missed.

“Not only is she a great pitcher, she’s a great shortstop, too. It’s going to take a team effort to fill her position. Everybody is going to have to contribute,” Theberge said.

“It’s definitely going to be hard, but if we keep working at it, we’ll get better,” said Petersen. “We have some people who can fill in at shortstop, and Karli is a great pitcher.”

McCrum said sophomore Lexey MacManus and freshman Katie Windsor will get some mound duty behind Theberge.

“They both pitch year-round,” said McCrum. “They pitched in middle school.

“But Karli will throw most of our innings,” she added.

Lefty Theberge was 7-1 with a 0.14 ERA during the regular season, allowing just 20 hits in 51 innings with 57 strikeouts and only five walks.

She beat previously undefeated Old Town (6-4) and Gardiner (6-1) in the Eastern Maine Class B semifinals and championship game, respectively, before tossing a six-hit shutout in the 6-0 triumph over Wells in the state final.

Theberge said she doesn’t feel there will be any added pressure on her.

“I would just say that I will have a bigger role,” she said. “I’ll try to stay in games longer and see what I can do. We have three pitchers on our team, so when we play doubleheaders, I’m sure we’ll all contribute.”

McCrum said the candidates to fill Oakes’ spot at shortstop include MacManus and sophomores Emily Perley and Chloe Raymond.

The Hawks are confident they can still make a run at another championship.

McCrum does have a healthy nucleus back headlined by Theberge, senior third baseman Kylie Kennedy, Petersen and junior first baseman Sydney Addessi.

Theberge hit .609 during the regular season with a homer, nine doubles, two triples and 30 RBIs. She led the team in RBIs and hits (28) and didn’t strike out in 59 plate appearances.

“The girls have worked really hard, and some of the players who didn’t get much playing time last year will step into those [vacant] spots nicely this year,” said McCrum. “It’s not where we are at the beginning of the season, it’s where we are at the end. We’re looking good so far.”