HERMON, Maine — There was a time early this season when Karli Theberge was seriously concerned about her season.
The ace left-hander for the Hermon High School Hawks spent four hours on a Sunday night in the emergency room at Bangor’s Eastern Maine Medical Center with a mysterious virus.
She pitched two days later and lost to Old Town, 4-1.
“It was hard,” she said. “There were some days I questioned whether or not I would be able to make it through half a day of school so I would be able to play.”
Theberge gradually regained health, and the junior has had a remarkable run in leading the defending state Class B champion Hawks, 17-2, and winners of 15 straight, into the Class B state championship game against 16-3 Yarmouth at 12:30 p.m. Saturday at St. Joseph’s College in Standish.
Yarmouth is making its first state-title game appearance and didn’t allow a run in the Western Maine playoffs behind pitcher Mari Cooper.
Theberge has won seven straight playoff games dating back to last season and has three shutouts and one one-run game.
“I was worried that she wouldn’t be able to play or have enough energy to pitch a whole game,” Hermon sophomore catcher Hailey Perry said. “But she went into games with a clear mind. She needed to fight through it and she did.”
Hermon coach Megan McCrum said Theberge “gets better as the season goes along, and her last couple of games have been spectacular.
“She gets a little more pop behind the ball from the beginning of the year, and her ball moves so well,” she added.
Old Town coach Jenn Plourde said Theberge will work the ball inside and outside.
“If she’s looking for a grounder, she’ll keep it low. If she wants to get a pop-up, she’ll throw it high. And she relies on her defense a lot,” she said.
Theberge feels she gets better as the season progresses but doesn’t change anything in the playoffs.
“I approach it the same way I do all season. It depends on who we play. [Assistant coach Duane Graves] calls a great game, and Hailey does a great job.”
And she said she couldn’t have the success she has had without her teammates.
Theberge throws five pitches: fastball, changeup, screwball, drop and drop-curve.
The drop-curve has been the latest addition to her arsenal.
“That pitch has been so effective,” Perry said. “It has crazy movement on it. It’s her go-to pitch along with her screwball. And she always has a positive attitude.”
Theberge said she worked a lot on the drop-curve in the offseason with pitching coach Larry Seaney.
Theberge shared the regular season pitching with Allessa Oakes a year ago. But when Oakes missed the season because of arm surgery, Theberge stepped up.
“I pitched all the playoff games last year, so it’s no big deal,” said Theberge, who also is one of Hermon’s top hitters along with Kylie Kennedy and Perry. Kennedy and Perry hit three-run homers against Old Town and Gardiner, respectively.
Three other state titles will also be decided Saturday.
In the Class D softball final at St. Joseph’s, slated for a 4 p.m. start, pitcher Jessica Girsa, slugging shortstop Audrey Dunstan and the sophomore-laden Stearns Lady Minutemen (14-6) will seek their Millinocket-based school’s first schoolgirl state title in any sport against defending two-time state champ Richmond (17-0) and sophomore standout pitcher Meranda Martin.
Stearns scored 53 runs in four EM playoff wins.
The Class C final at Brewer’s Coffin Field beginning at noon will pit 2012, 2013 state champs Bucksport, 18-1, against 2010, 2011 state titlist Telstar of Bethel (17-2).
Bucks pitcher Sami Goode will look to quiet the Telstar bats that pounded out 12 hits in an 8-3 WM final win over defending state champ Madison.
In the noon Class A final at the Cony High School field in Augusta, Messalonskee junior righty Kirsten Pelletier and her impressive assortment of pitches will attempt to stymie a Scarborough offense that produced 25 runs in three WM playoff wins.
Messalonskee, 16-3, is shooting for its first state title since 2005 while 19-0 Scarborough will be seeking its fifth state crown in nine years.