When Deer Isle-Stonington High School didn’t have enough players to field a team this spring, Kaylee Morey was faced with a dilemma.
The senior catcher was going to have another season wiped out after the 2020 campaign was canceled because of COVID-19.
Missing two seasons would have made her transition to college even more difficult as she is headed to NCAA Division II St. Michael’s College in Colchester, Vermont, on a softball scholarship.
So Morey sought an opportunity to play at another school in the area, which is allowed under Maine Principals’ Association rules.
The three choices were George Stevens Academy in Blue Hill, Ellsworth High School and Bucksport High School.
Morey said GSA and Ellsworth weren’t receptive, and Bucksport administrators originally said no before agreeing to let her play for the Golden Bucks.
Morey had a relationship with several Bucksport players with whom she had played summer league softball. Among those was pitcher Madison Frazier.
Frazier and Morey first played together since they were 9 years old and have been teammates, off and on, ever since.
Frazier said she constantly campaigned for Morey’s inclusion to the team and is glad she did.
“I wanted her to have a season. I didn’t want her going off to college after missing two seasons,” Frazier said.
Morey has been making the most of her opportunity.
“She’s the best catcher in the state. She’s one of the best I’ve ever coached,” said Bucksport coach Mike Carrier, who has been involved with the Golden Bucks softball program for 38 years, including the last 31 as the head coach.
Morey filled a need at catcher as Bucksport would instead have used a freshman there.
In addition to her defensive skills, Morey is hitting over .500 and is one of the team leaders in runs batted in.
“She has had a huge impact on and off the field,” Frazier said.
Playing for Bucksport has required a huge commitment. Morey drives one hour each way from Stonington to Bucksport for practices and games.
“It hasn’t been too bad. I used to go to Bangor and Ellsworth to play, so this is kind of normal for me,” Morey said.
“It is a huge commitment. You really have to love a sport to do what she does,” Frazier said.
Morey said knowing the Bucksport girls through summer softball made her transition easier.
“You could tell the first few weeks she didn’t want to step on anyone’s toes,” said Frazier, who added that Morey got more comfortable as the season wore on.
“She has fit in so well,” Frazier said.
Morey said she really enjoys her teammates and has been surprised by her success.
“I didn’t hit this well in previous years,” she said.
Bucksport competes in Class C while Deer Isle-Stonington usually plays in Class D. That has meant playing better competition.
“That’s been good for me heading to college,” Morey said.
She feels fortunate to be playing and pointed out that she would have had more catching up to do at St. Michael’s if she had missed two high school seasons.
Morey was planning to work out with a coach a couple of hours a day if she wasn’t able to find a school that would allow her to play.
“But I wouldn’t have been able to see live pitching,” Morey said.
She said she has been having fun and is looking forward to the upcoming playoffs.
The Golden Bucks have won five Class C regional titles and four state championships over the last eight years. Bucksport is 11-4 and is in third place in the latest North Heal Point standings.