Wisdom Pioneer Colleen Thampsen crosses home plate for a run during a Friday, May 6 softball game against Fort Kent. Credit: Jessica Potila / St. John Valley Times

Wisdom High School of St. Agatha restored its softball program last spring.

It had been without a team for two seasons. One year it didn’t field a team due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the other year it simply didn’t have enough players.

Wisdom, which partnered with Madawaska High School for a co-op team beginning 2019, went 7-5 last season with just a 10-player roster and lost to Southern Aroostook of Dyer Brook 16-6 in the first round of the Class D North playoffs.

Southern Aroostook was the eighth seed and Wisdom was the ninth seed.

The Pioneers have 15 players this season and have gone 12-0 to earn the top spot in the Class D North Heal Points standings.

They will host No. 8 Machias, 10-5, in the quarterfinals on Thursday at 3 p.m.

Machias beat No. 9 Schenck of East Millinocket 4-1 in its first-round game.

The Pioneers have outscored their opponents 185-35 and are averaging 15.4 runs per game.

Their only close wins were an 11-8 triumph over East Grand of Danforth on May 19 and a 4-2 victory over Katahdin High School of Stacyville on May 26.

Every other win was by at least seven runs.

Head coach Kevin Lajoie said he knew his team had the potential to be good but he didn’t know if it would wind up going undefeated.

The games he earmarked on the schedule as being the most important ones were two against Class C Fort Kent and single games with Katahdin and Southern Aroostook.

In addition to the 4-2 win over Katahdin, the Pioneers beat Fort Kent 10-3 and 11-1 and avenged last year’s playoff loss to Southern Aroostook 12-2.

“I’m really pleased,” Lajoie said.

The coach has benefitted from having several players who were on Wisdom’s Class D North championship soccer team and a basketball team that earned the fifth seed for the tournament.

“They play multiple sports together. It’s a very cohesive group. It’s not like we have to fabricate a new team,” Lajoie said. “The fabrication was already there.”

The Pioneers have just one senior on their roster, third baseman Autumn Roy, who is one of their best hitters.

Pitcher Lilly Roy is only a sophomore but is averaging over six strikeouts per game and has held opponents to three runs or less in all but two games.

“She has done well. She has been consistent,” Lajoie said. “She loves the game and she loves to pitch.”

The coach also said she benefits from having a great catcher in junior Abbie Lerman.

“Abbie is intuitive and has great skills,” said Lajoie who noted that she has had only a handful of passed balls.

Lerman’s sister, eighth-grader Ava Lerman, is the starting second baseman and the No. 2 pitcher.

Ava Lerman has pitched well in her few outings and she has excellent instincts as a hitter, baserunner and second baseman according to Lajoie.

Junior Olivia Ouellette is the first baseman, the shortstop is junior Taylor Pelletier from Madawaska and the outfield consists of sophomore Colleen Thamsen in left, junior Kylie Pelletier in center field and either Kelsie Daigle or Kayleigh Michaud in right. Both are eighth graders.

Kylie Pelletier is a first-year softball player. Taylor Pelletier, Taylor’s sister, is a freshman who plays the outfield.

Sophomore Alicia Garcia and Madawaska eighth grader Alayna Deschaine are also outfielders.

Autumn Roy and Ouellette are the power threats in the lineup and are two of their most consistent hitters along with Lilly Roy, Ava Lerman and Taylor Pelletier.

Lajoie said he has seven girls in his lineup who are fast and he takes advantage of their quickness by being aggressive on the basepaths.

“We try to force teams to make mistakes and take advantage of them,” Lajoie said.

“That’s the way I played. You have to be aggressive,” said the former Wisdom baseball second baseman.

He admitted that their weak schedule and lack of close games is a concern.

“I feel like we’re an underdog,” Lajoie said. “Our girls were rarely tested. So our girls need to have their game faces on, play intuitively and be smart.”

With just the one senior, the future looks bright.

“This is a competitive group with good skills. I think we’re going to be good the next four to five years,” he said.