Hermon pitcher Mikelle Verrill throws a pitch during a softball game against Ellsworth on Thursday, May 25, 2023, at Hermon High School. Credit: Kim Higgins / BDN

HERMON, Maine — Hermon High School’s softball team had four consecutive hits en route to a four-run first-inning uprising and held off a late rally by the Ellsworth Eagles for a 6-5 home win in a game between two Class B North title contenders on Thursday.

The Hawks are 11-3 and have now won seven of their last eight with the only setback being a 1-0 loss to undefeated Nokomis High of Newport on Monday. Ellsworth, which had won three of its previous four games, is now 8-5 including two losses to Hermon.

The Hawks built a 6-0 lead before the Eagles scored a run in the fifth, two in the sixth and two more in the seventh.

Freshman left-handed pitcher Mikelle Verrill picked up the win. She threw 5 1/3 innings of five-hit, one-run ball. She struck out five and walked two. She pitched the first five innings and then came on in relief of Lyndsee Reed with two outs in the seventh to get a game-ending fly ball to right with the potential tying run on second.

“My curve, my screwball and my drop were working,” said Verrill, who struck out the side in the first inning after having runners on second and third and nobody out.

She also worked her way out of a two-on, nobody-out jam in the third thanks to sophomore left fielder Braelynn Wilcox’s throw to the plate that nailed Anna Stevens, who walked, went to second on Sophie Lynch’s bunt single and tried to score on Aaliyah Manning’s base hit.

Wilcox had made a terrific backhanded catch on Paige Johnson’s liner in the second to rob her of an extra-base hit.

“Braelynn did a phenomenal job in left field today,” said Hermon coach Steph Biberstein.

Hermon took the lead it would never relinquish in the first.

Norra Idano poked a single into right and Olivia Johnston grounded a base hit over the third base bag before Reed delivered them both with a booming double to right center field.

Addy Waning singled sharply to left to score Reed and Waning eventually scored on Molly Simcox’s sacrifice fly to center.

Waning triggered a two-run rally in the third with a one-out double down the left field line and she scored when Simcox hit a triple down the left field line. Simcox would then score on a Verrill bunt.

The Eagles got one back in the fifth on Sophie Lynch’s triple and Manning’s double and they scored two more in the sixth as Hannah Wagstaff reached first on a wild pitch on her swinging strike three, Jayden Sullivan’s single and an ensuing outfield error and two run-producing throwing errors.

In the seventh, Lynch reached on a one-out infield error and Manning doubled off the center fielder’s glove. Morgan Duhaime’s grounder to short produced the first run and a passed ball on a swinging strike three chased across another run and extended the rally.

But Verrill came on to get the final out.

“The first inning was a little hard but we fought all the way back,” Ellsworth coach Brandi Ensworth said. “We never give up. We showed we can compete with the top teams (in Class B North). It will be a good battle in the tournament.”

Waning doubled and singled and Simcox had a triple and a sacrifice fly and two RBIs for the winners. Both are sophomores.

Junior Manning had a pair of doubles and a single for Ellsworth and sophomore Lynch tripled, singled, walked and reached on an error in her four at-bats. Sophomore Sullivan had a pair of singles.

After giving up four hits and four runs in the first inning, Ellsworth senior pitcher Wagstaff settled down nicely, allowing just two hits and two runs the rest of the way. She finished with eight strikeouts and she didn’t walk anyone.

Up next: Hermon is on the road for a 4:30 game against John Bapst-Bangor Christian on Friday while Ellsworth visits Presque Isle for a Saturday doubleheader starting at noon.