Penquis Valley High School won’t field a softball team this season

MILO — Due to a low number of players, Penquis Valley High School will not have a softball team for the 2024 season. Superintendent Darcie Fournier informed the school board of this decision during an April 3 meeting at the Penquis Valley School.

“We had to cancel our season for the high school softball team,” she said. The superintendent said there is optimism that softball will return in 2025.

“We have a strong group coming up next year who are heavily involved in athletics,” Fournier said.

A year ago the Patriot softball team finished with a record of 9-4 and earned the seventh seed for the Class C North playoffs. Penquis hosted No. 10 George Stevens Academy of Blue Hill in a preliminary round matchup and lost 11-3.

Observer file photo/Stuart Hedstrom
HARDY PICKLE — Dexter’s Caitlyn Hardy was caught in a pickle between third and home during an April 2018 contest between the Tigers and visiting Penquis. Patriot Katelyn Bolstridge would throw to Camryn Rolfe at home for the out as Penquis pitcher Megan Valvo (12) backed up the play. Penquis will not have a softball team this season.

Per the Maine Principals’ Association rules, if a varsity team begins the regular season and then is unable to finish then the program is ineligible to play at the varsity level for the ensuing two years. 

During the winter season, Penquis had a similar issue with only six players on the girls basketball roster at the end of the first two weeks of practices. These Patriots ended up playing a junior varsity schedule in 2023-24 with the hope of returning to varsity in 2024-25.

Under a JV-only schedule, there is no punishment if a game is canceled and not made up as this level of competition is not sponsored by the MPA.

This season fellow Class C North program Piscataquis Community High School of Guilford will also not have its own softball team, as the team has joined with Greenville High School under a cooperative agreement. Players from SAD 4 will travel north on Route 15 for practices and home games in which they will wear the Lakers uniform to compete in Class D South.

Penquis did not have a softball team in both 2014 and 2015 due to low numbers in both years.

In other business, Fourner passed out a draft of the 2024-25 budget for the school board members to review and provide feedback on.

“We started in late December/early January meeting with administrators and directors to have them present their needs,” she said. Since then various revisions have been made as Fournier said the version handed out is the sixth or seventh.

She said a special board meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Wednesday, April 24. That evening the directors would vote on the proposed 2024-25 budget and then the warrant could be signed during the regular meeting at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, May 1.

This timeline would allow for the annual district budget meeting to be held on Monday, May 20. The figure approved that evening would then be moved to a referendum on Tuesday, June 11. 

In years past SAD 41 has had annual meeting/referendum later in the spring with the referendum being the only item for district residents to vote on that day. Under the proposed schedule, the SAD 41 referendum would be held on the same day as the Maine primary elections.

In her report Brownville/Milo Elementary Principal Carol Smith said, “We had a really fantastic celebration for the book ‘The Lemonade War’ at our school.” 

She said Brownville Elementary families celebrated the conclusion of the One School One Book shared reading program during the early evening of March 28.

In her board report Smith wrote families enjoyed the lighthearted fun of sibling rivalry and the importance of math, and she thanked grade 3 teacher.Andrea Mills for organizing the event. 

Students read nightly and had a chance to win a daily prize. Smith explained that at the ending celebration students learned some new math games, made items to take home, and entered into a drawing for several door prizes. Students also had an opportunity to get a free book courtesy of the Three Rivers Kiwanis.

Smith said Milo Elementary families will start One School One Book soon — the title will be announced – with the ending celebration set for May 23.

She said the annual Bike for Books program at both schools kicked off last month. Students are able to enter into a drawing, having a ticket for every book they read, to win a new bicycle thanks to the support of local Masons.

The school board also heard from Penquis girls soccer coach Chris Downing about a proposed trip to England in the summer of 2025. He said 15 players, along with coaches and parents, would spend 10 days across the Atlantic. The Patriots would play games to see a different style of soccer as well as see the sites such as Buckingham Palace.

Downing said plans are to fundraise for the trip, and he wanted to bring the idea before the directors early in the planning process.

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