HS Sports Notebook: Mount Abram baseball is a tough playoff game

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Mt. Abram baseball coach Jeff Pillsbury knew the Roadrunners’ competitive edge was still sharp enough to shake up the Mountain Valley Conference this season.

Third-seeded Mt. Abram (15-2) was supposed to face sixth-seeded Maranacook (12-5) in a Class C South baseball quarterfinal on Thursday, but a statewide deluge put the kibosh on both teams until Friday at 2 p.m.

“I think we leave for 2 p.m. tomorrow if our fields are ready,” Pillsbury said. “We have a tough draw. We have Maranacook, and if we get past them, we have to go to second-seeded Sacopee Valley (15-2). It is a difficult road. Maranacook, they are solid. I think we have perhaps the most difficult slice.

When Pillsbury looks back on what has happened so far, he sees a group of dedicated athletes.

“We had a good season,” Pillsbury said. “Trevor Phelps pitched well, Adam Luce pitched well. We played a pretty good defense. We beat Oak Hill twice, Monmouth twice. They were all good games (and) could have gone either way.

“A lot of times it’s the team that gets a break, a hit or a play, but it was a good season.”

It helped, Pillsbury points out, that the Roadrunners have been playing together for a long time.

“Starting with Cal Ripken, and they’ve been playing Babe Ruth, so they’re a pretty tight team,” Pillsbury said.

It is also an experienced crew, led by several key upper classes.

“For seniors we have Trevor Phelps, Adam Luce, Ian Allen, Wyatt Sieminski and Brenden Williamson is our fifth senior,” Pillsbury said. “(Williamson) doesn’t start, but he’s had a big bunt for us (this season).

“So it’s the senior five and then there’s my boy, Kaden Pillsbury. He is a junior, (with) Tucker Plouffe and Trey Pease. Sophomore Payton Mitchell has had a good year. Cam Gray came from Rangeley.

VIKINGS AND MILLER READY FOR THE PLAYOFFS

Oxford Hills ended its regular season on a sour note, down 16-5 in Skowhegan thanks to a massive fifth inning by the River Hawks.

Still, Cindy Goddard and the Vikings think positively as they have evolved and progressed through the playoffs.

“I think I would say (the loss to Skowhegan is) behind us, knowing that we played a good game with them for a while and the floodgates opened and they hit the ball,” Goddard said. . “We respect them and we know what their abilities are, and we know they can play with the best of them.”

Prior to this setback, the Vikings had won four straight games, averaging 12 points per game. The offense was clicking and pitcher Maddy Miller was gaining confidence.

“She does everything we asked her to do,” Goddard said of Miller. “She’s not going to throw heat and blow by you, but she can be smart with placement, when people are on base, off-speed stuff. She’s got a nice shift and a nice little curve, and she just has to do her best to keep hitters off balance, and that’s when you have to hope your defense can back you up.

Miller doesn’t throw particularly fast, but Goddard said she’s gotten smarter with placement, shot selection and has built up her composure.

“It’s just his improvement on the mound. If a team gets five points, it’s not like they’re in tears,” Goddard said. “The team supports her and says, ‘Fine, we’ll do it on our side.’ Just keep her cool on the mound and just know she belongs in. She knows her limits.

“She’s smart, and that’s the key. She’s like Brunswick pitcher Ellie Sullivan. She’s smart, knows her limits. She threw a great game against Messalonskee.

The Oxford Hills No. 3 will face the Camden Hills No. 11 on Friday at 11 a.m. in a Class A North softball quarter-final.

Goddard said a good pitcher can take a team far into the playoffs. For example, Messalonskee, seeded ninthled by pitcher Morgan Wills and her 15 no-hitters, beat No. 1 Brunswick on Wednesday.

“If you have a good pitcher, you’ll be successful,” Goddard said. “I mean, think about it, (Willis) got 15 outs and only had to get 21 outs. … If you did that, you don’t have to score a lot of points. Danielle Masterson in Hampden is similar because when she’s on, she can be hot.

26ERS ACCEPTING ROLES

When the Gray-New Gloucester/Poland men’s lacrosse team faced North Yarmouth Academy in Game 3 of the regular season, the 26ers were still ironing out a few wrinkles and suffered a 13-3 loss.

Since then, the eighth-seeded 26ers (5-8), who face the Panthers (9-3) in the Class C quarterfinals on Friday at 4 p.m., have made plenty of improvements. The biggest change, said first-year coach Tyler DeMoore-Gonzalez, is that Gray-Ng/Poland players have learned the importance of sacrificing individual success for team success.

“They learned their roles and they got used to me and my coaching staff about what we’re trying to accomplish here,” DeMoore-Gonzalez said. “We changed some things, Xs and Os, but a lot of my kids understand the role they play in the team. Not everyone is trying to be a Michael Jordan. Now we have Scottie Pippens, we have Steve Kerrs and Dennis Rodmans. They all understand their role now.

That includes, DeMoore-Gonzalez said, short midfielders Brody Simpson and Brady Martin, who have moved into a defensive role this year.

26ers faceoff man Owen McDuffie is also becoming a two-way player.

“My faceoff guy, the last few years he’s been playing offensive,” DeMoore-Gonzalez said. “This year he accepted the role of just taking the face-off and scoring on the face-off. He accepted that.

McDuffie can turn the pitch when he plays. He’s won 75% of the faceoffs he’s taken this season.

Two other 26ers, Matthew Fournier and Zachary Spurling, are taking higher percentage shots and creating a better offense.

Gray-New Gloucester/Poland put it all together in a 22-1 victory over ninth seed Erskine Academy in a first-round playoff match on Tuesday.

The 26ers adopted the motto “30 or Nothing”.

“If you’re not playing like you want to score 30 goals, then you’re not giving 100 percent,” DeMoore-Gonzalez said.

THE KEY TO ATHLETICS FOR HAWKS

Maranacook/Winthrop girls’ lacrosse coach Sarah Caban says having well-rounded athletes was key to the Hawks (11-1) securing the class playoff seed vs.

“I think it’s really important (to have athletes on the team),” Caban said. “I think a lot of the fundamentals, especially in defense, come from other sports. A lot of girls who come from basketball are phenomenal defenders because it’s the same idea. Many of them are fast and tough. Again, it’s just because of their athleticism, which comes in very handy.

Lacrosse defenders who play basketball include Ella Schmidt, Eliza Pattershall, and Jordan Carr.

On the attacking side of the ball, some of the forwards, like Anna Erb, Lilly Caban and Ella Delisle, are footballers.

Sarah Caban said these three can use their speed more in lacrosse than in soccer.

“I think a lot of them feel liberated because the ball isn’t at their feet,” Sarah Caban said with a laugh. “So they can go a lot faster (on the lacrosse field).”

The Hawks are looking to earn a spot in the semifinals next week by beating eighth-seeded Lake Region (6-7) in the quarterfinals on Friday.

Sarah Caban said Maranacook/Winthrop don’t know much about Lake Region, but the Hawks’ athleticism and positional versatility allows them to adapt to different styles of play.

The Hawks haven’t mentioned last year’s semifinal loss to Waynflete. Instead, they draw on the experience of Maranacook footballers who won the Class C state championship in the fall.

“They have a ton of experience playing many years together and playing in tough matches,” Sarah Caban said. “…These girls have a real sense of family, and they’ve taken advantage of that, along with their overall athleticism – that’s been the real key for us.”

THE SPORTING SPIRIT OF COUGARS

The Maine School Principals Association recently awarded the Mt. Blue women’s track teams and men’s tennis teams the Good Sportsmanship Award for Class A North.

The awards were voted on by the teams the Cougars played against this season, based on players supporting each other on the field or on the field and off the bench, treating officials with respect and positive community involvement. Other criteria include not using inappropriate gestures, language or expressions, and not committing acts of unnecessary brutality/provocation.

Mt. Blue’s women’s track and field team is coached by Kelley Cullenberg and the men’s tennis team by Zac Conlogue.


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