Winthrop coach Bob Ouellette expects his team to be one of the better clubs in the Mountain Valley Conference this season once it gets on the field. But so far, that’s been a problem.
Ouellette had to postpone his season opener at Monmouth on Wednesday because he didn’t have enough players. Three are on a senior trip in Italy while two more were ill on Wednesday.
“I’ve only got 13 girls,” Ouellette said. “I would have been shorthanded. I made the decision (Wednesday) morning. I said I would rather call it now than wait until the afternoon and take the chance these girls aren’t going to show up.”
Tentative arrangements have been made to reschedule the game according to Ouellette.
Winthrop game for today at Mt. Abram has also been postponed because Mt. Abram’s field is not yet ready for play. Ouellette hopes his Ramblers will open the season Monday at Mountain Valley in Rumford, but as of this week, that field wasn’t ready either.
Wednesday’s postponement also delayed the Monmouth debut of coach Dave Kaplan. Kaplan and Mike Langlois took over this year for long-time coach Rachel Bernier. They were preparing the field Wednesday when they got the news.
Kaplan, who left the Hall-Dale head coaching job two years ago, decided to get back into the game this year at Monmouth where he graduated in 1973. He didn’t realize how long that had been.
“I said to a couple of kids ‘I must have gone to school with your dad,’ ”Kaplan said. “They said ‘no that was my grandfather.’ ”
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Cony coach Rocky Gaslin took longer than usual to evaluate his players during preseason because for the first time in a few years he had more questions about them.
“There’s more teaching involved this year,” Gaslin said. “We’ve got some younger kids.”
With the exception of Olivia Deeves at third and Alyssah Dennett behind the plate, everyone is new or in a new position for the Rams this season. Cony lost an exhibition, 13-4 to rival Gardiner last Friday in a performance Gaslin called terrible.
“We made a lot of errors,” he said. “It’s growing pains. (Gardiner’s) got a good team. They should do well.”
Cony bounced back Saturday to beat three Class A teams, South Portland (10-2), Biddeford (4-3) and Thornton (4-3). The Rams opened the regular season with an 11-0 victory against Mt. Blue, but Gaslin doesn’t expect this year to be as easy as the past two in which his teams went 16-0 and 15-1.
“We have a tough schedule this year,” said Gaslin, noting his team plays Messalonskee, Skowhegan, Edward Little and Oxford Hills twice. “It’s going to be very competitive.”
The Rams have a strong pitcher in junior Arika Brochu, who spent most of her time in the field last season. With two full seasons left, Brochu has already tied the school career home run mark with 11 after belting five and six, respectively, in her first two years.
Gaslin’s biggest question marks were at first and second base. He moved senior Maggie Russell from second to shortstop and inserted freshman Delaney Keithley at second and senior Michayla Dostie at first. Autumn Sudsbury plays center with Turgeon in right and Skylar Watson and Sydney Cheever splitting time in left. All four are sophomores.
Only 21 players went out for the varsity and junior varsity teams at Cony this spring.
“The number of kids (in school) went from 850 to 695 and lacrosse and track have taken kids,” Gaslin said. “Next year we should be fine. The Cony junior high has 23 (players).”
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Kents Hill’s season has barely begun and it’s nearly over. The Huskies lost four games due to poor weather and will be done by mid May because of graduation.
“It’s a short season,” coach Tom Marshall said. “We’ll end up with seven games.”
Some of those games are considered exhibition by local high school opponents, but Marshall said everything counts as far as his team is concerned.
“My girls have been pretty focused.” he said. “The defense has been pretty good.”
Marshall said Augusta native Marissa Tarrio has played well at third and been a key in the top of the batting order along with Lexi Crites and Molly McAleer. Senior Nina Murray, he added, has pitched and hit well.
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Richmond opens its season Saturday with a doubleheader at Vinalhaven and veteran coach Rick Coughlin is excited about his team, which includes six freshmen and four sophomores out of 12 players without a senior.
“Our younger kids are really responding well,” Coughlin said. “What we need to do is play more.” The Bobcats won all four of their preseason games by a wide margin and freshman pitcher Meranda Martin posted a couple of shutouts.
“She’s outstanding,” Coughlin said. “She gets a good number (of strikeouts) but she doesn’t walk anybody. She’s small but she can throw for her size.”
Martin also belted a pair of home runs in the team’s final exhibition. Coughlin said Martin and freshman Camryn Hurley are two of the quickest players on the team and will fit into his small-ball style of play.
The Bobcats graduated a large group of successful athletes last spring who had played in several state championship games and won titles in soccer and softball in the final year. This year’s group has picked up where the other left off, reaching the state final in soccer as well as qualifying for the tournament in basketball.
“They’ve just got to develop their own identity,” Coughlin said. “The thing is I have kids that love the game.”