The Winslow High School baseball team didn’t have too many question marks as it began defense of the Eastern Class B title with a 6-1 win over Waterville on Wednesday. One spot the Black Raiders are still tinkering is the leadoff position in the batting order.
Center fielder Gabe Smith graduated, leaving a hole at the top of Winslow’s batting order.
“It’s still up in the air. I’m definitely going to try a few guys at the top of our order. Obviously, we’re looking to get (someone) on for our big three-four hitters,” Winslow coach Jesse LaCasse said.
In Wednesday’s season opener, sophomore Jake Trask hit leadoff. Trask reached base once and scored a run, and also had a sacrifice bunt.
“Trask is a guy, he works hard, he’s an all-around player, and he does a great job of getting on base,” LaCasse said.
LaCasse said he plans on trying a few players in the leadoff spot, including freshman right fielder Ben Smith, younger brother to last season’s leadoff hitter. The rookie Smith hit ninth for Winslow against Waterville, and had a single while reaching base twice.
“(Smith) might see some time there as well. His brother graduated last year and already it seems he’s filling his shoes, chasing down balls in the outfield,” LaCasse said. “He’s just a smart all-around hitter and player in general.”
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Waterville coach Don Sawyer has questions about his team’s defense, as in who plays what position, but he’s not concerned yet.
“We’ve (got) to figure that out. We’ve got a few weeks to do that,” Sawyer said.
Specifically, Sawyer is looking for a shortstop. A.J. Godin will likely hold that spot for several games, but he is also the team’s top pitcher. When he’s on the mound, the Panthers need a shortstop. On Wednesday at Winslow, it was junior Dan Pooler.
“We’ve got nobody solid there yet. We’ll experiment with that, too,” Sawyer said.
The Panthers committed two errors in the 6-1 loss at Winslow, but Sawyer expects improvement.
“That group right there will come around. We’ll be better than that,” Sawyer said.
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Nokomis enjoyed impressive offensive output to open the season. The Warriors banged out 32 runs and 25 hits in a 32-1 win over MCI on Thursday. On Friday, Nokomis took an 11-1 win over Mt. View, for 43 runs in two games.
“It’s never expected,” Nokomis coach Rob Dominick said of his team’s offensive explosion. “It was a perfect storm of weather, the start of the season, a number of things… I knew we had consistent hitters, and I knew we’d put the ball in play.”
The Warriors will be tested next week, with games against Winslow, Waterville and Camden Hills, three of the top teams in the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B division.
“That will be an interesting stretch for us,” Dominick said.
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Around the state: Defending Class A state champion Westbrook will be without a handful of players following suspensions stemming from an underage drinking party earlier this week… The smallest schools will have their pitching depth tested the most this season. Forest Hills has six doubleheaders scheduled, while Valley has four scheduled… Two-time defending Western D champ Buckfield opens the season with back-to-back games against Class C opponents. The Bucks lost to Old Orchard Beach and will play Sacopee Valley next week.