FARMINGTON — Two central Maine teams will participate in the New England 13-15 year old Babe Ruth tournament over the next few days at Farmington’s Hippach Field. One hopes the experience it gained as 14-year olds at the New England tournament last summer will pay off. The other hopes a strong showing in the state tournament last week is a springboard to a deep run.

Apple Valley, a team made up of players from Leavitt, Monmouth and Maranacook high schools, won the Maine state title. Franklin County, the state-runner up, earned a spot as the host team. The two Maine representatives play each other at 7:30 tonight.

Apple Valley and Franklin County played twice in the state tournament in Westbrook last week. Apple Valley won both games, 4-2 on the second day of the tournament, and 18-9 in the championship game Sunday.

“They are, up and down the batting order, rock solid,” Franklin County manager Dave Duley said of Apple Valley. “There’s no easy outs.”

Eleven of 12 Apple Valley’s players were on the team that won the state 14-year-old title last summer. The team was eliminated from the New England tourney in two games, but hopes to build on the experience gained from playing in the regional tournament.

“We learned we can compete at that level,” manager Joe Hutchinson said. “Last year, we played seven games in the state tournament, and that kind of wore us out. This year, we played three games in the state tournament.”

Franklin County, which has players from Mt. Blue, Jay, Mt. Abram, and Carrabassett Valley Academy, played six games in the state tournament. Duley looks at that as a positive.

“You never want to drop down into the loser’s bracket,” Duley said, “but we got a chance to throw a lot of pitchers. A lot of people got more playing time.”

Josh Bunker and Kyle Fletcher have pitched very well this summer for Apple Valley, Hutchinson said. Fletcher will likely get the start tonight, since he did not pitch against Franklin County in the state tournament.

Tucker Whitman, Tyler Hutchinson, Levi Morin, Brady Dion, and Drew Gosselin are some of the top hitters in the Apple Valley lineup.

“We’ve got to keep putting the ball in play and make things happen,” Hutchinson said.

Catcher Andrew Pratt hit .700 in the state tournament for Franklin County.

“He’s just on a tear,” Duley said.

Ryan Greenman, Cam Abbott and Chad Luker also lead the Franklin County offense. Abbott is the team’s top pitcher, and because of a sprained ankle, missed the first game against Apple Valley in the state tournament.

“Cam’s kind of anxious to get out there against them,” Duley said.

The tournament begins at 10 a.m. when Braintree, Mass. takes on Essex, Vt. Trumbull, Conn. faces Cranston, R.I. at 1 p.m., while Leominster, Mass. plays Manchester, N.H. at 4 p.m. Apple Valley and Franklin County will play after opening ceremonies at 7 p.m.

The tournament winner moves on to the Babe Ruth World Series, Aug. 20-27 in Jamestown, N.Y.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

 

 

Augusta and Waterville news

Get news and events from your towns in your inbox every Friday.


  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.