So far the weather has cooperated for the high school preseason. Now, if can only stay that way for a few weeks. Today is opening day for many high school teams and most are prepared after a mild late March and early April.

“Getting in five games in preseason baseball in Maine is great,” first-year Gardiner baseball coach Chris McLaughlin said.

McLaughlin’s Tigers host Maranacook at 1 p.m. today at Hoch Field. Both teams reached the Class B tournament last season (Gardiner in the East, Maranacook in the West) and return the bulk of those lineups.

“Maranacook was tough,” said McLaughlin, who coached the Gardiner junior varsity last year. “They’re always a solid club. We’re going to have to do the little things right.”

McLaughlin said he probably wouldn’t name his opening day starter until today but Maranacook coach Jared Lemieux said Monday night that senior right-hander Eben Ballard would get the nod.

In other baseball and softball games today, Brewer travels to Messalonskee, Cony is on the road against Lewiston, Erskine plays at Edward Little and Oak Hill hosts Leavitt. Boys lacrosse teams from Messalonskee, Cony, Maranacook/Winthrop and Oak Hill are also in action along with boys and girls tennis teams from Winthrop and Monmouth.

Erskine baseball coach Lars Jonassen plans to start senior Shyler Scates. Late last season, Scates pitched a four-hit shutout at Edward Little to get his team into the Eastern A tournament. His pitching opponent that game, Luc Ferago, is still on the Eddies staff.

The Eagles will play without senior center fielder and pitcher Tom Grady who broke his finger playing pickup basketball recently. He’s expected to miss at least two weeks. Catcher Brendan Wood, who underwent knee surgery during wrestling season, is expected to be behind the plate.

“We spotted him here and there in preseason,” Jonassen said. “He’ll catch the whole game (today). We’ll see how it goes.”

The Cony baseball team handed Lewiston its only regular-season loss last season and the winning and losing pitchers in that one may face each other today. Cony coach Don Plourde plans to start junior Zack Lachance who won last year’s initial meeting between the teams in relief. The losing pitcher in that one was junior Corbin Hyde who Plourde expects to see today.

“That’s their ace,” he said. “We beat him last year, we hope to see him again.”

Plourde said the Rams had a successful preseason which included seven games.

“We hit the ball well,” he said. “We have guys who put the ball in play.”

Gary Hawkins — 621-5638

[email protected]


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