Skowhegan is playing a key midseason stretch of games without 11 varsity players, who were suspended for four games for violating the school’s athletic code.

Skowhegan’s policy is to suspend athletes in violation of the code for 20 percent of the season. In this case, that’s four games. The players missed Skowhegan’s game Monday against Mt. Blue, and Wednesday’s game against Bangor. They’ll also miss Friday’s game at Cony, and Monday’s home game against Messalonskee.

The suspended players are allowed to practice, Skowhegan coach Rick York said.

Skowhegan fell to 5-4 with a 3-0 loss to Bangor on Wednesday, but the Indians are still contenders in Eastern Class A.

“Nobody in the whole program is giving up. We’re hanging together as a team. I’m very proud of the way the guys have handled this situation,” York said. “We’re going to fine.”

* * *

Madison is right in the middle of the Western Class C playoff race. The Bulldogs were 4-4 heading into Wednesday’s game at Spruce Mountain, and ranked sixth in the region.

“We’re doing a lot of good things,” Madison coach Scott Franzose said. “We’re not doing anything fancy. We’re playing great defense.”

After dropping a pair of games to Mountain Valley and Dirigo, Madison bounced back with one-run wins over Lisbon and Mt. Abram. Freshman Chase Malloy earned the win with three innings of strong relief. Senior Garrett Emery also has pitched well, Franzose said.

The top five teams in Western C earn byes out of the preliminary round. The Bulldogs are six points behind Old Orchard Beach for fifth place. To move up in the standing, Franzose said the Bulldogs need to get more offense from the entire lineup.

“We’re doing a great job staying aggressive,” Franzose said. “The bottom of the lineup, 7-8-9, we have great athletes there. We just have to make sure they feel confident. We put balls in play. We just need to hit top to bottom.”

Madison’s game at Hall-Dale originally scheduled for last Saturday was rescheduled for May 18 at 11 a.m.

* * *

Erskine coach Lars Jonassen has put a positive spin on the season despite his team’s 2-6 record. The Eagles will drop to Class B next season but instead of disparaging his time in Class A, Jonassen has embraced it.

“I’m going to miss being in Class A,” he said. “We’ve been treated really well and it’s a great division of baseball. It’s well-coached and competitive.”

Erskine turned in a strong season last year, reaching the tournament with 11 seniors, seven of whom were starters and five who have gone on to play college baseball. Many of this year’s seniors sat on the bench last year behind that group.

“I have a lot of respect for our seniors who have hung in there,” Jonassen said. “They waited their turn.”

Senior John Suga did see playing time last year, starting at second base, but this year has moved behind the plate for the first time since junior high. He’s hitting around .350 and has thrown out seven runners.

“(He) was an all-KVAC second baseman and he was willing to move to catcher because we didn’t have one,” Jonassen said. “He’s had a minimal amount of passed balls. The younger kids love throwing to him.”

Seniors Shawn Soucie, Nick Gayer, Josh Bailey and Jeff Pulver have also taken over prominent roles on the team and played well.

* * *

Around the state: In case you were wondering when Scarborough and Marshwood, the last two undefeated teams in Western Class A, meet, it’s not for a while. The Red Storm and Hawks are scheduled to play at Marshwood on May 25, the next-to-last game of the regular season for both… Greely is in first place in Western Class B, and the Rangers have dominated. Monday’s 12-4 win over Freeport was the first time Greely had allowed more than one run in a game all season… Bangor Christian was 8-0 heading into Wednesday’s game against Deer Isle-Stonington, but the Patriots were ranked just fourth in Eastern D. Bangor Christian’s opponents were a combined 14-37, and that knocked down the Patriots’ Heal points.

Staff Writer Gary Hawkins contributed to this report.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

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