The Erskine Academy baseball team exited Class A on a winning note, winning its final two games to finish the season at 6-10.

The Eagles won both games in dramatic fashion, getting a two-run single from Josh Bailey in the seventh inning Monday to defeat Edward Little 9-7 and a run-scoring single from John Suga on Tuesday to beat Lawrence 2-1 in eight innings.

Next season, the Eagles drop to Class B based on enrollment, but coach Lars Jonassen has no regrets about the team’s time in Class A. Last year, Erskine reached the postseason for the first time in Class A and knocked off Cony in a prelim game. They graduated 11 seniors from that team but were still competitive this season.

“As far as this year goes, I think we overachieved,” Jonassen said. “I couldn’t be happier for the kids. It set the young kids up for going into Class B.”

Suga was one of the few returning players who gained experience last season when he played second base and was named to the all-conference team in the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference. This year, he moved to catcher and played well. He led the team in hitting and belted a grand slam in Tuesday’s win, but he was also valuable in the field.

“I can’t say enough about the kid,” Jonassen said. “He threw out 19 runners this season.”


Tuesday’s game also marked the end of Jonassen’s long coaching career which has spanned 38 years at both Erskine and Lawrence and included soccer, basketball, baseball, field hockey and swimming. This season, his ninth as varsity baseball coach, was Jonassen’s 85th sports season.

“It’s time to get out,” he said. “It’s nothing negative. My body won’t handle it any more.”

After each game, the Eagles gather behind second base for a brief team meeting. Prior to Tuesday’s game, Jonassen told his team that final walk was going to be a really long one. After he shook hands with the opposing coach he looked up and saw his team gathered at the center field fence in tribute to their coach.

• • •

It would be unfair to give Hall-Dale’s interim coach, Bob Sinclair, all the credit for his team’s 8-0 finish to the season. But it’s tough to deny he had something to do with it.

Sinclair, who has two sons playing on the team and is a volunteer assistant, took over for head coach Tim Johnson after he came down with a virus. He coached four games on his own and has taken the lead in practice while Johnson continues his recovery. Sinclair came on after a particularly tough 3-2 loss to Mt. Abram that dropped the team to 3-5.


“What Bob brought to the table was a very calming influence,” Johnson said. “He came in and he low-keyed it. He’s a really easy-going guy.”

Hall-Dale, 11-5, currently sits in fourth place in the Western Maine Class C tournament standings, less than a point ahead of Monmouth. Today’s game between Winthrop and Madison could have an impact on the standings. A Winthrop win would help neither team since they both beat Winthrop, but a Madison win would favor Monmouth and could mean the difference for Hall-Dale between playing at home or on the road in the quarterfinal round of the playoffs.

• • •

With Brunswick’s win against Mt. Ararat on Wednesday, the field in Eastern Maine Class A is set. Oxford Hills (14-2) finished in first place followed by Hampden (14-2), Bangor (12-4), Cony (11-5), Skowhegan (8-8), Messalonskee (10-6) , Lewiston (10-6), Brewer (6-10) and Brunswick (5-11).

Cony and Skowhegan are tied with an identical tournament index of 101.5625, but Cony owns the tiebreaker with a regular-season win against the Indians and will get home field when the teams meet next Thursday. The Rams lost their final regular-season game Tuesday, 3-0 to Brewer, as Jeff Weeks pitched a one-hitter for the Witches.

“He was pretty good,” Cony coach Don Plourde said. “He threw his curve for strikes 80 percent of the time. He beat Bangor earlier in the season, 2-1.”


The final loss aside, Plourde is pleased with his team’s work this season. The Rams lost three of their games by one run, including two to Oxford Hills.

“There are a couple of games we’d love to have back,” Plourde said. “But at the same time we did some very good things.”

Zack Lachance led the team in hitting at .387 followed by Tayler Carrier at .386 and Chandler Shostak at .385. Lachance, who will get the start against Skowhegan, finished at 4-2 with an earned run average of 0.44.

• • •

Oak Hill practiced Wednesday, a day after beating Monmouth 11-4 and jumping four places in the Western Maine Class B standings. The Raiders are 10th — 12 teams qualify — and are waiting the outcome of a couple of games today.

“Basically three teams have to move up to get us out of there,” Oak Hill coach Matt Bray said. “At the very least, we should be in the 12th spot.”


Senior Ryan Riordan got the win Tuesday and appears to be reaching the form he showed early in the season. He later developed some elbow soreness which limited the effect of his curve ball among other pitches. Tuesday, he struck out 12 batters, including eight on curve balls.

“That’s what he didn’t have in those middle games,” Bray said. “He’s still about 90 percent. We’re going to shut him down until Monday, but he’ll be ready to go Tuesday (in a prelim).”

Gary Hawkins — 621-5638

[email protected]

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