Three years ago, the Carrabec High School baseball program was on the brink. After seasons of one or two, sometimes zero, wins, the Cobras needed a complete rebuild. The 2011 season, coach Troy Dunphy told his team, would be all junior varsity games.

The young Cobras needed to play competitive games, and at the time, that wasn’t possible with a varsity schedule in the Mountain Valley Conference. Dunphy needed to sell the team on the future, while working hard in the present.

“If you don’t win any games, you’re not going to have any turnout,” Dunphy said. “We worked on getting our numbers up, then winning games.”

“He said we needed a good building year,” said Levi Murray, who was a freshman on the 2011 team. “I was all for it. I didn’t feel ready to play varsity baseball.”

The players who were freshmen during that junior varsity season recently completed their senior year, and they made it the best season of baseball at Carrabec in a generation. The Cobras won eight games and, not including the open tournament year of 2001, reached the Western Class C playoffs for the first time since 1992. There Carrabec won a preliminary round game over Maranacook and reached the quarterfinals. For Dunphy and the seniors, the work begun in 2011 paid off.

For guiding the Cobras to their best season in more than two decades, Dunphy is the Morning Sentinel Baseball Coach of the Year. Rusty Mercier of Lawrence and David Pepin of Mt. Blue also were considered.

Dunphy said the baseball team was just a part of an improving athletic attitude at Carrabec. The girls basketball team won the Western Class C title this past winter, and the boys basketball team saw great improvement. The boys and girls soccer teams each reached the playoffs.

“There was a change coming at Carrabec, and we grabbed hold of it,” Dunphy said. “We had good leaders in this group. You get kids who’ll work hard, you’ll win games.”

One of the biggest things Dunphy brought to the Cobras was stability. This was Dunphy’s eighth season as Carrabec’s coach.

“Before him, there had been six coaches in five years,” said Boog Dunphy, Troy’s son and the Cobras’ starting catcher. “Just having coaching stability was tremendous. He changed the culture and attitude. Before, we’d have nine or 10 kids out for the team.”

This season, Carrabec had almost 20 players out for baseball.

Another one of Coach Dunphy’s strengths is his in game demeanor, his players said.

“He’s energetic,” Boog Dunphy said. “He’s pretty charged up. We have a really good time.”

Added Murray: “He’s really funny. I don’t think they make ’em better than Troy.”

Boog Dunphy said the highlight of the season was the playoff win over Maranacook.

“Without a doubt, that was the best moment of his coaching career,” Boog Dunphy said.

Dunphy credited his assistant coaches, Corey Buckhead, Dave Richardson and P.J. Vicneire, as keys to the team’s turnaround. The 2014 season was likely Dunphy’s last as Carrabec’s baseball coach. With Boog, who was class valedictorian, graduated and a daughter joining the softball team, Dunphy said he’d like to help softball coach Craig Knight as a volunteer.

“I’ve got to give a little time to my daughter,” Dunphy said.

He leaves the Carrabec baseball team on solid footing, ready to build on the success of this season. The Cobras lost just three players to graduation.

“I feel like the program is in good shape, I really do,” Dunphy said. “We’ve got some kids coming in from the junior high who love baseball. They’re good kids. They’ll work hard.”

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM

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