When the snow and ice finally melt, there will be plenty of fresh faces on the diamond this spring at a number of area high schools.

Gardiner and Rangeley have each hired new baseball and softball head coaches, while Hall-Dale and Winthrop will both have new softball head coaches. Messalonskee, Winslow, Maine Central Institute and Mt. Blue have made similar personnel changes in baseball.

At Gardiner, Don Brochu slides over one place on the bench to replace Ginger Shaw. Brochu — whose daughter, Bri, is a junior on the team — said Monday he is excited for the chance to serve as head coach after working as a volunteer for the past four seasons.

“I’ve kind of been with the girls all these years, ever since junior high all on up and I enjoy doing it. We’re all a good fit,” he said. “We’re just getting everybody rolling and on the same page and I think we’ll be in good shape.”

Mountain Valley Conference foes Winthrop and Hall-Dale have had their fair share of battles on the softball field over the past few years, something new head coach Steve Acedo — who has been in various coaching capacities with a number of teams at Hall-Dale for the past seven years — is all too familiar with.

“It’s usually a good battle with us, and Monmouth is the same way,” Acedo said. “Being close schools it kind of builds on it. In all the sports there’s a pretty good rivalry (between the three schools).

“…In the last six years, I’ve coached the middle school and JV and assisted on the varsity. We’ve got a good program and I’m really excited to get started.”

At Winthrop, meanwhile, former Leavitt assistant coach Chuck Gurney takes over for Bob Ouellette as the new softball coach of the Ramblers.

“We feel very privileged to have him,” Winthrop athletic director Joel Stoneton said. “He’s very eager to get involved.”

Chip Smith — who is also the varsity girls soccer coach at Rangeley — will take over as the Lakers’ new softball coach, while boys basketball coach Jeff Larochelle will take over as manager of the baseball team. Both coached the same sports at the middle school level last spring.

Elsewhere on the baseball diamond, Russell Beckwith will take over for Chris McLaughlin at Gardiner, Christian Boileau will begin his first season at Mt. Blue and Messalonskee head boys basketball coach Peter McLaughlin replaces Ray Bernier. Aaron Wolfe has served as the girls soccer coach at Winslow for the past few years and now will take on the manager’s role with the baseball team after serving as an assistant previously.

“I’ve been with the program the last three or four years and I was the assistant varsity coach,” Wolfe said. “I know all the players, I coached at the junior high at Winslow for a couple of years before (becoming and assistant) so I coached most of the players to begin with.”

“It wasn’t that hard of a transition. Obviously starting out I wanted to set my own agenda and how I’m going to coach, but for the most part it’s been really easy.”

Like Wolfe, Eric Day will make the transition from assistant to head coach at MCI. Day is also an assistant football and boys basketball coach with the Huskies.

There will be plenty of new faces on the lacrosse sidelines this season. At Mt. Blue, Kevin Averill — a former player at both Mt. Blue and Thomas College, as well as an assistant coach at the University of Maine at Farmington — will take over coaching boys lacrosse for John McDonough.

“It’s something that I’ve been looking at hoping to do the last couple years. The opportunity finally opened up and I definitely wanted to jump on it,” Averill said. “I coach football too so I know a lot of the athletes there.

“We’ve got over 40 kids out this year so that’s pretty exciting.”

There will also be five new lacrosse programs competing at the varsity level this spring with both Winslow and Erskine adding both boys and girls teams, while Lawrence will have a boys team.

Bruce Lambrecht and Sean Carey each coached the Black Raiders’ boys and girls club teams, respectively, for the past few seasons and will see them through to varsity competition this spring.

Mike Foley led UMF in ground balls with 63 last season and will transition straight from playing to coaching to guide the Erskine boys, while Shara MacDonald — like Lambrecht and Carey — has served as the girls coach for the Eagles’ club team the past two seasons. At Lawrence, Bill McKenzie and Richard Brown will guide the Bulldogs’ boys team through its first varsity season.

In other coaching moves, Cameron Fecteau will coach girls track at Winthrop, while Patrick Quinn and Josh Newhall will coach girls tennis at Gardiner and Madison, respectively.

Waterville will have its second head track coach in as many seasons since the departure of Ian Wilson as cross country coach Rob Stanton will lead the Purple Panthers. At neighboring Winslow, Rod Record will join returning coach Ken Nadeau to coach outdoor track.

Evan Crawley — 621-5640

[email protected]

Twitter: @Evan_Crawley


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