This season, the Richmond High School baseball team is experiencing one of those scheduling quirks that happens once in a generation. The Bobcats opened the season with 10 consecutive home games. Starting with Wednesday’s 16-3 win at Buckfield, Richmond’s final six game are all on the road.

Coach Ryan Gardner, now in his 18th season with Richmond, said it’s a situation he’s never seen before.

“It’s unique,” Gardner said. “It’s just the way it all came out this year.”

The scheduling gives the Bobcats some interesting turnaround time. For instance, on Friday, Richmond makes the almost 200-mile round trip to Rangeley for a 4 p.m. game. The Bobcats follow that with an early Saturday wake-up call for a noon game at Old Orchard Beach.

Richmond’s road trips also include visits to Searsport, Valley and Sacopee Valley. Gardner thinks those games will be good tests for the Bobcats, who currently sit in first place in Western Class D with a 10-1 record, as they head into the playoffs.

“Some of our games have been closer than I’d like, but we’re getting better,” Gardner said.

Ten of Richmond’s 17 players are freshmen, and the Bobcats have just two seniors. Junior Mike Stewart is coming off a strong game in Wednesday’s win over Buckfield, and freshman Zach Small and sophomore Brandon Emmons also have pitched well, Gardner said.

“We’ve gotten a lot of good innings out of young kids,” Gardner said.

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A pregame ceremony before Friday’s game between Oxford Hills and Cony at Augusta’s McGuire Field will honor longtime umpire and Capital Area Recreation Association volunteer Evan Gleason, who died in March.

The Gleason family will donate $20,000 to the Augusta Babe Ruth League for the construction of a new backstop at McGuire Field.

Keith Gleason, Evan’s son, said that honoring his father before a Cony/Oxford Hills game is fitting. It was Oxford Hills the Rams defeated in 1990 to win the Class A state championship 25 years ago, he said. Cony beat Bangor at McGuire Field in the Eastern Maine final to advance to that state championship game. Keith Gleason was the shortstop on that championship Cony team.

“So McGuire Field has lots of history for my Dad, me and others,” Gleason said in an email, noting McGuire Field is also where he and many of his friend played Babe Ruth baseball.

Construction of the new backstop is expected to begin in the fall, with completion in October.

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With just over a week left in the regular season, it looks like five teams still have a shot at the top seed in the upcoming Eastern Class A tournament. As of Thursday afternoon, Messalonskee (10-2) was in first place, followed by Bangor (10-2), Edward Little (9-3), Brewer (9-3) and Oxford Hills (8-4). Only 14 points separate the five teams in the Heal point standings.

Of those five contenders, Messalonskee has what’s on paper, the easiest remaining schedule. The Eagles will play four opponents with a combined 15-33 record (Skowhegan, Lawrence, Mt. Ararat and Brewer), and only Brewer has a winning record. That also means fewer points are out there for the Eagles.

With games to play against Bangor, Cony, Hampden and Messalonskee, Brewer has the toughest schedule of the five contenders for the top seed. The Witches final four opponents are a combined 31-17.

Edward Little should be bolstered by wins it already has in the bank. Edward Little already has victories over Bangor and Messalonskee.

The last countable day for regular season games is June 3.

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Around the state: York and Greely are in a tight race for the top spot in Western Class B. They meet for the second time this season next Wednesday. Greely took the first game, 3-0, on May 11… Old Town entered Thursday’s game at Ellsworth as the only undefeated high school baseball team in the state. The Coyotes (12-0) are in first place in Eastern Class B… Southern Aroostook scored 46 runs in its last two games, wins over Katahdin (20-9) and Limestone (26-10).

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

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Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM