Now that the high school baseball regular season is finished, the Monmouth Mustangs can’t wait for the second season to start.

“We just need to keep playing,” Monmouth coach Eric Palleschi said. “We don’t want to stop, don’t want a layoff.”

But Monmouth and a number of other teams will have to wait a week. The tournament starts Tuesday with the preliminary round, with the quarterfinals following on Thursday, June 9 and semifinals on Saturday, June 11.

Although the field will not be officially finalized until Friday morning, most of the seedings and matchups are all but set.

The 16-0 Mustangs are the top seed in Class C South and justifiably eager to keep their momentum going. With virtually everyone back from last year’s regional semifinalist, they had high expectations entering the 2016 season and, to this point, have exceeded them.

“We had an idea we had the most talent. It was just a matter of what attitude we were going to bring to the field and how we were going to play from there,” Palleschi said.

Palleschi will try to keep his team sharp with three exhibitions, including Thursday’s Mountain Valley Conference championship against No. 2 St. Dom’s, leading up to his team’s quarterfinal against the winner of the Dirigo-Old Orchard Beach preliminary. The pitching staff of Nick Sanborn, Hunter Richardson, Chandler Harris and Gage Cote has allowed 38 runs all season, while the offense is averaging 9.8 runs per game.

No. 3 Madison (14-2) also earned a bye to the quarterfinals, where it will host the winner of the prelim pitting No. 11 Carrabec (7-9) and No. 6 Lisbon (11-5). No. 7 Hall-Dale (12-4) hosts another prelim against No. 10 Wiscasset (8-4).

The Class A North tournament is essentially an extension of the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference regular season. Two-time defending state champion Bangor (15-1) emerged from that as the top seed. Four other teams earned a bye to the quarterfinals, including Lawrence (9-7), which tied with Brewer (10-6) in the final Heal points. The MPA won’t officially give home field to Brewer until dispensing with some formalities in the Heal points on Friday, but the Witches will get the nod by virtue of the head-to-head tiebreaker.

Brewer won that game, 11-1, in five innings. Lawrence coach Rusty Mercier said the Bulldogs led that game going into the third, then unraveled.

“That was probably our first real taste of adversity as a team,” Mercier said. “Knowing we can play with them through three and having all of our pitching available and them having all of their pitching available … we’ll need to pitch better.

For Messalonskee and Cony, the tournament starts out as an extension of the last two weeks, as the two teams will be facing each other for the third time since May 23 in Oakland. The seventh-seeded Eagles (9-7) won both games over the 10th-seeded Rams (6-10), 1-0 in Oakland and 4-1 in Augusta.

Messalonskee coach Ray Bernier expects another tight pitchers’ duel for the third meeting, and thinks having such close games will help whichever team advances.

“There won’t be any surprises, no matter which pitcher we start or which pitcher they start,” Bernier said. “We saw their 1-2-3 (pitchers) and they saw our 1-2-3.”

In the other prelim, No. 8 Skowhegan (9-7) hosts No. 9 Hampden (8-8). The Indians edged the Broncos in their only regular-season meeting, 6-5, on May 3 in Skowhegan.

In Class B North, Old Town (15-1) earned the No. 1 seed, with No. 2 Winslow (13-3), No. 3 Hermon (12-4) and No. 4 Erskine (13-3) all claiming first-round byes.

The Black Raiders will host the winner of the prelim between No. 7 Foxcroft (12-4) and No. 10 Nokomis (9-7), while the Eagles will host the prelim winner between No. 5 Oceanside (12-4) and No. 12 Presque Isle (6-10). No. 6 Waterville (11-5) will host No. 11 Mt. Desert Island (8-8) in another prelim, with the winner drawing Hermon.

Cape Elizabeth (11-5) emerged from a three-way Western Maine Conference battle with York and Greely to earn the top seed in Class B South. No. 4 Maranacook (10-6) will host No. 5 Leavitt (9-7) in the quarterfinals. The Black Bears beat their KVAC rival, 6-3, on May 20 in Turner.

Defending Class D champion Searsport (13-3) is No. 1 in Class D South, where the top eight teams automatically advance to the quarterfinals. No. 2 Valley (12-2) will host No. 8 Vinalhaven, while No. 3 Richmond will host No. 6 North Yarmouth Academy (7-9). No. 5 Rangeley (8-5) will travel to No. 4 Greenville (11-5).

Randy Whitehouse — 621-5638

[email protected]

Twitter: @RAWmaterial33


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