The Nokomis Regional High School baseball team was one of the hottest teams in the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B division the second half of last season. A seven-game win streak carried the Warriors to the regional semifinals, and this season Nokomis is still hot to open the season.

Nokomis beat Leavitt 9-1 on Thursday to improve to 6-0 and move into first place in the Class B North Heal point standings. The Warriors have allowed just 13 runs, almost half coming in Wednesday’s 8-6 win over Waterville.

“Our pitching’s been great,” Nokomis coach Jared Foster said. “We’re hitting fastballs and laying off junk.”

Foster said the two errors the Warriors made in Wednesday’s win were uncharacteristic and were offset by what he called “two ESPN plays.” Shortstop Josh Smestad made a diving catch in the hole to rob Waterville of a hit, and second baseman Alex Baird made a diving stop in the first base hole. With that strong defense, Nokomis pitchers are confident in throwing strikes and pitching to contact.

“My pitchers aren’t afraid to throw strikes and let them hit it. They know the defense is behind them making plays,” Foster said.

The Warriors host Belfast on Monday before a big game at Oceanside, another KVAC B contender, on Wednesday.

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The season isn’t quite half over, yet in the KVAC A it appears to be mirroring 2016.

Last season, five teams finished with between seven and nine wins (right around .500 in a 16-game season), and four teams were separated by less than seven points in the final Heal point standings.

As of Thursday, the difference between third and ninth place in Class A North was just four points. It appears central Maine teams are once again fairly evenly matched.

Already, Messalonskee beat Skowhegan and lost to Lawrence. Lawrence beat Lewiston and lost to Mt. Blue. Mt. Blue beat Cony and lost to Camden Hills. Like last season, playoff positioning will come down to a handful of key victories.

Among big games coming up in the KVAC A are Brewer at Lawrence Saturday, Messalonskee at Lewiston Monday, and Cony at Oxford Hills Tuesday.

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The Bridgeway Bandits do not have a home field this season. They have two.

Bridgeway is the cooperative team shared by Carrabec and Madison and is playing in its first season. With eight homes games on the schedule, the team is playing four games at each school. This week, the Bandits played at both home fields. Wednesday’s game against Oak Hill was played at Carrabec, while Thursday’s game against Winthrop was played at Madison. The Winthrop game was the result of a schedule change. Originally, Bridgeway was scheduled to play at Winthrop, with the Ramblers coming to Madison later this season. Now, the Bandits will play at Winthrop on May 24, in the next to last game of the regular season.

Splitting the games between Carrabec and Madison just made sense, Bridgeway coach Scott Franzose said.

“We’re going to do four here and four at Madison,” Franzose said after Wednesday’s game.

Thursday’s win over Winthrop improved the Bandits to 3-3 and jumped them into fourth place in the Class B South Heal point standings.

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Around the state: Three-time defending Class A state champion Bangor is off to another strong start. The Rams are 4-0 under new head coach Dave Morris… Falmouth has allowed just three runs in six games. The 6-0 Yachtsmen have four shutouts… Entering Thursday’s action, Oak Hill is the lone unbeaten team remaining in Class B South, but due to rainouts the Raiders have played just two games… Over its last three games, Fort Farifield has scored 54 runs.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM

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