With more schools dealing with shrinking enrollment across the state, Class A North baseball is down to a dozen teams. Longtime Class A programs at Lawrence and Brewer are now in Class B. In the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference, there will be crossover games between Class A and Class B schools.

Class A Messalonskee will play crossover games against regional rivals Waterville, Winslow and Lawrence. Class A Skowhegan will take on Class B foes Lawrence and Nokomis. Longtime rivals Cony and Gardiner will play each other twice, while Cony also will face Erskine.

The crossover game plan is similar to how KVAC schools have scheduled basketball over the last few seasons. Messalonskee coach Ray Bernier said he’s eager to take on Waterville, Winslow and Lawrence. Players from those schools join his Messalonskee players each summer on a joint American Legion baseball team.

“There won’t be any secrets when we play each other,” Bernier said.

These changes are also affecting softball.

Joey Marcoux, the 26-year veteran head coach of Lawrence, says the Move from Class A to B does create some uncertainty for his team.

“It’s interesting in softball, as you know, because it’s all about pitching,” Marcoux said. “It doesn’t matter what class you’re in — if you have a pitcher rolling through, you’re going to win some games.

“It’s the unknown that’s scary for us.”

Marcoux pointed to a team like Hermon, a perennial power in the region. He’s never seen it play before.

Others though, like Nokomis, Winslow and Waterville, have been a staple of the Bulldogs’ preseason slate in recent years. That helps bridge the gap.

“We’re a little familiar with some of them that way,” Marcoux said. “It’s been a while since we played a team like Leavitt. But we’ll also have a little bit of a (familiar) mix with four A crossovers.”

Lawrence will still play A schools Skowhegan, Mt. Blue, Messalonskee and Lewiston.

The class shakeups affected track and field as well. Class B swelled, with Cony, Mt. Blue, Brewer and Lawrence moving down from Class A.

Making the move in the other direction was Maine Central Institute, which joined after competing last year in Class C.

“It’s going to be tougher for B schools than it is for A schools (to do well at the KVAC meet), I think,” Huskies coach Jason Allen said. “It’s probably been close to 10 years since we’ve been in B. … It’s hard to tell where we’ll be.”

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The Erskine baseball team said goodbye to one of the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference’s best catchers last season, as Nick Turcotte’s graduation left the Eagles with what would normally be a major void for any team looking to follow up a successful season.

They didn’t have to wait long to groom a replacement, however. Senior Boomer Jorgensen is taking over the catching duties this season, and coach Lars Jonassen said the Eagles won’t lose a step as they pass the torch.

“When you lose a good catcher, it’s hard to replace them. In our case, we don’t feel uncomfortable at all,” he said. “Boomer is an excellent backstop. There’s really no step down there.”

Catchers are crucial at the high school level. Good ones help by bailing pitchers out of control problems and by preventing teams from running wild on the basepaths, and the Eagles had a great one last year in the rifle-armed Turcotte. But they also had a career backstop playing right field in Jorgensen, and he was ready to take over behind the plate going into his senior year.

“It’s been two years now since I actually caught sophomore year (in JV), so I’ve been practicing every winter, just touching (up) my skills,” he said. “I played fall ball a little bit, I caught four or five games, and it feels good. My legs feel good. I’m just excited to get back.”

Jonassen said Jorgensen will have to get back used to the timing of catching, and that his arm is “just a notch” behind Turcotte’s. But when it comes to receiving pitches, Jonassen said the senior is second to none.

“Boomer will have zero to one passed balls. He’s an excellent defensive catcher,” he said. “He’s as good as Nick, defensively.”

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It’s been a smooth transition for the Winslow boys lacrosse team and new head coach Dakota Gendreau, who was an assistant coach with the Black Raiders last season.

“We’re not doing too much differently,” Gendreau said.

Former head coach Bruce Lambrecht is still involved in the program as a volunteer assistant coach, as is assistant coach Chad Pooler. That continuity is important to a young program, Gendreau said.

“We’re seeing a lot of these kids, they know they can come to any one of us if there’s a problem,” Gendreau said.

This season, Maine added a Class C for high school lacrosse. Rather than break the class in north and south divisions, Class C will be one statewide division when it comes to playoff seeding. Gendreau said that could lead to some interesting matchups in the playoffs.

“You’ll have a chance to face a team that before, you wouldn’t have seen unless you both made the state championship,” Gendreau said.

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Boothbay has dropped its softball program, leaving a gaping hole in most Mountain Valley Conference schedules.

After trying for two weeks this spring to gauge interest, the school notified the league Friday that it would not have a team this season.

“When they dropped it, I haven’t even passed out a master schedule yet because we weren’t certain what we were going to do,” said Chris LeBlanc, the Madison athletic director/softball coach who is also MVC president. “Once the MPA decommitted the schedules, we had to reload our entire (new) schedules.”

It’s not as simple as dropping dates and turning them into byes for the teams Boothbay was scheduled to play. Because not every MVC school plays the others twice, there were large gaps created in the scheduling.

“You can’t drop the dates, because we’ve got 15 people in the conference,” LeBlanc said. “We try to make sure everybody has 16 games. If (a school) drops those two games, inequities in your schedules.”

By dropping the program this year, Boothbay will not be able to have a varsity softball team again until at least 2020.