Messalonskee’s Evan DeMott (9) slides home before the ball gets to Gardiner catcher Kyle Adams (21) during a preseason scrimmage at Colby College. Morning Sentinel photo by Michael G. Seamans

The Messalonskee High School baseball team’s season as a nomad is more than half complete. The Eagles have played home games at Thomas College and Colby College, but due to an absolutely saturated home field at the high school, no real home games.

“We’ve played here, at Colby, wherever we can get on a baseball field. Our guys want to play baseball,” Messalonskee coach Ray Bernier said following Monday’s 6-5 win over Mt. Ararat at Thomas College. “It’s been tough.”

Despite the lack of a true home field this season, Messalonskee is very much in the Class A North playoff race. Monday’s win improved the Eagles record to 6-4, and they currently sit in fifth place in the regional standings.

“I feel like we use it to our advantage. We can play anywhere. There’s not really home or away games for us this year. It’s just locking in and playing baseball,” Bernier said.

Messalonskee’s home field has been so wet, people have sunk into it trying to simply walk across the grass. The Eagles have practiced on the field a little, limiting themselves to simple drills. The team has practiced on Colby’s artificial turf when it’s been available.

“We kind of practice there but casually. I don’t let guys take fly balls in left field. I’m careful about balls in the infield. We’ve had some bad luck with our field,” Bernier said.

 

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After starting the season with five consecutive losses, the Gardiner baseball team won three of its next five games. At 3-7, the Tigers are back in the hunt for the Class B North playoffs. As of Thursday afternoon, Gardiner sat in 15th place in the region, just three points behind Washington Academy for the final playoff spot.

The recent improvement is the result of a young team learning how to play varsity baseball, Gardiner coach Charlie Lawrence said. The Tigers have just one senior and two juniors in the lineup, with sophomores and freshmen making up the rest.

“The first five games was younger guys catching up to the speed of the game,” Lawrence said. “At the start of the season, we were making five to 10 errors a game. We made one versus Leavitt the other day (a 7-6 Gardiner win). They’re maturing. They’re starting to play together and learning how to play together.”

Sophomore Kyle Adams has settled in as Gardiner’s starting catcher. Sophomores Noah Reed and Andrew Kelley are pitching well, Lawrence said, and sophomore Darien Jamison has played well at first base and pitched. Offensively, things began to click more for Gardiner when Adams went to the cleanup spot and Kelley moved to the three hole.

“They’re starting to produce RBI’s,” Lawrence said. “Jamison has thrown some good games for us.”

Like teams throughout the region, Gardiner has a packed schedule as it tries to get games lost to the rainy spring played. The Tigers had a makeup game against Medomak Valley scheduled for Thursday afternoon, with a game at Lincoln Academy set for Saturday. Gardiner also has games remaining against Leavitt, Morse, Lawrence and rival Cony. The Heal points are there, and a few wins should vault Gardiner back into the playoffs. The right wins could even get the Tigers home in the preliminary round.

“There’s a lot of Heal points, but the Heal points are there because those are good teams,” Lawrence said.

 

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Oak Hill earned an important win Wednesday, defeating defending Class C state champion Hall-Dale, 6-5. The win improved the Raiders to 6-4 and into ninth place in the Class B South standings.

It was the second one-run win in a row for Oak Hill, which held off Bridgeway 9-8 Monday, and the third win in four games for the Raiders.

Two of Oak Hill’s next three games are home against teams fighting for playoff spots in Class C South. Friday, the Raiders host Monmouth (6-3), which sits percentage points behind Winthrop for the fifth spot in the region. Monday, Oak Hill hosts Mt. Abram (4-5). The Roadrunners are percentage points behind the Waynflete/North Yarmouth Academy cooperative team for the 10th and final spot in the Class C South playoffs.

In between those games, Oak Hill is scheduled to travel to winless Wiscasset.

 

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Around the state: Fans eager for the matchup between Hermon and Ellsworth, the two remaining undefeated teams in Class B North, will not have to wait much longer. The lone meeting between the two is set for Thursday  at Hermon. There’s no guarantee both will still be undefeated by then. Hermon has tough road games scheduled with Washington Academy, John Bapst and defending state champion Brewer. Ellsworth had Brewer at home Thursday, and is set to play at George Stevens Academy and host Bapst and Washington Academy before the showdown with the Hawks… Scarborough is currently in third place in Class A South, but the Red Storm has the chance to move up with games against No. 1 South Portland and No. 2 Thornton Academy coming up. Scarborough plays at Thornton on Saturday morning, and will host South Portland on Monday… At 8-1, Searsport is the favorite to win Class D South. The Vikings scored at least 10 runs in seven of their first nine games, and the lone loss came to Bucksport, currently the two seed in Class C North.

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