The improvement has started for the Mt. Abram baseball team. Coach Jeff Pillsbury is excited to see it unfold.

“I think at times, we can play with the top teams,” Pillsbury said. “Hopefully next year we can make that jump where we’re a little more consistent.”

After multiple seasons missing the playoffs, the Roadrunners earned a spot in the Class C South tournament in 2018. This past season, Mt. Abram improved its regular season mark by two wins, going 8-8 to reach the playoffs again. This time, the Roadrunners earned their first playoff win since 2010, beating Mountain Valley Conference rival Winthrop, 14-8, in the preliminary round.

For his part in rebuilding the Mt. Abram baseball program, Jeff Pillsbury is the Morning Sentinel Baseball Coach of the Year. Also considered were Rusty Mercier of Lawrence and Messalonskee’s Ray Bernier.

“(Pillsbury) just works so hard. He works us really hard in practice,” junior Nate Luce said. “We’re always doing something. It’s never boring.”

Luce is one of the many Roadrunners who was coached by Pillsbury at the youth baseball level. When Pillsbury took over as Mt. Abram varsity coach in 2018, he knew the players he was getting, and knew they could succeed.

“I’ve had the pleasure of coaching these kids a while. My son (Kenyon Pillsbury) is a sophomore and I’ve been coaching since he was 8,” Pillsbury said. “It really started when these kids were 9 or 10. There’s some competitors in this mix.”

This was a season of injuries for the Roadrunners. The team used three starting center fielders and three starting catchers, Pillsbury said. It gave younger players the opportunity to get in the lineup, and older players were asked to play multiple positions.

“He definitely invested a lot of confidence in me, and that gives me the confidence that he trusts me anywhere on the field,” Luce said.

Added Pillsbury: “It seemed we had a different lineup every game. We just had a lot of young kids. We saw kids get better and better. They started to come together. I’m pretty proud of them.”

The playoff win at Winthrop came not long after a 5-3 loss to the Ramblers late in the regular season.

“(Pillsbury) just reminds us anything can happen in baseball. We go over the good and bad every game. He talks to every player individually,” Luce said.

With back-to-back trips to the playoffs now under their belts, the Roadrunners know expectations will change. The team loses no players to graduation, Luce said.

“We’ll definitely expect more next year,” Luce said.


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