The Skowhegan Tax Pro American senior Legion team is hanging on the edge of the North division playoff field, sitting in a tie for the fourth and final spot.

Rod Stevens and his team aren’t panicking, however. The most important games were the four still to come at the start of the week, and Skowhegan’s homestretch is looking pretty favorable.

“We need to play well, and we need to win a few games to make it to the state tournament,” Stevens said. We’re not going to back in, let’s put it that way.”

Skowhegan is tied with Motor City at 8-6, but has the easier slate of games remaining. Skowhegan plays Acadians, Augusta and South China twice, and its opponents entering Tuesday were a combined 18-34. Motor City, meanwhile, plays Bangor twice, Acadians and Augusta, who are a combined 34-18.

“They believe that they can be there,” Stevens said, “and if we play well, we’ll get there.”

Skowhegan missed a chance to further bolster its playoff chances, dropping a pair of games Saturday to Hampden, 5-1 and 3-2. Skowhegan, which got complete-game efforts from Caleb Bridges and then Braden Bolduc in the two games, had a 1-0 lead before losing in eight innings in the first contest, and then had runners thrown out at the plate in the sixth and seventh innings of the second.

“One game would be a big difference in our lives, but we still hold our own destiny,” Stevens said.

Skowhegan also gets the benefit of not having to play any more doubleheaders, which in the middle of the summer are draining for a team — particularly if that day coincides with a slew of absences that strains a team’s depth even further.

“The boys are tired,” Stevens said. “The boys work, some of them play summer basketball … they play hockey, they play soccer. They’re doing other activities, baseball isn’t the only thing they’re doing, so I found the last two Saturdays the boys have showed up tired for a 5 o’clock doubleheader.”

 

• • •

 

Augusta US Cellular saw its chances in the race for a spot in the four-team playoff field further damaged on Monday. Augusta resumed a suspended game with Acadians and lost 10-0, then lost the scheduled game with the same team 9-2.

With the two defeats, Augusta fell to 5-8, and its chances at the postseason are slim. The best the team can do is win out against Farmington, Skowhegan, Motor City, Bangor and Farmington again and finish 10-8, but even then, it would need a lot of help. Acadians and Hampden have already passed 10 wins, Bangor is at 10 and Skowhegan has the aforementioned softer schedule.

A way in does exist for Augusta, however. If it wins out, Augusta would get the fourth spot via tiebreaker if Skowhegan loses its game with Acadians, assuming Motor City struggles with its difficult closing stretch.

 

• • •

 

Few teams in junior Legion have enjoyed a better season than Fairfield Post 14, which began the week in second place in the South division at 11-3. Coach Rusty Mercier said he knew Fairfield, which made the state tournament last year, would have a strong team, but that the results have been a surprise.

“I knew we would have a decent year, I just didn’t know what the win-loss record would be,” he said. “This group, really, this is their third year at this level, so obviously three years ago we were really young. We have a lot of sophomores, a couple of juniors, we actually have some eighth-graders too and a couple of freshmen, but I would say it’s a seasoned group.”

And a deep one. Turnout hasn’t been a problem for Fairfield, which has 18 players on the roster — 16 from Lawrence, where Mercier coaches — and has had as many as 17 players show up for games this season.

“A lot of the kids, baseball is a primary sport for them,” he said. “We do have some multi-sport athletes, but overall it’s been a committed group.”

Mercier’s group has been balanced, with pitching led by Hayden Lee and Jake Ryder and hitting led by Ryder, Nate Bickford, Zach Nickerson, Mike Roy and Mason Lunt.

“Depending on the night, we’ve defended and pitched well, and other nights we’ve hit well,” he said. “We don’t have one identity. We’re improving in all three of those areas.”

 

• • •

 

Few players have had a busier summer on the diamond than Mathew Berry.

The rising senior at Skowhegan Area High School has been playing for both the Skowhegan senior team and the Fairfield junior team. He’s pitched for Fairfield and been one of Post 14’s top arms, and he’s been one of Skowhegan’s best hitters with 21 hits in 42 at-bats for a .500 average.

“(He’s) been steady throughout the season,” Stevens said.

 

• • •

 

While Fairfield sits in second in the junior Legion standings, the Hammond Lumber Loons (8-4, fourth place) out of Messalonskee, Damon’s Beverage Mart (8-5, fifth) out of Skowhegan and Hammond Lumber Owls (5-6, eighth) were also in the top eight to start the week and therefore on track for playoff spots in the South division. Waterville, in ninth at 4-7, is just on the outside with one more week left in the season.

Sebasticook (7-10) of Nokomis began the week in sixth place in the North division.

Augusta and Waterville news

Get news and events from your towns in your inbox every Friday.


  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.