AUGUSTA — Greg Lajoie knew coming in he had a good group. As it turned out, the Augusta Little League coach had one ready to make a little bit of history, too.

Augusta’s All-Star Majors Little League team went on a run it hadn’t made in years, winning the district tournament to reach the state tournament at Old Orchard Beach for the first time since 2004. Augusta began its state tournament with an 11-0 win over Medomak, and then fell to Bangor East 1-0 despite not allowing a hit. At press time, the fate of the team in the tournament was unsure — Augusta played Calais on Tuesday night in an effort to avoid elimination and reach Thursday’s loser’s bracket semifinals.

However the game goes and however long Augusta stays in the field, Lajoie said it’s been a fun ride.

The Augusta Majors Little League All-Star team poses with their banner after winning the District 5 title. Photo provided by Melanie Lajoie

“It’s a really fun group to coach. They’re a coach’s dream,” Lajoie said. “They want to be coached, they want to work, they want to get better, and they’re obviously talented kids.”

Lajoie said even before the season started, he and his assistant coaches knew of the team’s promise and potential.

“This is a group that we’ve known for a couple of years, this was kind of a special group. They’ve come up together, and they’ve played on previous All-Star teams,” said Lajoie, whose team is made up primarily of 12-year-olds. “I think we knew early on that this was going to be a good group, but I didn’t realize (how good) until we got together and we started working.”

Once those practices started, the Augusta team revealed itself to be versatile and deep — “As deep of a team as I’ve ever coached in Little League,” Lajoie said. Grady Hreben, who struck out 15 while holding Bangor East without a hit Sunday, was the ace throughout the postseason, while Anderson Noyes, Drew Lindquist and Austin Bucknam have pitched well also.

Those pitchers, along with Josh Lajoie and Ian Lasselle, have been some of the top hitters as well. According to Coach Lajoie, the team got comfortable with playing in big games early on.

“The pressure hasn’t hurt them at all,” he said. “I think it’s actually amped them up a little bit. They’ve embraced the specialness of the moment.”

That showed in the district tournament, when Augusta beat Hall-Dale, then Lisbon, and then Hall-Dale again to wrap up the trip to the state tournament. All along, the team was supported by a strong section of fans, a group that followed it down south to states.

“Our district championship game, they were three deep all the way around the field,” Greg Lajoie said. “It was just red, all the way around the field.”

The community knew it was special. Greg Lajoie said the players got the idea too.

“I love this team,” he said. “We, from Day 1, have embraced that history.”

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