SKOWHEGAN — They made some remarkable exploits at this site a year ago — but as a new spring season begins, Skowhegan’s baseball and tennis programs can no longer call the Memorial Field complex home.

Home to a regional championship-winning boys tennis team and an 11-win baseball team last year, this part of town now looks completely different. Instead of a park, it’s now the site of an under-construction elementary school that’s slated to open in fall 2025.

That’s left Skowhegan baseball and tennis without traditional homes for the coming spring season, which began Monday with the first official practices. Instead, both teams will be playing their games miles away from town while they await the construction of their new homes.

“You always want to be playing at home, but we’re just going to have to make the best of it,” said Dan Riley, head coach of the boys tennis team. “We’re fortunate we’ve been offered some nice facilities, and the kids are going to take advantage of that and go out and play.”

Skowhegan’s Noah McMahon takes a swing off the tee while teammates watch during practice Tuesday in Skowhegan. Anna Chadwick/Morning Sentinel

Players, coaches and town officials had hoped that a project to expand the Skowhegan Community Center would have had a new field and courts ready for the 2024 season. That, unfortunately, did not transpire, forcing the two sports to go on the road for the upcoming year.

That means Skowhegan baseball will play four home games apiece at Colby College — 18 miles south in Waterville — and Madison Area Memorial High School — 10 miles west. In the meantime, the River Hawks will practice at the middle school field, a situation they can make work but that could also yield some headaches.


“The practice situation is more of a pain in the side,” said head baseball coach Mike LeBlanc. “You’ll have four teams in an afternoon to practice there, so we’re probably going to be bumped until later in the afternoon instead of right after school like we’re used to. The field is an OK field, but it’s not a varsity baseball field. It’s going to be tough.”

As for playing games away from home? LeBlanc isn’t so concerned there. Teams in this part of Maine, after all, are used to traveling much longer distances for games, and between Colby’s fine turf field and Madison’s facility, LeBlanc is happy with where his team will play “home” games.

“We play away games anyway, so this is just playing more of them, except we’re the home team,” LeBlanc said. “We get to play on two decent fields, and we’re very appreciative of that. Colby, obviously that field is very nice, and Madison also has a very nice field that’s similar to what we’re used to playing on.”

Skowhegan Athletic Director Brian Jones said the school district spent funds to improve the quality of the middle school field, including the addition of a dual batting cage. He said the junior varsity team will play three home games at that field while playing three others at Madison and one at Colby.

Skowhegan’s Silas Tibbetts loads up for a swing while taking reps off a tee during batting practice Tuesday in Skowhegan. Anna Chadwick/Morning Sentinel

As for tennis, the Skowhegan boys and girls teams will both be playing at Camp Somerset for Girls, just a stone’s throw from East Pond in Smithfield. It’s a fairly easy commute of just 13 miles from the high school to the facility, which boasts five tennis courts, two more than Memorial Park.

“I feel like we’re very lucky to have a nice place; it’s a great place to play for the five seniors that we have,” Riley said. “My only complaint is that I have to choose who I can watch because five courts means all five of our starters are going to be playing at once, but in the end, I’m really happy with it.”


Although the environment is a new one for Skowhegan players, they’re excited about the opportunity. It’s hard to complain about being right on East Pond from April through June, and at least one of the River Hawks has been impressed by the photos he’s seen of the facility.

“They’re really nice, and it looks like it’s a great complex,” said senior Cam Herrick. “I actually like that there’s five courts. I think that’s going to make the matches go by a lot quicker, whereas the matches last year, we had some of them going until 7:30 or 8 o’clock. It’ll move things along a lot better.”

Jones did not have a timeline for the construction of new baseball and tennis facilities, a subject that’s been a contentious issue in the town. He said he remains optimistic, though, that the teams will be playing back in Skowhegan in 2025.

“That’s my hope,” Jones said. “We’ll have to wait and see.”

Comments are no longer available on this story