FAIRFIELD — There were a few things the Lawrence baseball team needed to address entering the 2024 season. Cam Dostie, though, was plenty confident.

The Bulldogs, who already had little pitching experience following the losses of Hunter Lee and Ben Ryder, also began a new campaign with a new head coach, Corey Pelletier, following Rusty Mercier’s departure from the post after 12 years. Still, none of it could shake Dostie’s faith in his team’s ability to contend.

“I was anticipating us doing a lot of damage,” said Dostie, Lawrence’s senior starting catcher. “I think a lot of us were. We came into it knowing we had a strong upper class, and we knew that we’d be able to hit better than we have in recent years. It was just a matter of whether we could eliminate those mistakes.”

At 9-0, it’s safe to say Lawrence has eliminated those mistakes quite well. A by-committee pitching staff has proved effective for the Bulldogs, who had little experience on the mound last season. At the plate, the bats have more than come alive to power Lawrence into first place in Class B North.

There were certainly reasons for optimism at Lawrence as preparations for the current season began. The Bulldogs still had six starters back from a team that went 13-5 and had eventual Class B champ Old Town on the ropes late in the semifinals before falling short.

Any chances of improving on that run involved finding a workable formula on the mound. Only junior Michael Hamlin had varsity pitching experience for Lawrence after the losses of Lee, an All-Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference first-team selection, and Ryder, an All-KVAC second-teamer.


“We had to find some guys,” Pelletier said. “Michael was the only one who really had innings, so the approach was to give them all a shot. Instead of targeting one or two guys, we wanted to see as we go through the season who would really rise to the top and who would really compete when we need them to.”

Thus far, that’s worked to perfection. Seven different pitchers — Zack Hill, Braden Littlefield, Hamlin, Cam Blodgett, Broden Foster, Maddox Santone and Gavin Lunt — have earned victories for Lawrence. In doing so, they’ve assembled an impressive 1.50 staff ERA. 

“We’ve kind of assembled a two-pitchers-per-game kind of thing,” Littlefield said. “The first one can go however far they can before the next one comes in. We haven’t had a pitcher who’s gone a full game yet. We can if we need to, but right now, it’s working. It saves the pitch count, and it keeps us all fresh.”

Lawrence baseball coach Corey Pelletier high-fives a few of his players during a May 7 game against Waterville. The Bulldogs are 9-0 and sit atop Class B North. Anna Chadwick/Morning Sentinel

That’s only been complemented by what Lawrence has done at the plate. The Bulldogs are averaging 10.3 runs a game, having scored fewer than six runs just once. They’re batting .325 as a team with Jacob Frazee (.500), Cole Quirion (.400), Cam Dostie (.387) and Maddox Santone (.387) leading the way.

That’s a big difference between this Lawrence offense and last year’s, which scored four or fewer runs in half of its 18 games. The Bulldogs particularly struggled down the stretch as they scored just seven runs over the final three games, which ultimately did them in in the loss to Old Town.

“Hitting has definitely been the difference,” Littlefield said. “The bats have really been going for us this year. We’ve practiced a lot in the gym and get a lot of cage time, and we’ve worked on the fundamentals. It’s just being consistent with it each day and getting in a lot of swings.”


Lawrence already has two impressive victories over B North contender Cony (14-4 and 4-3), which allowed just one run to the Bulldogs in two games last year. The team’s other notable victories include sweeps of Waterville and Belfast.

Lawrence’s biggest contest of the season, though, might be the upcoming one: a home game Friday against Skowhegan (5-3). A win over the Class A North stalwart River Hawks could bolster the Bulldogs’ pedigree as contenders in B North, which has produced the last five state champions.

Lawrence’s Maddox Santone pitches during a May 7 game against Waterville in Waterville. Anna Chadwick/Morning Sentinel

“We see that as the perfect test,” said Pelletier, who played baseball at Lawrence and Thomas College before joining Mercier’s American Legion staff last summer. “A lot of the top teams you see in Class B play a similar style as Skowhegan, so hopefully, it’s a game that can give a lot of confidence for a group of guys that’s been knocking on the door in the playoffs.”

Certainly, Lawrence’s current players have seen their fair share of postseason oh-so-nears. Before last year’s loss to Old Town, the Bulldogs led Ellsworth 2-1 in the same Northern Maine semifinal round in 2022 before the Eagles, who also went on to win a state title, rallied for a 3-2 win.

That’s what Lawrence is out to correct this year. Sure, the formula looks a little bit different from those of the past two years, but at 9-0, the Bulldogs are every bit the Class B North player they’ve been the past two years, and perhaps more.

“You look at losing 3-2 in the semifinals two years in a row, and it’s really left a sour taste in our mouth,” Hamlin said. “A lot of the guys this year have been on the team for a while, so they’ve experienced both of those losses. We want to get back there and prove we can push through this time.”

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