Messalonskee’s Denny Martin celebrates after sliding safely into home plate during a game against Mt. Ararat June 5 in Oakland. Anna Chadwick/Morning Sentinel

The spring high school season might be over, but it’s still summer, and that means baseball and softball aren’t really too far from our minds.

The excitement is still here in central Maine, which produced two state champions, three regional champions and six regional finalists. That success has underclassmen around the area looking forward to building on what was a strong season this spring.

Much can change before March of next year, but a few appear to be solid contenders for championships when that time comes. With central Maine winning at least one baseball or softball state title for the 13th time in 14 years in 2024, there’s reason for more optimism in 2025.

Potential state title contenders:

Messalonskee baseball: A loss in the Class A state title game still stings right now, but Messalonskee still had an outstanding season at 16-4. The Northern Maine champions averaged 7.4 runs per game and had six players record over 20 hits each on the season.

There’s reason to believe Messalonskee’s success in 2024 can continue next spring. Six starters return for the Eagles, including Denny Martin (.419 average, 26 hits) and Michael Achorn (.413, 26 hits, five home runs). The team will also return its pitching staff of Martin, Garrett Giguere, Donovan Hermann and Sean Achorn.

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Disappointment certainly set in for Messalonskee on Saturday after the 7-0 defeat to Scarborough. Head coach Eric Palin was heartbroken for his four seniors but also knew as the Red Storm accepted their Gold Glove and medals Saturday that his group next year could be on that stage.

“(Coming back strong next year) is the message right now, but out of the respect for the seniors that aren’t coming back, you have to look back and appreciate the accomplishments of this year,” Palin said Saturday. “We see how (Scarborough is) celebrating, and we want to get back here and be on that side next year.”

Cony baseball: After an impressive 16-2 season last year, the Rams took a step back in 2024 going 11-7 with a Class B North quarterfinal loss to Mount Desert Island. With seven starters returning, though, Cony should be back in the thick of things once again next spring.

Cony’s Parker Morin throws a pitch to a Monmouth Academy hitter during a baseball game Monday in Augusta. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel

All-Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference first-teamer Parker Morin will be back on the mound for Cony, as will Lance Theriault and Max Tibbetts. Morin will also be a threat at the plate along with fellow junior-to-be Wyatt McKenney and senior Jordan Benedict.

“We were very young,” Cony head coach Don Plourde said following the MDI defeat. “We made our share of mistakes, but at the same time, we’ve got guys that are going to have opportunities and learn from the mistakes, and they’ll have some motivation next year.”

Richmond baseball: The Bobcats were Class D South runners-up in 2024 as they went 14-2 and averaged 13.0 runs per game. There’s reason to believe they can be back in the Southern Maine championship game again next year given the crop of players that will be returning next spring.

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Back in the lineup for Richmond will be Kenny Mecham (.580, 29 hits, 26 RBIs), Zander Steele (.500), Ben Fournier (.458, 22 hits, 21 RBIs), Brady Alexander (.391) and Jacob Gay (.367). Alexander and Rhys Terry, both of whom were 4-0 with identical 0.72 ERAs, will lead a strong Bobcats pitching staff.

“I’m bringing back everybody but our two seniors (Wyatt Cassidy and Hunter Mason), and even the bench guys we have, they contributed a lot all year,” said Richmond head coach Ryan Gardner. “Pitching-wise, Brady and Rhys were both undefeated this year, and it’s always good when you’re 1 and 2 come back.”

Hall-Dale softball: The Bulldogs may lose head coach Steve Acedo as well as two of their core players of the past four state championship runs in Ashlynn Donahue and Zoe Soule, who graduated. Yet dynasties are built on the backs of more than a few pieces, and Hall-Dale in 2025 will still have plenty.

Jade Graham (.463) and Lucy Gray (.448), both of whom had two hits as Hall-Dale (18-2) beat Bucksport 6-3 for the Class C crown Saturday, will be back in the lineup. All-Mountain Valley Conference first-teamers Marie Benoit (.500) and Torie Tibbetts (.458) also return, as do Maddie Coro and Mira Skehan.

In the circle? Well, Gray is lined up well to succeed Donahue as Hall-Dale’s starting pitcher next season. The senior-to-be threw a no-hitter May 16 against Maranacook/Winthrop and combined with Donahue to pitch a perfect game in the May 29 regular-season finale at Telstar.

“They’re going to be solid,” Monmouth Academy head coach Dave Kaplan said of Hall-Dale. “They probably won’t be way ahead of the back like they’ve been, but that doesn’t mean they’re not going to be very good. They have a strong junior class and some good younger players.”

Monmouth softball: Kaplan’s Mustangs (13-5) battled Hall-Dale for the top spot in Class C South for much of the year before some tough losses did them in at the end. With seven of nine starters back, though, Monmouth stands to be one of the MVC’s top squads again next season.

Monmouth pitcher Shannah Parsons throws to the plate against Hall-Dale during a softball game May 28 in Farmingdale. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

Monmouth will boast one of the top pitchers in the region in Shannah Parsons, who was also the lynchpin of the Mustangs’ lineup in the No. 4 spot. Rileigh Chase, Riley Smith and Bella Lyons will also return to anchor a Monmouth offense that averaged 9.2 runs per game this spring.

“It’s going to be an exciting year,” Kaplan said. “There’s a good group of middle-schoolers, too, that are moving up for us and will be ready to compete. I think you have a lot of kids there who are going to push for playing time next year.”

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