The second time around, Coach Phil Desjardins knows what to say to his baseball team at Southern Maine Community College.

The ninth-seeded Seawolves will host the U.S. Collegiate Athletic Association Small College World Series again at The Ballpark in Old Orchard Beach on May 13-18.

“I’m going to tell them ‘You win, you play the No. 1 seed just like last year.’ And we can win this as well as anyone else. If we play our game and don’t give them runs, we can be in this,” said Desjardins.

The Seawolves open with a game at 1 p.m. Saturday against No. 8 Rochester College. If they win, they face top-seeded Southern Virginia University on Saturday night.

“I really feel there’s not a team we can’t compete with,” said second baseman Scott Madden of Saco (Thornton Academy). “We really weren’t expecting much last year but were able to win our first game and get a solid run in, which definitely gave us a lot of confidence.”

SMCC wrapped up its regular season with a 9-13 record but had more depth at pitching and seven returning position players this season, said Desjardins.

The Seawolves won their World Series opener last year when Mustafa Jamal of Gorham pitched a three-hitter to beat Penn State Greater Allegheny, 5-3.

They advanced to a night game against second-seeded Briarcliffe but lost when Briarcliffe scored on a two-out infield single in the bottom of the eighth to pull out a 2-1 win.

That loss moved SMCC to the losers’ bracket where they lost 11-4 to Penn State Greater Allegheny in an elimination game.

“I think we’ll match up better this year,” said Desjardins. “We are the same caliber team with more depth in pitching. And defensively, I feel good.”

First baseman Tyler Kelly of South Portland agreed.

“I feel like we’re in a good position being the underdog,” he said. “I think we have things in line this year. We have a tight core of guys and four or five solid starters we can throw at any time.”

The Ballpark, which will be home to a New England College Baseball League team this summer, will showcase some improvements since reopening last year.

“Everything looks really good,” said SMCC Athletic Director Matt Richards. “The field is gorgeous. The volunteers have really put in time and effort. Some of the amenities are significantly improved.”

UNIVERSITY OF MAINE

Newly hired women’s basketball coach Richard Barron said among his first tasks will be hiring a staff of assistants.

“One person is not going to do much by themselves,” said Barron. “We need to get a staff in place but we need everyone working for Maine basketball.

“We need the fans. We’ve got to get them back. That really is going to be the tipping point.”

The Maine baseball team is still in the running to host the America East tournament later this month but will need help to overtake conference leader Stony Brook (32-10, 15-2 AE).

The Black Bears (23-21, 12-5) are in third place with two weekend series left in the regular season: three games against struggling Hartford (3-38-1, 1-15) this weekend and four against Binghamton (20-20, 12-4) next weekend.

UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN MAINE

Sophomore Molly Carl of York broke the school record in the 1,500 meters for the second straight weekend to lead the Huskies to an eighth-place finish at the New England Division III outdoor track and field championships last weekend at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Carl came from behind in the final 200 meters to win the race in a time of 4 minutes, 37.37 seconds, surpassing the NCAA provisional qualifying standard of 4:38.00.

ST. JOSEPH’S COLLEGE

The sixth-seeded Monks softball team will meet No. 3 Endicott for the first time in the opening round of an NCAA Division III regional today at Rhode Island College. Game time is 2 p.m.

St. Joseph’s had a team batting average of .357 and an ERA of 2.72. Endicott is hitting .381 with an ERA of 1.77.

The baseball team is awaiting its seeding for the NCAA Division III New England regional, which will be announced on Monday.

The Monks (30-11) became the third New England team to reach the 30-win mark when they beat Bowdoin 1-0 Sunday.

BOWDOIN COLLEGE

The baseball team plays its opener in the New England Small College Athletic Conference tournament at 3 p.m. Friday against second-seeded Amherst.

The Polar Bears (22-12, 8-4 NESCAC) are trying to earn the automatic bid to the Division III New England regional next week.

Bowdoin’s only previous trip to the NCAAs came in 2006.

UNIVERSITY OF NEW ENGLAND

The third-seeded UNE softball team opened the Eastern College Athletic Conference Division III New England championship Wednesday with a 5-0 win over No. 6 Rivier at Biddeford.

The Nor’easters improved to 28-17 overall.

Staff Writer Jenn Menendez can be contacted at 791-6426 or at:

[email protected]