It’s early in the season but Fred Apt, coach of five-time Western Class B champion Fryeburg Academy, sees an important change for 2013.
“I think the league is more well balanced than it has been in quite a few years,” Apt said after his team took close, competitive wins at Poland (2-1) and against Greely (4-1).
Poland is 1-2 and coming off a 7-9 season. The way it played Fryeburg and Gray-New Gloucester (a 3-0 loss) to close, low-scoring games could be indicative of a league trend.
“Almost every game could be like the game we had against Poland,” Apt said.
Fryeburg still sits as the favorite, thanks to three holdovers from its 2011 state championship team: pitcher Sarah Harriman, catcher Carla Tripp and center fielder Maddie Pearson.
It’s just that other teams like Poland are catching up.
Poland has two quality sophomore pitchers in Kolby Woods and Kylie Martin, with key senior leadership in the infield from Brittina Maheux at third and Melora Lavoie at first.
“Honestly I think it’s going to be a case of there are no easy games this year,” said Poland Coach Katharine McKay. “Even our game against York (a 12-1 win Monday) was scoreless through three innings.”
Wells is another team Apt put in the mix with Cape Elizabeth and Greely.
“I think the pitching is getting better all the way around. I think we have some knowledgeable coaches,” Apt said. “It’s awesome. It helps everybody get ready for the tournament.”
Gray-New Gloucester is 3-0 despite losing starting pitcher Stephanie Greaton to a lower-back injury (Greaton is showing improvement) after beating Poland in its opener. The Patriots have been able to overcome Greaton’s injury with solid offense, the ability to play small-ball and advance runners when needed, and solid pitching from sophomore Maria Valente.
Coach Amanda Harmon said a preseason eight-inning loss to Class A power South Portland was a confidence boost.
Harmon, like McKay, is in her second season with her team.
THORNTON ACADEMY Coach John Provost will probably be asked again to compare his sophomore pitcher Bailey Tremblay to graduated Telegram Player of the Year Julia Geaumont. Just don’t expect him to do it.
“I have no desire to do any comparisons,” Provost said.
Tremblay has allowed two runs in two starts, including a 9-1 win against a quality team and archrival in Biddeford.
“Bailey is Bailey. She has tremendous control and she does a very good job of hitting her spots,” Provost said. “She’s very soft-spoken and a very mature player.”
She’s also used to being in the middle of the action. As a freshman she was Thornton’s starting shortstop and also got in 15 innings of pitching.
“Any girl who goes into the circle has to be mentally tough,” Provost said.
MT. ARARAT was expected to be a contender in Eastern Class A and may end up getting there, but its season-opening 29-2 loss to Brewer was shocking.
“We’re just dealing with a lot of injuries, absences and illnesses,” Coach Rick Bartlett said.
Infielder Fallon Fitzpatrick is probably lost for the year due to mononucleosis. Emily Dunn, a three-year starter at second, is out with a herniated disc and while improving, is still questionable. Add in that starting outfielder Abby Andreasen was in Germany on a school trip.
Bartlett was encouraged that his team played better against unbeaten Oxford Hills, then defeated Edward Little, 4-2.
“We talked after that Brewer debacle and said we have got to learn from it and move on, and hopefully play better and have a better result, and we did,” Bartlett said.
SCARBOROUGH PLAYED nine games in its biannual trip to Orlando, Fla., winning eight and tying one, according to senior Marisa O’Toole. In a 15-5 win against South Portland on Monday, the Red Storm scored in six of the seven innings and got at least one run from each of the top eight lineup spots.
“One thing about this team is that everybody is completely confident in their ability to contribute,” O’Toole said. “Even if they haven’t had much experience, everyone acts like they’ve been there before.”
Steve Craig can be reached at 791-6413 or: