It’s been 21 years since Sacopee Valley won a baseball state championship, but this year’s team, with an 11-0 record, has the potential to join Hawks teams that captured Class C titles in 1992 and ’93.
This season has been in the making for three years, said Coach Eric Anderson.
“The kids have had success at the lower levels and they’ve worked hard on the fundamentals,” said Anderson, in his second year as coach and a one-time Sacopee Valley player. “It’s not like we waved a magic wand. We practice hard and the kids have a great attitude. We’re still a young team.
‘The good thing is we don’t rely on one or two players. The whole lineup can hit, and it’s been wonderful to have kids step up and help out.”
Sacopee Valley earned its fifth shutout of the season Wednesday with a 15-0 victory against North Yarmouth Academy. Despite the win and their unbeaten record, the Hawks dropped from third to fifth in the Western Class C Heal point standings.
Sacopee Valley trails St. Dominic and Dirigo, two perennial Class C powers, who are first and third in Heal points. Monmouth Academy is second and Lisbon fourth.
In the last five seasons, Dirigo has won three state titles, including the last two, and St. Dom’s captured the other two. The Hawks don’t play those teams in the regular season.
With five freshmen starters last season, Sacopee went 7-9 in the regular season, won a prelim game, then lost to Winthrop in the quarterfinals. Those freshmen are now sophomores and the experience gained last season shows.
The Hawks usually start three seniors, two juniors and four sophomores. There are three freshmen on the varsity.
“The sophomores are a strong group,” said Anderson. “They started playing organized ball when they were 8 and 9 years old.”
Cal Ripken baseball (ages 8 to 12) replaced Little League in the Sacopee Valley area (Cornish, Kezar Falls, Hiram, South Hiram, Porter and Parsonsfield) and the players were actively involved before moving on to Babe Ruth and American Legion ball.
Sacopee Valley joins Bonny Eagle for Babe Ruth and American Legion.
Last winter, Sacopee had 17 players training at the Maine Hits facility in Scarborough. The Hawks, with a team batting average of .350, have 118 runs in 11 games. Their pitchers have amazing control, totaling one walk in a seven-game stretch.
Senior Anthony Haskell has a 5-0 record as a pitcher and is the team’s second-leading hitter with a .406 average. Haskell plays third base when not pitching and is a co-captain with Alex Fenderson, a strong defender in left field.
The No. 2 starting pitcher is sophomore Roderick Maynard, who has a 4-0 record. Maynard also plays right field and is hitting .366.
The leading hitter is sophomore Brady Anderson, the coach’s son. The club’s leadoff hitter, Anderson is batting .483. He also leads the Hawks in extra-base hits with eight, runs, RBI and stolen bases. Anderson improved his pitching record to 2-0 by beating NYA.
Kyle Jordan, another sophomore, is starting to round into form after recuperating from a muscle tear in his shoulder. He homered against NYA. Jordan was the starting catcher as a freshman but has been playing second base. He hit five homers last season.
“Kyle is our purest hitter and he would be one of our top three pitchers if he hadn’t been injured,” said Eric Anderson.
Anderson said C.J. Dunnells has done a nice job stepping in at catcher this season.
“We could go undefeated in the regular season (16-0) and end up with the fourth seed,” said Anderson. “The Mountain Valley Conference teams get most of the Heal points. I think we’re compatible with those teams. We beat Wiscasset in the preseason and they’re the only team to have beaten St. Dominic.”
STARTING OUT, Scarborough knew it had one of the top returning pitchers in the state in Ben Greenberg. The question was who would step up and fill out the rotation to give the Red Storm a chance to return to the playoffs despite their lack of varsity experience.
Matt Hartl, Zach Carriero and Sam Warren have answered the call.
On Tuesday, Hartl tossed a six-hitter while striking out seven as Scarborough evened its record at 5-5 with a 4-1 victory against Massabesic.
After dropping their first four games, the Red Storm have battled back and are ranked sixth in Western Class A.
“We’ve been through every scenario,” said Coach Ryan Jones. “The good, bad and ugly. Hopefully we’ll have positive things moving forward.”
Tom Chard can be reached at 791-6419 or at: