North Yarmouth Academy didn’t have enough players to field a baseball team in 2012 and 2013, but a push by parents and the school this spring resulted in 14 players signing up.
The team has three juniors, and the rest of the team is freshmen and sophomores. A year ago NYA had six players sign up.
With such a young team, the Panthers (1-10) lost their first nine games before beating another winless team – Greater Portland Christian – 7-0 last Saturday. The Panthers lost to Old Orchard Beach 11-1 on Tuesday and will be at Waynflete at 9 a.m. Saturday before closing the season at home Monday against unbeaten Sacopee Valley.
Asked if the school will have a team next season, Coach Brett Kapteina said, “absolutely.”
The bulk of the starters are freshmen and sophomores, and the middle-school team had a winning season. Kapteina expects to get players from that program for next season.
“Hopefully we can be competitive,” said Kapteina.
NYA has had closer games this month and the improvement has been noticeable.
“It’s like night and day,” said Kapteina. “You can ask any of the coaches of teams we play. We still make mistakes. We’re still young. We have players who haven’t played since they were 8 or 9. We’re putting together more complete games. The kids finally got rewarded for the struggles they’ve gone through.”
Kapteina, also an assistant hockey coach at NYA, said the team works on fundamentals at practice while keeping it fun.
The Panthers play home games at nearby Bennett Field in Yarmouth. Yarmouth Middle School also plays and practices at the field, which requires some juggling of schedules.
Against Greater Portland Christian, both pitchers had no-hitters through five innings although the Panthers took advantage of errors and walks to take a lead. NYA pitcher Joey Hogan, a freshman, completed a no-hitter, striking out 16.
“The kids were excited,” said Kapteina. “Going in it was a game we felt we should win.”
Kapteina said several players plan to play summer ball, a key for a successful program.
“It will be interesting to see the kids come into next season with a year’s experience,” said Athletic Director Jack Hardy.
Saturday AT Marshwood High in South Berwick will be Troy Pappas Day as the Hawks play Bonny Eagle at 11 a.m. A bronze plaque between the dugout and batting cage will be dedicated in Pappas’ memory.
Pappas was a football, basketball and baseball standout at Marshwood, graduating in 2012. He died from a fall in a Bates College dormitory in 2012.
The festivities will include an alumni game and home run derby. Troy’s parents, John and Mary, and his sister, Rayna, will throw out the first pitch. Revenues generated from the day will go toward the Pappas Fund, which donates to education in the community and other causes he had a hand in assisting.
There are plans for a scholarship in Pappas’ name at the school.
The MPA singles tennis tournaments continue Friday at Colby College in Waterville with 48 boys and 48 girls scheduled to play down to two fields of 16.
The Round of 16 and quarterfinals are scheduled for Saturday, also at Colby, with semifinals and championship matches set for Monday at Bates College in Lewiston.
Falmouth junior Olivia Leavitt and Brunswick senior Maisie Silverman, who met in last year’s final, are the top girls’ seeds. The top boys’ seeds are Falmouth senior Justin Brogan, a two-time finalist, and teammate Brendan McCarthy, last year’s runner-up.
Glenn Jordan contributed to this report.
Tom Chard can be reached at 791-6419 or at