Thursday, December 5, 2013
By Tom Chard firstname.lastname@example.org
Bruce Kingdon is back as the head coach at Mt. Ararat, coaching on Bruce Kingdon Field.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Adam Gould, pitcher, Portland: Gould tossed a four-hitter in an eight-inning 4-3 win over Westbrook on Saturday in the Bulldogs' Telegram League opener. Gould, a left-hander, had nine strikeouts and threw 110 pitches.
Matt MacDowell, catcher, Falmouth: MacDowell hit for the cycle and drove in five runs as the Yachtsmen downed Wells 17-7 on Monday.
Conor Moloney, pitcher, Cape Elizabeth: Moloney, a lefty, struck out 10 and allowed two hits in a five-inning, 10-0 win over Fryeburg Academy.
Keegan Sullivan, pitcher, Thornton Academy: Sullivan pitched a one-hitter with 14 strikeouts as the Golden Trojans beat Massabesic 2-0 in their Telegram League opener.
Is it a little disconcerting, coaching on a field named for you?
"It's scary," said Kingdon. "If we lay an egg, they're going to wonder whey they named it after me."
Kingdon, 69, arrived at Mt. Ararat when the school opened in the early 1970s. He coached baseball for 20 years, gave it up for a couple years, then returned for one year in 1997. Kingdon, who taught English, also had a stint as the school's athletic director before retiring.
"In some ways, I missed being a head coach," said Kingdon.
Coaches look forward to what happens between the lines. It's the peripheral stuff that can get tiring.
"The kids have been good," said Kingdon, a Colby College football standout in the early 1960s. "Last year's team was basically a senior team. We have a lot of kids up from the JV team. One of our best pitchers is sidelined for the season with a shoulder injury. "
It's not like Kingdon completely left the game. He stayed active as an assistant coach to Craig Rogers, who stepped down after last season. Kingdon was also an assistant at Hall-Dale, serving as the head coach in 2003.
"The game hasn't changed," said Kingdon. "You still need pitching, defense and hope you can hit.
"When I first starting coaching at Mt. Ararat, the aluminum bats were pretty weak. Now they're like trampolines."
Even though Kingdon has an inexperienced team, he is hopeful for a good season.
"You never know how much kids are going to improve. They come to practice and work hard, there's no limit on what they can accomplish," he said.
THERE HAVE already been some top team and individual performances this spring. Portland's surprising win over Westbrook, a preseason favorite in the Telegram League, was noteworthy.
The Bulldogs have a young team, with a few exceptions. One of the veterans is pitcher Adam Gould, who allowed just four hits as Portland opened its season by beating Westbrook 4-3 in eight innings.
Gould, a left-hander, had nine strikeouts and threw 110 pitches. Normally, a coach would keep his pitcher on a tight leash in terms of pitches in the first game, but Coach Mike McCullum said Gould is in such great shape that he knew he could handle the work. Gould will attend the U.S. Naval Academy.
"I'm really proud of the kids," said McCullum. "We had four freshmen in the game at one point. Adam pitched his best game in the two seasons that I've coached him. We got guys on base and we were able to do some things. It was a great way to start the season."
There are no powerhouses in the league this year on the level of Deering in recent seasons.
"the looks of opening day, it's anyone's league," said McCullum. "I still think teams like Westbrook, Deering, Cheverus and South Portland are the teams to beat."
DEERING'S BID to add to its 50-game winning streak ended abruptly with a 5-4 loss to Cheverus on opening day. Coach Mike Coutts' message to his players, the majority of whom were playing in their first varsity game, was not to dwell on it. What happened in the past is just that, the past. Worry about what you have to do to make this team successful.
The loss could help the Rams as the pressure of maintaining the streak is over. They can start fresh and make their own mark as a team.
A.C. Stewart of Deering had a double to center in the fourth inning that wasn't credited in the linescore.
The Rams bounced back on Wednesday with a 5-0 win over Noble in a game shortened to five innings because of rain. Jake Nichols pitched a no-hitter.
DEFENDING CLASS B state champion Greely graduated its first six hitters in the lineup and starting pitcher Sam Stauber, who won a school record 10 games last season. This is Coach Derek Soule's most inexperienced team in his 11 seasons.
Still, the Rangers are off to a 3-0 start heading into today's home game against York.
The next three games will be a strong indicator if Greely will be a contender. After York, Greely plays at Cape Elizabeth and at Falmouth.
Soule likes what he has seen from his pitchers. Ben Russell got the win in relief in the opener against Lake Region. Sam Thompson, playing baseball for the first time since his freshman year after being on the lacrosse team the last two years, was the winning pitcher against Gray-New Gloucester, and Dan O'Brion got the win against Poland. Sophomore Mike Leeman also is expected to see plenty of mound duty after coming off injury.
O'Brion, Matt Labbe and sophomores Peter Stauber and Brad McKenney are swinging strong bats.
Soule is eager to see how his hitters perform against the good pitching they should see over the next three games.
"That's the big question, whether we can produce runs against the top pitchers in our league," said Soule.
Staff Writer Tom Chard can be reached at 791-6419 or at: