When the Cape Elizabeth and Gorham High School baseball teams took the field Monday afternoon at Cape’s Holman Field, both coaches had some things they wanted to accomplish.

Scoring more runs than the opponent was pretty low on the list.

“We didn’t even have the scorebook out,” said Cape coach Chris Hayward after the matinee exhibition on the first day of April vacation at both schools. “We’re really just trying to get pitchers some work, get batters at-bats.”

“I’ve got my agenda, he’s got his,” said Gorham coach Rocky Myers. “We sort of let each other know what they are and we try not to step on each other’s toes.”

The Capers were in a bit on a unique position in that they’d already played their Western Maine Conference season opener, an 8-3 loss at Falmouth last Thursday. Game No. 2, however, is not until Friday when Cape hosts Freeport.

Hayward compared his team’s early-season situation to the Red Sox, who played a few exhibition games back in the states after opening the season in Japan.

“It’s a little bit different, kind of like the Red Sox this year,” Hayward said. “We have eight days in between games and I don’t want to just practice everyday.”

Across the diamond, the Gorham lineup was a lot different from the one that will take the field for Thursday’s season opener as the Rams are scheduled to host Windham at 1 p.m.

Namely, it lacked any seniors.

“My seniors had the day off,” Myers said. “A lot of them had to do college visitations. I always try to give them one day in vacation. This gives me an idea of the direction we’re headed for next year. These are all the juniors and sophomores that will make up next year’s team.”

Junior Mustafa Jamal, expected to be the No. 2 starter for the Rams behind senior Nate Sturgis, started the game and threw well. In all, the Rams used five pitchers. In the later innings, the Capers were able to get on base and score some runs with aggressive base running – something the younger Gorham hurlers were not accustomed to.

“They need a lot of work, but as a JV squad, they’ll be a competitive JV team,” Myers said.

Cape was able to avoid the mental mistakes that plagued the team early against Falmouth, while also doing a better job at the plate.

“We had a lot of quality at-bats today,” Hayward said. “That was the biggest thing.”

The Capers have depth on the mound with juniors Andrew Guay and Ryan Boyington as co-No. 1 starters, according to their coach. Hayward said there are several other pitchers who will see action during the year.

“Once we get into the regular season, we’re not going to run out of arms,” Hayward said.

The key, according to Hayward, will be scoring runs if his team is to challenge Greely and Falmouth in the conference.

Myers echoed similar sentiments. The Rams will rely on a veteran core of seven seniors. The coach said he’s relatively pleased with what he’s seen during the preseason pitching-wise and defensively.

“But if you don’t score runs, it doesn’t make any difference,” Myers said.

Myers said he expects Gorham to be in the middle of the pack in the always-competitive Southwestern Maine Activities Association standings, with defending state champion Deering and Thornton Academy the early favorites.

“It’s a tough league,” Myers said. “You’ve got to play every day. You can’t take days off. You can’t take plays off. We’ve done OK in the preseason, but scoring runs is going to be an issue.”


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