This spring, with its warm temperatures and dry softball fields, has been a perfect time for local high school teams to get a jump on the rapidly approaching season and go to Florida?

That’s right. Four local schools — Bonny Eagle in Standish, Gorham, Falmouth and Noble in North Berwick — will spend much of April vacation in Orlando at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex at Disney World. Most schools are leaving late this week.

“Of all the years to pick to go, this would have been the last pick,” said Noble Coach Rick Melanson.

“The weather here has been so good.”

But these trips — spring training, if you will — aren’t cheap and have been booked well in advance. The teams raise the money on their own.

Bonny Eagle is going for the sixth time — the Scots go every other year — and this year’s players had to contribute $650 each to go.

The booster club picks up the rest of the cost.

“It’s still a pretty good deal,” said Jan Corliss of Bonny Eagle, who plans to retire from coaching at the end of this spring.

“There’s a lot of fund-raising involved, and that goes year-round. But that’s all part of the fun of going.”

Corliss said the boosters help pay the cost of transportation to Boston, the flight and the entry fee of $450. Players are given $25 a day for meals.

Why go? Two reasons: to practice and play, and to develop a team bond.

The Scots will play 10 games (three doubleheaders, a single game and a tripleheader), using all five of their allotted non-countable days; Noble will play four doubleheaders; Gorham will play a tripleheader, a single game and two doubleheaders; and Falmouth will play four doubleheaders.

In addition, there’s plenty of practice time.

“I don’t care if it’s 80 degrees up here,” said Gorham Coach Pete Walker. “We need to go to Florida. We need to play and practice.”

Falmouth Coach John Keyes said he will use the team’s time there to “finalize some of our positions. And it’s a great bonding trip for the kids.”

Corliss said that’s where the true value comes in.

“When you get away from here and you’re all together for a whole week, especially with teenage girls, a lot of times you can get into a better team mode than you could up here,” she said.

“You have to depend on each other. You’re staying in the same hotel. Can you get on each other’s nerves? Yeah. Can we deal with it? Yeah.

“We’ve got a lot of young kids on the team this year. This is the perfect time for us to go.”


Staff Writer Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or at:

[email protected]


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