Some Midcoast youth baseball and softball teams are gearing up for what they hope will be deep runs in state tournaments.

After the coronavirus pandemic cancelled youth sporting events last summer, teams are excited to once again compete in these events.

“We had a fun season, the district tournament was some great competition between every team,” said Jon Hiltz, who coaches the 12U Ararat team. “The state tournament will be fun, and it will be a good experience for our players in an environment like this one.”

The Ararat 12U baseball team poses for a picture after winning its district tournament. Photo provided by Jon Hiltz

The 12U Ararat squad will compete in the state tournament this weekend in Auburn. Ararat won District 4, which was comprised of Auburn, Bath, Brunswick, Lisbon and Midcoast (Boothbay, Richmond, Wsicasset).

Ararat defeated Auburn and Brunswick twice in the District 4 tournament to secure its spot in the eight-team state tournament. Andy Valley (Oxford Hills), Auburn, Ararat, Eastern Maine (Bangor), Messalonskee, Monmouth, Noble, and North Franklin (Rangeley) will participate.

The 10U Cal Ripken state tournament begins Friday in Sidney. Andy Valley, Ararat, Auburn, Farmington, Maranacook, Messalonskee, River Valley (Turner area), and Skowhegan will compete for the title.

The state tournament winners advance to the New England tournament. South Berwick will host the New England 12U tournament while the 10U tourney will be played in Fall River, Massachusetts. Both tournaments start July 16.

The 11U district tournaments are getting under way as well.

Bath, Brunswick, Ararat and Auburn will compete for the District 4 title this weekend in Boothbay. Opening round games were Thursday. Bath and Ararat will also compete in the 9U district tournament in Boothbay this weekend.

No district tournaments were held in softball. Instead, teams will prepare for the upcoming state tournament July 10 in South Paris.

Ararat 12U pitcher Colby MacFawn, right, talks with catcher Danny Millson during the District 4 title game. Photo provided by Sheena Blake

Mt. Ararat High School field hockey coach Krista Chase is coaching a 12U all-star softball team. She said the opportunity to extend a short regular season was appealing.

“The season was going to end so abruptly, we wanted these girls to have more opportunities to play,” said Chase. “We had little to no opportunities last season due to what was going on, we weren’t going to let that be the case again.”

The Brunswick-Topsham Babe Ruth softball league will also a 10U team to the state tournament, which also takes place in South Paris starting on July 10.

“It’s good to see that we have so many young athletes who want to continue playing beyond the season,” said Chase. “Our numbers were down overall, but the competition was not.”

The regular season consisted of just three teams, Brunswick, Ararat and Topsham. The Ararat team was comprised of players from Bowdoin and Bowdoinham, with one player from Harpswell and another from Bath. Despite the low turnout, Chase deemed the season a “success” with each team playing the other two three separate times. A round robin tournament wrapped up the regular season.

“It was fun, we did an in-house assessment throughout the season to get a competitive group together,” said Chase.

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