R.A. Weber’s Caiden Chase, left, looks at the catcher as he scores on a wild pitch during Monday’s Babe Ruth game against Lee’s Tires at Mt. Ararat Middle School in Topsham. Eli Canfield/The Times Record

TOPSHAM — In just under two weeks’ time, many athletes will be gearing up for the high school fall sports season with preseason set to begin on Aug. 16. Until then, there are baseball games to be played in the Brunswick-Ararat Babe Ruth summer league.

The Topsham-based league, which got going in the first week of July, is about halfway through its regular-season schedule. The six teams include the Brunswick and Ararat-based teams of Coastal Barge & Mooring, Dolley Law Firm, Lee’s Tires, and R.A. Weber. Bath and Boothbay each have a team as well. Players ages 13-15 are allowed to play, with some 16-year-olds (depending on birthdates) also being eligible to participate in the league.

“We’ve had an outstanding season,” said Charlie Culbertson, who coaches Coastal Mooring & Barge and helps coordinate the league alongside league president Scott Ford. “We have six competitive teams who have all played some tight games thus far.”

Each team plays about three games a week with games hosted at Mt. Ararat Middle School in Topsham and Edwards Field in Brunswick. The regular season is six weeks long, beginning the first week of July and going through mid-August.

And if a player has another commitment they have to attend?

“No worries. We try to make this as relaxed as we can,” said Culbertson. “Our philosophy is for these kids to have an avenue to play competitive baseball while having fun. There’s no penalty for missing a game or a practice, it’s incredibly laid back.”

R.A. Weber sits in the dugout before their Babe Ruth game on Monday against Lee’s Tires at Mt. Ararat Middle School in Topsham. Eli Canfield/The Times Record

Just a couple of years ago in 2019, the league had just under 35 players and could barely field three teams from the Brunswick and Ararat regions. Fast forward two years and the numbers in the Brunswick-Ararat region alone have crept up close to 50 players, allowing for an extra fourth team to be constructed.

With a shortened season with fewer players than ever last season — just four weeks long under strict COVID protocols — Culbertson says he’s “very encouraged” with the way this season has played out.

“It’s been tremendous. This is the type of season we truly needed to have,” said the Wiscasset native. “We’re up to six teams and did things a little differently this season. Everyone always doesn’t agree with change but we think that this was for the better.”

Among the differences are the inclusion of the teams from Bath and Boothbay into the league, as well as mixing up the players from Brunswick and the Ararat region. In years past, players from Brunswick would form their own teams with Ararat players doing the same. This year, those players are mixed into four different teams between the two regions.

Culbertson said he hopes this is the model the league sticks with going forward to help grow the league even more.

On Monday evening, the competitive yet relaxed atmosphere was on display again in a game between R.A. Weber and Lee’s Tires at Mt. Ararat Middle School in Topsham.

Lee’s Tires waits and watches before their Babe Ruth game on Monday at Mt. Ararat Middle School in Topsham. Eli Canfield/The Times Record

“This is the fun part about this league,” said R.A. Weber head coach Tony Creek. “It’s a blast, it’s great for the kids. This is what this league is all about.”

It’s clear the players are enjoying the league too.

“It’s been a lot of fun. It’s really preparing me for what to expect in high school,” said Nick Creek, 14, of Topsham. “It’s cool to play with guys from other towns and get to know them on and off the field.

Added Stan Spooner, 14, who is Creek’s teammate on R.A. Weber: “I wasn’t sure what to expect going into the season. It’s been great. It’s nice how laid back it is yet we can still be competitive on the field.”

As for a potential postseason at the end of the year, Culbertson was optimistic about some sort of tournament playing out.

“We’re still trying to plan that, but we’re hopeful we can get something going, probably at Boothbay,” said Culbertson. “It’ll be tricky with fall sports starting up around that time, but we’re definitely hoping to hold some sort of season-end tournament.”

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