As we begin to wind down the 2013-14 school year with commencement season and the excitement that goes with it, here are a few thoughts mulling about the press box:
Many area baseball and softball teams spent much of this spring, I guess you could call it spring, huddled up in shivering cold, dreary conditions. Fans would be cuddled up with blankets in the stands many days trying to stay warm and dry. As the mercury has soared into the 80’s the past few days, it seems odd for such prime bat and ball playing weather to be wasted by waiting.
Many teams were finished with their regular seasons by June 2nd only to have to wait ten days or longer to play their next countable game, when the stakes are at their highest. A team that plays in the state championship game may play only four countable games over a three week span. Not only are the baseball play-offs drawn out but the state finals are not until June 21st this year, cutting into American Legion play and other summer offerings.
By contract, American Legion teams in Zone 1 (which encompasses the northern and eastern Maine regions) will play eighteen games over a four-week period with play-offs starting the day after the regular season concludes. In this day of computer technology with Heal Points updated daily on the MPA website, there is no reason for such a lengthy lay-off for teams. Maine weather is fickle for much of the year, it’s time to begin the play-offs sooner.
Speaking of baseball, Little League Baseball’s tournament season will be in full swing come the end of June. Many in the 11 and 12 year-old division will begin in earnest the trek to Williamsport, Pennsylvania. In August Bangor will once again host the Senior League World Series for players 15 and 16 years-old. If you’ve never been to the Senior League World Series at Mansfield Stadium, come check it out. The event transcends baseball, it is truly a melting pot of cultures taking place for one week in Bangor.
Many volunteers devote an incredible amount of time to make sure these games go off without a hitch. From league administrators, to coaches, and umpires, many give selflessly to help foster great opportunities for our youth.
Spring and summer is baseball season, yet for many of these “boys of summer” their seasons will end prior to setting off the 4th of July fireworks. Either a player will not make a tournament team, or a team will be eliminated early in the double-elimination tournament, or as we like to say at Mansfield Stadium, two and barbeque. It’s ironic that soccer or basketball can offer more playing opportunities in the summer for many than baseball does.
I was disappointed to hear of the decision out of Camden Hills High School not to renew the contract of girls varsity basketball coach, Marty Messer. According to a column written by Larry Mahoney of The Bangor Daily News, Messer compiled a 48-28 record at Camden Hills. This past season the Windjammers went into post-season play with a very youthful contingent as the eighth seed before losing a home preliminary round contest to Gardiner.
Two years ago Camden Hills advanced to the semi-finals before falling to Nokomis. I guess I’m perplexed to which other direction athletic administrator Steve Alex wants the program to go. CH should have a very successful campaign under new coach Meg Cressler, who was a standout player on an Eastern Maine championship team at Camden Hills. Something indeed smells fishy by the seashore in Rockport.