Looking for a Mountain Valley Conference championship preview, or perhaps even a Western Class C finals preview? Dirigo and St. Dom’s could provide both on Memorial Day.
Dirigo sits atop the Western C Heal Point standings, followed by Livermore Falls and St. Dom’s, about .7 of a point out of second. But regardless of how Monday’s game turns out, both teams will be among the hottest heading into the tournament.
Other than Livermore Falls and Mountain Valley, no one has scored on the Cougars since May 3. Livermore Falls broke a streak of five straight shutouts by Dirigo pitching on Wednesday, but the Cougar offense came up big in a 7-4 win.
Scoring had been the Cougars’ weakness the last couple of years, but they are wearing out the basepaths now. Heading into Friday’s game with Mountain Valley, they were averaging 10.2 runs per game and hitting .348 as a team thanks to a more disciplined approach at the plate.
“We’ve really stressed the mechanics of hitting,” Dirigo coach Dave Lafleur said. “We’ve talked about letting the ball get a little bit deeper, trying to stay away from balls that are over your shoulder. We want to make them throw strikes and hit the ball hard wherever it happens to go over the plate.”
Second baseman Tyler Gates leads the team with a .468 batting average, as well as hits, while third baseman Tyler Chiasson isn’t far behing with a .438 average and leads the team in RBIs. Spencer Ross has set the table for both of them out of the leadoff spot. Arik Fenstermacher has had an all-around outstanding season, batting .442 and posting a 4-0 record and 0.29 ERA on the mound, and Eric Bolduc has provided versatility at catcher, shortstop and pitcher.
After losing two of their first three games, the Saints have won 11 straight. Virtually all of the victories have either been via the 10-run mercy rule or by two runs or less.
Saints pitchers have tossed five shutouts during the streak. Chris Bryant continues to live up to his ace billing with a 5-0 record and Alex Parker has been solid in limited duty. The surprise has been freshman Jimmy Theriault, who is 4-0 after combining with Kurt Johnson with on a no-hitter against Winthrop on Monday. It was the second time Theriault, who is from Winthrop, has beaten his old teammates this season.
Monday’s Dirigo/St. Dom’s tilt isn’t the only big matchup in next week’s abbreviated schedule. Edward Little travels to Hampden Academy Monday in a game that could determine who holds the eighth and final Eastern Class A playoff spot. Both teams will also be keeing a close eye on the Brewer/Mt. Ararat. If Mt. Ararat wins, they could leapfrog the Red Eddies for No. 8 regardless of what they do in Hampden.
Lewiston hosts unbeaten Bangor on Monday. If the Blue Devils can swing the upset, they could earn a home game in the Eastern A playoffs. Oak Hill hosts Maranacook on Tuesday. The Raiders drubbed the Black Bears, 13-3, on May 19 in Readfield. After a week off, Gray-New Gloucester travels to York next Wednesday. Maranacook and York are currently on the outside looking in and would need wins to have a shot at reaching the playoffs. They could potentially knock Mountain Valley out of the ninth and final playoff spot. The Falcons wrapped up their season with a 12-0