Mountain Valley’s 14-2 win over Carrabec on Friday was the 300th victory of Steve LaPointe’s coaching career. Not many people, including the Mountain Valley players, knew about the milestone, which was just fine with LaPointe.
“It doesn’t feel any different,” LaPointe said with a laugh. “It’s more longevity than anything else.”
LaPointe is in his 30th year coaching, dating back to Rumford High School prior to the merger with Mexico that created Mountain Valley. He was inducted into the Maine Baseball Hall of Fame last year.
“It’s kind of cool. I’ve known a lot of great kids along the way,” he said. “It’s neat. I hope I’m around another 10 years anyway.”
He said he didn’t tell his team about the mark. Rather, he wants the Falcons to focus on the last week of the season. Going into Friday, the Falcons (7-4) were in eighth in the Western B Heal Point standings.
“Our thing right now is we’ve got to win one or two next week to make the playoffs,” he said. “We have a tough week ahead of us — Livermore Falls, Mt. Abram and Dirigo. If we have any chance of making it, we have to win at least one and maybe two.”
Rebels on the move
After experiencing some growing pains over the last season-and-a-half, Telstar is emerging as a team that should be a factor in the upcoming Western C tournament.
After finishing 5-9 last season with a freshman-laden lineup, the Rebels began this season with a 6-5 win over Dirigo. That was followed by some tough one-run defeats — 3-2 to Livermore Falls, 13-12 to Mountain Valley and 1-0 to Mt. Abram. They started to press and got blown out in rematches with Livermore and Dirigo, so Remington told his players to stop trying to do too much.
“In recent games, they’ve put a lot of pressure on themselves trying to do things they can’t do,” Remington said. “After a couple of bad games and a practice, we took the approach of just getting guys to play. Either we’re good enough or we’re not. We don’t need to make things harder, just play within ourselves, and I think they’ve relaxed and I think they’ve learned some valuable lessons.”
Remington was forced to throw a lot of freshmen into the varsity fire last year and the experience is paying off this year. Sophomores Kyle Peterson, Corey Howard and Dan Whitney make up the top three spots in the batting order and, along with fellow sophomore Devin Vail, the entire starting infield. Whitney, who was second-team all-MVC as a freshman, Peterson and another sophomore, Tyler Brown, have contributed on the mound behind No. 1 starter Ben Field.
The upperclassmen have been valuable, too. Senior Mike Fitzmorris and junior T.J. O’Connor, who converted to catcher this year, provide pop in the middle of the order, and junior Dan Vaughn has brought athleticism to center field.
Even with just one week to go, the Western C Heals race isn’t even close to being settled. The top four teams in the standings — Livermore Falls, St. Dom’s, Dirigo and Mt. Abram — will have a hand in each other’s fate. Not only do Livermore Falls, Dirigo and Mt. Abram, the top three teams in the MVC North, each have a chance to pick up points against Class B Mountain Valley, but Livermore Falls and Dirigo have a rematch in Livermore Falls on Wednesday. The Andies won the first meeting, 4-1, on May 12. The Andies’ third game is against rival Jay, while Dirigo takes on St. Dom’s in its season-finale. Mt. Abram and St. Dom’s don’t have as many points-rich games remaining on their respective schedules. The Roadrunners have Carrabec and Telstar as the other two opponents on the slate. The Saints have Winthrop, Georges Valley and Monmouth Academy.