Local players to watch: Edward Little — Mike Hammond (Sr. P/SS), Lew Jensen (Jr. P/SS), Nate Pushard (Sr. P/3B); Lewiston — Eddie Emerson (Sr. P/1B/OF), Nick Perreault (Sr. OF), Matt Poulin (Sr. P/OF); Mt. Blue — Cam Abbott (Sr. 1B/P), Colton Lawrence (Jr. P/3B), Aew Pratt (Sr. C); Oxford Hills — Nick Attaliades-Ryan (Sr. 2B), Nick Bowie (Sr. OF), Dalton Rice (Sr. P/1B).

Favorites: For much of the season, the story of the KVAC was its parity. But Bangor spent the last three weeks of the season separating itself from the rest of a very deep league. Not coincidentally, Justin Courtney, who will be playing at the University of Maine next year, and fireballing sophomore southpaw Trevor DeLaite emerged as the top 1-2 punch in a conference loaded with strong pitching duos. The Rams (14-2) enter the tournament on a seven-game winning streak, including four shutouts in their last five.

Dark horses: Messalonkskee and Oxford Hills have reason to feel good about their chances going into the tournament, and not just because each beat Bangor during the regular season. The Eagles (11-5) struggled in the second half of the season, going 3-5. But they are the two-time defending champions and they went into both tournaments flying under the radar. If they play the strong, fundamental baseball that has been their trademark, they are a tough out. With Dalton Rice, Riley Chickering and Walt Feeney, Oxford Hills (11-5) has the pitching to match anyone. The question is whether the offense has finally found consistency (they scored 26 runs over their final three games). If we’ve learned anything from the regular season, it’s that a deep playoff run by any of the teams further down the bracket would not be shocking. Lewiston (8-8), which has wins over Messalonskee and Oxford Hills and a one-run loss to Bangor under its belt, is as good a candidate as any. Senior pitchers Eddie Emerson and Matt Poulin give the Blue Devils more than a fighting chance against anyone.

Prediction: Bangor

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