Statistics and baseball go together like hamburgers and ketchup.

One such number has a bitter taste for Poland in the WMC and Class B West preseason.

“We will have six seniors who had a combined seven games played on varsity last year,” Poland coach Mike Connor said.

Alex Biron accounted for five of those contests before missing the remainder of the season with an elbow injury. Juniors Isaiah Dubois and Pat Kuklinski have minimal varsity experience, and senior Ethan Cailler missed all of last season with a bum knee.

Subtract those semi-familiar faces and the Knights bear zero resemblance to the squad that took the region by storm in 2014, leading the Heal Point standings for much of the season before falling to eventual state champion Greely in the semifinals.

“As usual, everything goes through Greely,” Connor said. “York will be very strong. Wells will make some noise.”

Gray-New Gloucester (WMC) and Oak Hill (MVC) could emerge as the top local threats in Class B West.

Seniors Tyler St. Pierre, Evan Harmer and J.T. Magno all can throw for the Patriots. The outfield of Thomas Wood, Evan Plummer and Tanner Mann returns intact.

Coach Brad Smith enters his 41st season as a varsity baseball coach, four with Gray-NG.

“I don’t see the Patriots as favorites in many ball games,” Smith said. “However, we seem to play at our best when we’re underdogs.”

Oak Hill picked up a quarterfinal road win at York before its season ended at Lincoln.

The Raiders face a fairly challenging schedule in the Class C-dominated MVC and are tough up the middle with pitchers Matt Arnold and Jonah Martin, catcher Jacob Bannister, shortstop Dalton Therrien and Martin in center field.

“We have a solid core of talent with Bannister, Therrien and Martin, and an entirely new pitching rotation, having graduated three pitchers,” Oak Hill coach Matt Bray said. “Coming off a deep run in the Class B playoffs, we hope to reach the playoffs again and be one of the top teams in the conference.”

Spruce Mountain is an even younger team than last season, which Brian Dube called the least experienced squad in his many years as a coach. The Phoenix also will be tested by a move from the MVC to the KVAC, playing almost exclusively Class B opponents.

“I’ve told all our pitchers if you can throw strikes and get people out, we’ll keep sending you out there,” Dube said. “There is a lot of talent in our sophomore and freshman classes. This junior and senior class just didn’t have many baseball players.”

Spruce does gain two solid senior athletes with Matt Vigue and Anthony York joining the team. First baseman Brandon Hodges, catcher Ian O’Donnell, third baseman Sebastian Lombardi and outfielder Noah Preble are coming off outstanding seasons.

KVAC rival Leavitt is younger still, with only one senior, although it’s an important one in pitcher Mitch Davis.

Juniors Julian Kirouac and Chad Morin both threw innings a year ago, and Zac Dymond, Kevin Knight and Nate Ouellette all saw significant playing time.

“We are on a very steep learning curve this spring,” Leavitt coach Chris Cifelli said. “Half of our team has never played varsity baseball and will be expected to make contributions immediately.”


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