Every win this season is big for the Gray-New Gloucester Patriots baseball team, which is fighting for a playoff spot in the Class B South.

Thursday’s 10-0 win over Waynflete had a little extra meaning, though. It was coach Brad Smith’s 400th career victory.

Smith, whose coaching career started in Massachusetts in 1971 and included stops in Oklahoma as well as Hebron and Bridgton, said he was proud to celebrate the milestone with his players, but the focus is on the future.

“I couldn’t have done it with a better bunch of guys,” he said on Friday. “It’s a great bunch to share it with.”

“It’s one of those things … remember when you first turned 21 and all the hoopla with that and then you get there and you think, ‘OK, that’s it. What’s next?'” he added.

Though he started coaching 46 years ago, Smith, 68, estimated he’s coached 33 of those years. He started in Medway, Massachusetts, where his players included a player of the year who went on to play for the University of Maine, knuckleballer Tom Mahan, in the early 1980s.

Ten years later, Smith moved to Oklahoma City. At Heritage Hall High School, which is the alma mater of former New England Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker, he compiled one 20-win season in his five-year stint.

“It was very exciting. It was a great time, great people out there,” he said. “In fact, one of my former players was on a business trip to Poland and visited me recently.”

Smith, who has also coached football, moved back east in 1986 and took a break from coaching while working as an administrator at Elan School and as assistant principal at Leavitt and Cony high schools.

He returned to coaching at Hebron Academy, where he led the Lumberjacks to a New England Division II championship in 1991. From there, he went to Bridgton Academy, where he served as coach and athletic director for 19 years.

He retired from Bridgton Academy in 2010, then was named Gray-New Gloucester’s baseball coach in 2012. The Patriots have made the playoffs three times in his five years, reaching the regional quarterfinals in 2012 and 2015.

Thursday’s win improved the Patriots to 7-8 on the season. They currently hold the 12th and final playoff spot in the B South Heal point standings with one game left to play. They host Poland on Wednesday.

The Patriots have won three of their last four and five of their last seven to move into the tournament chase. They started the season with a 2-1 win over Wells, which is currently ranked second in B South, and have hung in against top-ranked opponents such as Falmouth, Greely and Yarmouth.

“I think without exception we’ve faced everyone’s ace, so it’s, ‘We’re close. We’re close,'” Smith said. “Our bugaboo has been lack of offensive production. Our kids are fighters. They try to find ways to win. Our defense has been pristine. Our pitching has been solid.”

Brad Smith’s 400-win baseball coaching journey, which started in 1971:

Medway High School, Medway, MA

Heritage Hall, Oklahoma City, OK

Hebron Academy, Hebron, ME

Bridgton Academy, Bridgton, ME

Gray-New Gloucester High School, Gray, ME


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