Oxford Hills left fielder Hunter LaBossiere tracks down a fly ball during the Vikings’ win over Mt. Ararat in the Class A North semifinals at Gouin Athletic Complex on Saturday. (Lee Horton/Sun Journal)

SOUTH PARIS — Hunter LaBossiere’s abilities don’t jump out the first time someone watches him on the diamond. 

Learning to appreciate the Oxford Hills’ senior leftfielder game takes some time, particularly to the casual baseball observer. But once LaBossiere’s contributions to the Vikings’ incredible 2018 season become apparent, even the casual observer’s appreciation for him never stops growing. 

“When you watch him, he doesn’t ‘wow’ you right off quick,” Oxford Hills coach Shane Slicer said. “The thing that impresses you over time is his baseball IQ and his instincts. He does everything right.”

LaBossiere’s key at-bat in Saturday’s Class A North semifinal win over Mt. Ararat is a bit of a microcosm of how his instincts and work ethic frequently pay dividends.

LaBossiere fouled off pitch after pitch from Mt. Ararat’s Hunter Lohr to stay alive after falling behind in the count, 1-and-2. After six in a row, he laced the seventh into left field for a single that sparked the Vikings’ critical four-run fourth inning in their 5-3 win.


The at-bat wasn’t just emblematic of LaBossiere’s unwillingness to give in, it symbolized what has propelled the Vikings to their first regional final in five years, where they will face No. 1 Bangor at 5 p.m. on Tuesday

Asked what separates this team from more recent editions, LaBossiere said, “All of the work that we’ve put in. This is definitely the hardest working team I’ve ever played for. All of us have our egos in check and we’re all ready to fight and ready to do anything that it takes to win.”

A three-year starter, he carried a .400 career average into this season, but LaBossiere had to fight through some uncharacteristic struggles at the plate early in the season.

“It’s been a couple of ups and downs and having to work on a lot of things. Definitely not a bad year, but also not the greatest year,” LaBossiere said.

A lingering shoulder injury from basketball season may have compromised his swing. Opposing pitchers also were a little more careful with the two-time KVAC all-star that they have been in year’s past. So LaBossiere adjusted and, as is expected of everyone in Slicer’s lineup, found ways to help the team that don’t show up or stand out in a box score.

“He worked awfully hard in the off-season and so even when he was struggling he still had productive at-bats,” Slicer said. “He’s a good situation guy. He knows exactly what’s needed and does it.”


LaBossiere started the season batting third in the lineup but moved up to the second spot despite his struggles because Slicer knew he could handle the situations that often come up in that spot. 

He’s now hitting fifth, protecting cleanup hitter Ashton Kennison and driving in runs.

LaBossiere has no preference where he hits but a veteran’s understanding of why it matters in the Vikings’ lineup.

“No matter where I am, I just like to do my job in situations, whether laying a bunt down as one of the top two hitters or driving in runs in the five hole,” he said.

Run prevention is a big part of the Vikings’ success, and LaBossiere done his fair share defensively, too. And with all of its acreage and the unpredictable conditions, like the strong winds that whipped through on Saturday, playing left field at Gouin Athletic Complex can be as challenging as any field in the state.

“The wind is odd because it shapes any way at any time,” LaBossiere said, “so you’ve got to be ready for it.”

“Hunter’s strength is getting a great jump,” Slicer said. “He’s not the fastest guy in the world but he’s always in the right place at the right time.”

Oxford Hills left fielder Hunter LaBossiere gets ready to throw after reeling in a fly ball during the Vikings’ win over Mt. Ararat in the Class A North semifinals at Gouin Athletic Complex on Saturday. (Lee Horton/Sun Journal)

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