The Western Maine Bandits. From left to right, back row: Victor Nickerson (Bethel), Tommy LaPointe (Bethel), Theo Belskis (Greenwood), Wyatt Nickerson (Bethel), Connor Deprey (Newry), Brayden Easterlin, Sawyer Coffin (Woodstock), BJ Otten (Bethel), and Walter Inman (Woodstock) Front row (left to right) Carter Inman (Woodstock), Brennan Walker (Bethel), Bear Otten (Bethel) and Bryson Walker (Bethel) Submitted photo

REGION — The Western Maine Bandits baseball season came to end Friday after they lost their second game of the playoff tournament, this time falling to Minot-Hebron. The team played a total of four games in the playoffs, beating Minot-Hebron and Buckfield and losing to Norway and Minot-Hebron.

After finishing the regular season with a record of 8-9, the Bandits traveled to Minot-Hebron for its first playoff game. Minot-Hebron boasted a regular record of 14-3 and was the only team the bandits did not beat at least once in the regular season. The bandits ended up defeating Minot-Hebron 5-3, playing exceptional baseball from start to finish. The next game was against Norway, where they played four and a half innings until inclement weather forced the game to be delayed until the following day. The team ultimately lost to Norway, 13-3.

Facing elimination, the team hosted Buckfield, looking to keep its playoff hopes alive. After being tied 3-3 for the first few innings, the bandits were able to tack on a pair of runs later in the contest to earn a 5-3 victory in six innings.

The Bandits playoff run ended in Mechanic Falls, where they lost to Minot-Hebron

Despite the Bandits season coming to an end, the team was fortunate enough to play baseball this year, given the circumstances.

The COVID-19 pandemic forced area towns to cancel their rec programs for the summer, meaning if there was going to be a baseball team, it would not have any affiliation with the town.

BJ Otten and Victor Nickerson, who coached the Bethel Braves team a year ago, compiled a roster of players from Bethel, Greenwood, Newry and Woodstock, and decided on the team name “Western Maine Bandits.”

The Bandits were part of the Andy Valley Cal Ripken League. The league consisted mostly of the same teams as a year ago, but all coaches had to get private insurance and pay their own league dues this season.

Bandit home games were at Dunham Field in Greenwood and each game drew a large crowd of spectators.

The team would like to thank the Town of Greenwood for the use of Dunham Field; the coaches, BJ Otten and Victor Nickerson for dedicating their time especially when COVID tried to take baseball from us; Waler Inman who volunteered as a third coach and kept our books; all our team parents and their families who watched, cheered, followed us and made donations to the team; a few local individuals (who were not direct family of the team) and local businesses who made special donations too–Jon McCrum of Sunday River Farms, The Good Food Store, Danny Long, Richard DiPlacido, Brad Wight for sharing the bottle bin at Savage Bros Country Store, Two Crazy Sisters bottle redemption for counting bottles and donating funds, Rick and TJ Savage for the portable toilet at the field;  and last but not least, Ruby Coolidge (great grandmother to Bryson and Brennan Walker) for giving each player and coach a trophy that reads ‘Masked Bandits COVID-19 2020’!! Those trophies were a complete surprise that touched all of our hearts and will be a cherished memory of this season.

Pictured here is one of the trophies each player and coach received. Submitted photo


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