Oak Hill’s Ethan Vattaso follows through on a pitch during a game earlier this month against Madison in Wales. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

The up-and-down world of high school baseball being played in the Mountain Valley Conference keeps coaches looking over their shoulders. 

Oak Hill keeps rolling along, having won 11 of its past 12 games, with 12-2 record after Wednesday’s 3-0 win over Lisbon. Monmouth Academy (12-1) is no slouch, either. The Mustangs’ only loss came against the Raiders on April 27. Mt. Abram (10-3) continues to be heard from and the Roadrunners are just one of two teams to beat Oak Hill. 

Lisbon (9-4) struggled out of the gate before the Greyhounds got their act together and won seven in a row prior to Wednesday’s matchup with Oak Hill. 

Winthrop (9-5) also stunned the Raiders but suffered recent losses to Telstar (1-11) and Hall-Dale (5-9). Dirigo (8-4) also has proven to be a force in the conference.  

Oak Hill coach Chad Stowell is impressed with the high level of competitive teams in the MVC. 

“You look at the standings, and there is a good group of teams that are up near the top, but at the same time, there are some teams in the middle and the bottom that are playing some of these good high-ranked teams pretty well and knocking them off every once and while,” Stowell said. “You know the whole league is pretty competitive.” 


Stowell said the two teams in the south are also enjoying a prosperous season. 

The regular season is winding down, and soon the Mountain Valley Conference’s finest will have to deal not only each other but also southern teams like undefeated Sacopee Valley (12-0) and NYA/Wayneflete (13-1) in the Class C South playoffs. 

“Both (teams) are having double-digit wins (and) look like they are finishing strong,” Stowell said. “They know they play each other at the end of the season. That should be a heckuva ball game. They are both going to be tough.”

Monmouth coach Eric Palleschi said Sacopee Valley and NYA/Wayneflete serve as a reminder that there are plenty of good teams from the south. 

“It going to be interesting mixing them in with MVC teams come playoff time,” he said. 

Stowell said Oak Hill’s genuine camaraderie and their knowledge of baseball continues to impress him. 


“This team is an extremely experienced team,” he said. “A strong corps of juniors and seniors have been playing varsity baseball for a while now. They also play a lot of baseball. 

“This by far the most experienced group, not because of just what they have done in high school, that I’ve coached, but also their work in the offseason. We have a lot of guys in this program that play summer baseball, do travel baseball and even play in a fall league. So it kind of gives us the opportunity to hit the ground running and it has made life a little bit easier for me.” 

The high baseball IQ allows Stowell to use a more advanced approach in practice.  

“Obviously, the dividends are paying off in the field,” Stowell, who also is the school’s football coach, said. “… this is probably the closest group of kids that I’ve ever coached in any of the sports that I’ve been privileged to coach at Oak Hill. They genuinely enjoy being around each other.”

He is particularly proud of how the team’s upperclassmen continue to welcome new members to the program. He also has seen an indomitable trust grow between the players. 

“You know a team like this kind takes care of themselves,” he said. “I really don’t have to say a lot sometimes because they have been around each other.” 


Palleschi said he isn’t surprised that that so many MVC teams are getting into the act this season. 

“Seems to me everybody’s got that one or, like, two — especially the one pitcher — that can go up there and beat anybody, which makes (the league) wacky, as you say,” Palleschi said.  

Monmouth’s Kyle Palleschi pitches during against Mt. Abram during a baseball game earlier this month in Monmouth. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

He points to the Mustangs’ experience as a reason for their successful season so far. A handful of the players were part of the 2021 squad that reached the Class C state final.

“These guys have played together now for what seems like forever,” Palleschi said. “We’ve got five or six seniors (who have) really done a good job leading.” 

A perfect example of how an MVC team can turn around a season is Lisbon. 

“We were, after five games, 2-3,” Lisbon coach Randy Ridley said. “We’ve won seven in a row and today we lost to Oak Hill, 3-0. We originally lost 11-1 in six innings to (the Raiders on May 9).”


There is a simple explanation for the Greyhounds’ newfound prosperity. 

“The biggest thing,” Ridley added, “is we are playing better defense and we are getting good, quality pitching. We get some timely hitting on occasion. Hitting has not been consistent enough, yet.” 

The Greyhounds’ pitching gives them an advantage.

Lisbon High School pitcher Cody Osmond throws a pitch last week against Dirigo High School in Dixfield. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal

“There are very few teams in our conference that have pitching depth,” he said. “All the teams have one pitcher they can go out and feel real comfortable. I actually have three that I feel very comfortable with. Overall, I don’t think the pitching depth is as solid as it used to be because a lot of teams have a lot of turnover. 

“But it is one of those leagues that on any given day somebody can beat you because all those other teams have improved immensely over the course of the season. If there is one thing about our conference, we are always going to see good baseball.” 

Mt. Abram coach Jeff Pillsbury said there are several top-tier teams in the MVC, but even for those teams nothing is guaranteed.


“I think there are some top teams on most nights, but they are not so good that if they don’t play well, they can be beat,” Pillsbury said.  

The Mt. Abram coach considers himself lucky to oversee a bunch of athletes who play different sports.

Mt. Abram Regional High School shortstop Kaden Pillsbury throws to first base against Winthrop High School last week in Winthrop. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal

“I’ve got soccer players and some basketball players and baseball players,” he said. “I think they enjoy competing and there is pretty good chemistry. I got some kids who can play multiple positions.

“I don’t know if I have rock star pitcher, but I have four kids on any given night who can give me a chance to win, so that helps.” 


Edward Little baseball coach Dave Jordan doesn’t have to be reminded that Heal points are fast becoming scarce as the regular season winds down.


After starting the spring 3-5, the Red Eddies (8-6) have won five of their past six games. That includes a win over Messalonskee (9-4 and ranked No. 3 in the Class A North Heals) and two over Mt. Blue(7-7, No. 7).

“I think we have been working at getting better at all phases of our game,” Jordan said. “I think the guys have kind of turned the corner in terms of getting more comfortable and confident in what they are doing. We’ve had some nice wins of recent especially against good teams.”

Edward Little High School second baseman Brennan Anthoine hustles to snag a hard-hit ball during a game against Lewiston High School last week in Lewiston. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal

Edward Little is currently ranked eighth in A North, from which eight teams will advance to the postseason. The final two games — at Mt. Ararat (6-6) and home against Lewiston (2-12) — will be crucial to collecting enough points to reach the postseason, especially as the Red Eddies try to hold of last year’s region champ, Bangor (6-7) for the final spot in the playoffs.

“We are getting close to the playoffs and we know that Heal points are premium and teams are really going at it — you know the old cliché, one game at a time — kind of putting everything on the table to give it our best effort,” Jordan said. “There are some good teams, including ourselves, who are battling for these last few games of the season to solidify that playoff spot. If we get in, we are a tough team to play.”

Last year, the Red Eddies were the seventh seed in the A North playoffs but made a run to the regional final.

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