Edward Little High School’s Kade Masselli, left, looks to the umpire after diving into second base with the ball in time for the final out before Messalonskee High School’s Bjorn Brickett (3) can make it to the bag in the Class A North baseball semifinals earlier this month at Colby College in Waterville. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

The Edward Little baseball team is relishing its underdog role while also rejecting its low seed.

“We have this saying, ‘Why not us?’” senior Caleb Albert said. “Why not us? We don’t have any pressure on us because we’re an eight seed. People think we’re an eight seed, but I think we’re the best eight seed.”

Albert said that sentiment after the Red Eddies’ 10-6 Class A North final win over Bangor, which earned Edward Little its first state final appearance since 1992. The Eddies (12-7) will face A South champion South Portland (16-3) in the Class A title game on Tuesday at 3 p.m. at the University of Southern Maine in Gorham.

“I mean, it’s really a program win,” Edward Little coach Dave Jordan said after the Eddies earned his first regional title as a coach after coming close a few times during his stellar four-year run at Poland from 2005-08.

“And, you know, we’ve been knocking on the door for a number of years,” Jordan added. “A lot of credit goes to not just our players, but our coaches and our community for supporting us. And, yeah, they just get to the point where they really believe in themselves and they’re like, they wanted to win. They wanted to win this year. They wanted to not just for, you know, this team, but also for probably several teams that’ve got here and couldn’t quite get it done.”

The Red Eddies won their first regional championship in 31 years as a No. 8 seed — the final team to make the A North tournament.


“We are the eight seed; we knew we weren’t an eight seed,” Albert said. “We got a great team here, a lot of guys who are willing to win, a lot of guys who are willing to put a lot of mental — there’s a lot of mental discipline up here, and just productive plate appearances.”

Edward Little made a similar run last year when it reached the regional final as the seventh seed, but lost to Bangor 1-0. Low-seed postseason success has been a theme for the Red Eddies this decade. In 2021, as an eighth seed, they reached the A North semifinals before falling to, yep, Bangor.

“I wish we didn’t have to be a seven or eight seed, or, like, worry if we were even going to make playoffs,” Campbell Cassidy said. “But, I don’t know, we’re so connected as a group. We’ve been playing together for a while. I mean, I don’t know — playoffs, we just click, I guess.”


Coming off last year’s close regional final loss, Edward Little returned several key players, including three strong starting pitchers: Cassidy and fellow senior Brady Vincent, and junior Drew Smith, who has already committed to play at the University of Connecticut after his high school career. Middle infielders Kade Masselli (junior) and TJ Kramarz (sophomore) also were back, along with a handful of other players who saw action in 2022.

The Red Eddies had a difficult schedule, and after a season-opening win over Bangor, they lost their next three games. Their promising season suddenly stood at 1-3.


The Eddies split their next four games to move to 3-5 heading into a May 11 matchup with Mt. Blue. They won that game 1-0, scoring the only run in the bottom of the seventh when Smith tripled and then scored on Masselli’s squeeze bunt.

That victory kicked off a stretch of nine wins in 11 games leading into the state championship game.

“They’ve had laser focus, now, for several weeks,” Jordan said. “They really just love being together every day when they show up, whether it’s a game day or practice day, and they’ve just been putting in a tremendous effort on small details.”

Members of the Edward Little High School baseball team and former Red Eddies standout basketball player John Shea, far left, watch the Edward Little softball team’s game against Lewiston High School in Lewiston on May 15. The Edward Little baseball team beat Lewiston 13-3 earlier in the day. Shea now plays basketball for the University of Maine. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal

Going 6-2 over its final eight games earned Edward Little the eighth and final postseason spot in Class A North.

They were in, and they were confident they could win the region. Why not them?



Bangor, the defending regional champ, lost six of eight games midway through the regular season and finished as the seventh seed.

It’s easy to say that seeds don’t mean much. That the slate is clean when the playoffs start, everyone is 0-0. Every low seed says that, but the Rams and the Eddies had an important factor on their sides as they entered the postseason.

“You really can’t replace experience, and our guys just kind of kept pulling in the right direction all year long, even though we lost some games. And I think they,” Bangor coach David Morris said referring to Edward Little, “did the same thing.

“… When you get to the playoffs, records don’t really mean much. I think it’s, you know, are you really moving in that right direction? And I thought Edward Little was.”

The 2023 Red Eddies, thanks in part to their experience of the previous two years, were unfazed by their early three-game losing streak. And their two losses in the past 11 games, to Oxford Hills and Lewiston, were merely bumps in the road.

The Edward Little players kept working to play better and learning to play together. All they needed to do was win enough to get into the postseason.


“We’ve worked hard in practices to get to this point,” Vincent said. “We’ve practiced all the little stuff to make it work well for us. And we just executed it well.”

Having to face Brewer, one of the top teams in the state throughout the season, in the quarterfinals wasn’t as daunting to Edward Little as an 8-versus-1 seed matchup typically is. The Eddies trailed by one run heading into their final at-bats in the top of the seventh, then scored two runs to advance.

Then Vincent held Messalonskee scoreless until the seventh inning, by which point Edward Little already led by six runs and held on for a 6-3 win.

Edward Little’s Caleb Albert (6) celebrates with Eli St. Laurent (27) at home plate after they both scored on a double by Brady Vincent during the Class A North final Wednesday In Augusta. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

Even though Bangor was the seventh seed, the meeting with the Rams might have been the most intimidating to the Red Eddies. The past three seasons, their unlikely postseason runs were halted by the Rams, who entered Wednesday having won seven of the previous eight regional finals.

Edward Little’s first two batters of Wednesday’s game, Cassidy and Eli St. Laurent, got on base, and then Vincent hit a long single to advance both runners. But a miscommunication between Cassidy and Jordan resulted in Cassidy getting caught in a run down between home plate and third base, which led to St. Laurent getting stuck between second and third. Eventually, both runners were tagged out on the play.

Vincent later scored on a passed ball to give Edward Little a 1-0 lead, but it could have, and probably should have been more.


Botching those types of opportunities against a team accustomed to winning regional titles —even as a low seed — and that has been immune to the Eddies’ postseason magic, might have been devastating.

Edward Little, though, bounced back to score in each of the next four innings to take a 10-6 lead. That score held up as the Red Eddies held the Rams scoreless for the final three innings to win the regional title.


“We felt like we had the talent to compete, if we brought our A game,” Jordan said.

First, Edward Little needed to discover its A game — a combination of strong, productive and timely hitting, and consistent fielding.

The Red Eddies knew they had the pitching — their depth goes beyond Cassidy, Smith and Vincent — this season. They had good hitters, too, it just took time for the offense to get going.


“It was a little iffy at the start, but as the season’s progressed, we’ve gone through and we’ve worked on our plate appearances and our approaches at the plate,” Albert said.

Jordan said the players have embraced a team approach to offense, and that sometimes the most productive thing they can do at the plate is advance base runners. Hits are nice, but bunts and sacrifice flies also do the job.

“That’s what we keep talking about is just, you know, being productive at the plate, in terms of making sure that we’re doing something in the process of helping runners,” Jordan said.

The offense has taken off in the postseason. They scored 66 runs in 16 regular season games. In three playoff games, they’ve scored 20 runs. They plated five or more runs four times in the regular season, and they’ve done so twice in the postseason.

The Red Eddies also have learned to win close games. Of their 19 contests, 10 have been decided by two runs or less. They are 6-4 in those games. They lost the first three but have won six of the past seven.

“We were just learning how to finish games early on, and I think that it helped us be battle-tested for these games,” Jordan said, referring to the postseason.



All of that has led Edward Little farther than it has been in 31 years. Their next challenge is Class A South champion South Portland.

“They’ve worked really hard for this. So now they get a chance,” Jordan said. “The job isn’t done.”

The Red Eddies and Red Riots not only didn’t play each other this season, they also didn’t have any common opponents. Jordan said Edward Little has scrimmaged many teams from A South, and that will provide some familiarity.

“We just got to go in and put our best foot forward, and, you know, and play well and see what happens,” Jordan said. “That’s all we can ask for.”

The Red Eddies head into the Class A final confident they can win the school’s fourth state championship, and continuing to ask, “Why not us?”

“I think we got a good team here,” Albert said, “and I think we can get the job done.”

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