Monmouth Academy pitcher Sam Calder, middle, is lifted by his brother, Manny Calder, and mobbed by their teammates after pitching a complete-game shutout against Sacopee Valley in the Class C South regional championship earlier this month in Gorham. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

Monmouth Academy senior catcher Manny Calder doesn’t remember exactly what he said to starting pitcher and younger brother Sammy Calder after the Mustangs defeated Bucksport 3-0 to win the Class C state championship Tuesday.

Monmouth pitcher Sammy Calder, far right, jumps, and Manny Calder (15) runs to celebrate with teammates after the the final out in the Mustangs 3-0 win over Bucksport in the Class C baseball state championship Tuesday at the University of Southern Maine in Gorham. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

“I don’t even know — I was yelling in his face, telling him good job and high-fiving everybody,” Manny said. “I was just celebrating.”

Manny said being part of a state championship team was a goal for he and Sammy, a junior.

“It was super special, it’s one of those things we always thought about, and it’s always been one of our goals, along with all of our other teammates,” Manny said. ” … We have been playing our whole lives, and it was our end goal. It was awesome getting it done.”

The Calder brothers each had a moment early in the game that helped the Mustangs to their fourth state championship and the first one since 2001.

Sammy threw a 97-pitch, complete-game effort against the Bucks. He had six strikeouts, only allowed four hits, and had one walk.


However, it took a bit for Sammy to find a groove. While warming up before the game in the bullpen, he lost one of the game balls by throwing it in the bushes. He struggled with two of his pitches — the fastball and the changeup — but did have his curve ball.

Monmouth’s Sammy Calder pitches against Bucksport during the Class C baseball state championship Tuesday at the University of Southern Maine in Gorham. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

“He just went out and battled,” Monmouth coach Eric Palleschi said. “The curveball was working really well, and we threw in a changeup here and there to keep things honest. That’s the kind of game we are used to of getting out of Sam this season.”

Palleschi, who earned his 200th career victory Tuesday, called Sammy a gamer and said the ace had to grind to get through the opening inning, when he loaded the bases.

Sammy was concerned heading into the first inning because he didn’t have a good warmup.

“I was definitely worried it would go how exactly it did, but I was glad I was able to get out of it and do better throughout the game,” Sammy said.

A mound visit from Palleschi and Manny helped settle Sammy down. Palleschi let them know trading a run for an out was OK.


Sammy, though, got the final two outs of the first inning via strikeout, ending the inning without giving up a run.

“We met at the mound, and we figured it out,” Manny said. “We just said, let’s get a couple of ground balls, and we would be fine. He just ended up striking kids out.”

Manny didn’t say anything specific to Sammy.

“No, not really,” Sammy said. “Mostly, he will tell me I am fine. He knows, and I know what I have to do. It’s mostly, he will look at me, and we will make eye contact, and it’s like, let’s go.”

Palleschi said non-verbal cues are how Manny communicates, especially when he and Manny decide what pitches to throw.

“Manny is a really quiet kid, he doesn’t say much, but at the same time, his facial expressions say it all,” Palleschi said. “I call a lot of pitches — most of the pitches — Manny can call his own game, he understands the game, but he feels more comfortable. He will look over at me, and you will see him just smile when you call a pitch because he’s sitting there, ‘Yep, that’s exactly what I would do, too.’ He’s very business-like and very confident in what he does.”



Before Tuesday’s state championship game, Manny no hits in three playoff games. He made an impact in the title game by going 2 for 3, including a two-run base hit to right field in the third inning.

Manny wasn’t discouraged, though.

“I was still hitting the ball in the playoffs,” Manny said. “I was still hitting the ball hard, but it was at people. I was due for one. I was feeling confident up there and had a full count, and he was coming with something I could hit. So, I was ready.”

Sammy said his brother kept things simple to plate Kyle Palleschi and Matt Marquis for the insurance runs.

“It’s great, it was perfectly planned, a guy on third and second, and he’s finally due up,” Sammy said. “He had a nice piece to the right side; it was perfect.”


Palleschi said Manny was clutch throughout the season for Monmouth.

“We talked at the beginning of the year, and one of the things that was key for us being successful is how far our seniors took us,” Eric Palleschi said. “Manny is one who really stepped up at the end, both defensively and offensively. He hit the ball hard and played incredible defense. The other seniors did the same thing, and they all stepped up and took a lead role.”

Manny was one of seven Mustangs Tuesday who played in Monmouth’s 5-0 loss to Orono in the 2021 Class C state championship. The two players that didn’t play in 2021 were Brandon Smith and Lucas Harmon.

The Red Riots ran on Manny — who was in his first season as a varsity catcher — en route to the victory.

“Two years ago, I struggled a little bit,” Manny said. “Orono had a good team, too, and they had some fast kids who stole on me. That was my first year of high school baseball. I was a weaker catcher, but I have worked on it. Nobody tried to steal on me (in the Bucksport game).”

Palleschi said he also worked with Sammy on keeping an eye on runners at first base better so they didn’t get as good of a jump on Manny.

“We have been working so much more on pickoffs this year and holding runners,” Sammy said. “That was a big part, too, to help Manny throw runners out.”

Sammy said it didn’t hit him that Tuesday was the final high school game that he would play with his brother until the final out.

“It’s definitely going to be a big change,” Sammy said. “The chemistry is just unmatched because I have been pitching to him my whole life.”

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