The Gray-New Gloucester/Raymond Little League baseball team will represent Maine at the New England Regional starting Saturday. Travis Lazarczyk photo

NEW GLOUCESTER — Before a practice this week, the Gray-New Gloucester/Raymond Little League All-Stars listened attentively as Sean Murphy spoke. Their health teacher at Gray-New Gloucester Middle School, Murphy had insight and advice on their upcoming games that few could provide.

A member of the 2005 Westbrook Little League team that advanced to the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, Murphy told the players to enjoy their experience at the New England tournament in Bristol, Connecticut.

“You’re going to prove you belong there,” said Murphy, now 30. “It’s like baseball summer camp. That’s how I describe it to people … It’s an awesome experience. Good luck to you, and enjoy it.”

Gray-New Gloucester/Raymond opens play at the New England tournament against Salem, New Hampshire, at 1 p.m. Saturday. The game will be broadcast on ESPN+.

The New England tournament now consists of teams from four states – Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and Massachusetts. Connecticut and Rhode Island are in the Metro Region with New York and New Jersey, also held in Bristol. The winner of each regional advances to the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, which begins Aug. 16.

“We fought our way here. Gray-New Gloucester’s never even made it out of districts (prior to this season),” said third baseman Caleb Barker, 12, of Gray. “Expectations are pretty high. We’ve been playing very good baseball for the past three weeks. Pitching’s going to have to do good. We’re still going to have to hit.”


Gray-New Gloucester/Raymond defeated Augusta, 12-0, in the state championship game Sunday, capping a dominant run through the state tournament in which the team went 4-0 while outscoring opponents 38-5, with three shutouts. This came after an undefeated run through the District 6 tournament, the largest district in the state, that included a pair of close wins over a strong Bonny Eagle team, 3-1 and 1-0.

Gray-New Gloucester/Raymond Coach Brad Shelley has coached the bulk of the team for eight years and could see the potential building for a few seasons.

“When we get out on the field, these boys, we just know they can get it done. We had confidence going into every game. If we played our baseball, the only team that could beat us is ourself,” Shelley said.

The team has relied on a combination of strong hitting and pitching. Kayden Oliver, 12, of Gray threw a no-hitter in the state championship game and also tossed a no-hitter in a win over Cumberland-North Yarmouth in the district tournament. Mason Amergian, 12, of Gray, and Gage Rioux, 12, of New Gloucester, are also top pitchers, with Rioux serving as the team’s closer. Barker and Amergian, who both homered in the state championship game, are among the team’s top hitters.

Amergian said the team hasn’t felt much in the way of nerves.

“Like Kayden Oliver says, it’s just a game,” he said. “We definitely hit the ball good, and we have great pitching.”


Rioux said the team is a close-knit group, and the majority have played baseball together since they were first starting the game at 5 or 6 years old.

“As soon as one person gets down, another person builds them back up,” Rioux said.

Murphy said that bond will remain with them the rest of their lives, no matter how they fare at the New England tournament.

“It’s the friendships. I just talked to guys I hadn’t talked to in 10, 12, 13 years, in a group text with eight out of the 11 (Westbrook players) who went,” Murphy said. “They all responded within 15 minutes with what to say to these guys.”

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.