Ryan Bussiere batted ninth for St. Dominic Academy in its Class D South semifinal win over Greenville/Piscataquis on Saturday. He doesn’t feel like a prototypical No. 9 hitter, though.

“I really don’t; on this team, I really don’t,” Bussiere, a senior, said. “We are all hitters — there are no real numbers.”

The Saints (16-2) are loaded at the top, but they also have been getting contributions at the bottom of their lineup this spring.

That level of depth is a big part of why St. Dom’s has won two straight Class D baseball championships, and why the top-seeded Saints are one win away from reaching their third consecutive state final. They face second-seeded Richmond (15-1) in the D South final Tuesday at St. Joseph’s College in Standish.

“Anybody can turn it on at any time and come up with a clutch hit,” said starting catcher Ridge Dionne, who bats third in the lineup.

Bob Blackman, who has been the St. Dom’s head coach for the past 20 years, said the bottom four hitters have combined for 22 RBIs this season. It’s unusual for that part of the lineup to produce that much offense, but the Saints are unusually balanced.


“We are very solid from top-to-bottom,” Blackman said. “Someone in the middle of the lineup can have an off day and the bottom can pick them up. Even the top of the order can have an off day and you don’t worry about it.”

The four players who fill the bottom four slots in the lineup, for the most part, are Ben Dumais, Curtis Wheeler, Thomas Casserly and Bussiere.

They relish in turning innings over to the top of the lineup with runners on base.

“We know that we need to get runners in scoring position,” Wheeler said. “When runners are in scoring position, good things happen — that’s what we try to do.”

Wheeler said he wants to feel counted on if the top or the middle of the lineup has an off day.

“I do like the pressure; I like having the pressure and being able to come through during the big moments,” Wheeler said.


Casserly, Bussiere and Wheeler are all seniors and give the bottom of the lineup a veteran presence. They know what to do in different situations, such as hit-and-runs or when Blackman calls for a bunt to move the runners into scoring position.

“There’s a comfort level,” Blackman said. “We have had four years now with seven, eight, nine guys here that you are just so comfortable and they know what you expect. Sometimes, you have to get after them because they get a little complacent. Overall, they know what is expected.”

Bussiere said when the bottom third gets a hit, it pumps up the entire team.

“I think that really gets us going, it gets us going,” Bussiere said. “It makes us all rounded.”

Casserly knows they have protection behind them at the top, with Ashton Hammond and Timothee Ouellette in the No. 1 and No. 2 spots in the lineup.

“That’s usually nice, and someone like Big Tim comes up and hits you home,” Casserly said. “But, again, everybody on our team can put the ball in play — you just have to get on base.”


Getting on base consistently helped Dumais, a sophomore, move up the lineup throughout the season. He batted sixth on Saturday and said he’s confident at the plate for the first time in his high school career.

“I wasn’t confident earlier last year and now I am very confident,” Dumais said.

Dumais has continued to hit well and is batting over .300 this season. Blackman said that moving Dumais up in the order was an easy decision.

“It was,” Blackman said. “He provided it early on. Ben was that one guy that was uncomfortable last year. Right from the get-go (this year), he showed us he was comfortable. We went from batting him ninth, eighth, seventh, all the way up to where he’s now.”

Dumais drove in two runs in Saturday’s victory.

Blackman said the depth extends into the bench. Take sophomore Brady Blash, who has started some games this season and provided a single to drive home a run in St. Dom’s 12-2 win over Old Orchard Beach in late April.

“Brady is that No. 10 guy,” Blackman said. “So, if anyone is hurt or has to miss a game, Brady steps right in and doesn’t miss a beat.”

Casserly said there’s not a bad hitter on the team.

“We are just really a deep team,” Casserly said. “Throughout the whole lineup, anybody can put the ball in play. We are doing our job and the top is doing theirs — that’s about it.”

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