LEWISTON — Temperatures in Maine don’t usually reach 90-plus degrees in mid-June. But that’s what a heatwave is bringing to the state this week.

That complicated the high school all-star games scheduled for this week.

“So I had work today, and I worked outside, so I drank a lot of water,” Brady Brunelle, a recent Messalonskee High School graduate, said. “It was required for us, actually, so I probably drank 11 water bottles and then I had a Pedialyte before the game.”

Brunelle is committed to play for the University of New England men’s lacrosse team this fall. On Wednesday evening, he scored a game-high four goals in the 2024 Maine Lacrosse All-Star Showcase at Lewiston High School, leading Team Pine Tree to a 17-14 victory over Team Dirigo.

“It just felt super fun,” Brunelle said. “Fighting the humidity is tough, but other than that, it was just super fun to play with the guys. I play travel with and against guys like that, so it’s super fun to play for an organization like this.”

The annual All-Star Showcase was originally slated to start at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, but on Tuesday that was pushed back to an hour due to the excessive heat warning.


At 6 p.m. Wednesday, the new start time for the senior showcase game, thunder and lightning added another 40-minute delay for the eager group of seniors looking to showcase their skill in front of a slew of college coaches. An underclassmen game was slated to start at 8 p.m.

“I look at the National Weather Service Heat Index (graphic), and I look at ‘Caution, Extreme Caution, Danger and Extreme Danger (categories),’” Falmouth athletic trainer Rob Sullivan said. “For extreme caution, we take into consideration the fact that we need to adjust play and also account for water breaks.”

The Maine high school baseball all-star game also was scheduled for Wednesday at St. Joseph’s College. The softball all-star games were played Tuesday in similar temperatures.

Sullivan said that, according to the National Weather Service, once the temperature drops to below 80 degrees, the heat index drops off to a level that is safe for play.

“We utilize this (guidance), watch the time, watch the temperature, watch the humidity and try to play well,” Sullivan said. “That’s why I pushed the games back — it’s just got to be safe.”

Sullivan also mandated extra water breaks during each quarter, which were necessary throughout the 85-degree senior showcase game on the turf field. He added that there is additional concern for heat safety because boys lacrosse players wear pads and helmets, but he said he was confident that the players were acclimated to the summer temperatures.


Joe Hezlep, program director of the showcase, said the organizers knew Wednesday would be hot, but they did not expect the temperatures to soar as high as they did. He said once he saw the day’s forecast, he spoke with Sullivan the night before to make adjustments for heat.

“First thing was we got an email out immediately to the players, reminding them to hydrate, as hydrating ahead of time was most important,” Hezlep said. “Second was we got in touch with Lewiston, since we rent the fields, we have to check in with them to make sure we can move the game times back.”

Hezlep added that pre-game warmups were shortened to 10 minutes. In the 11 years Hezlep has run the showcase, he said this year is by far the hottest temperature-wise.

“With this many kids involved, it’s really difficult,” Hezlep said about four rosters with 25 players each. “It’s very early in summer, (players) have so many plans. They have to make so many changes and have so many commitments to make sure they can be here, that we will do what we can to make sure the game is played today.”

Hezlep said that there at least seven college scouts were at Wednesday’s game. There were 10 at Monday’s underclassmen game tryout. Hezlep also sends highlight footage out to Maine college coaches, in an effort grow the collegiate game for the state’s players.

It’s also important, he said, to play the All-Star Showcase games in June, because of all the other time commitments and summer plans athletes have.


“In Maine, it’s really tough because the summer is so short that a lot of kids aren’t willing to commit to playing travel lacrosse,” Hezlep said about the importance of keeping the All-Star game in late June. “So, kids don’t get to go ahead and showcase their talents on a travel team.”

Wednesday’s heat didn’t prevent highlights.

Senior goalie Matt Shayne of Hampden Academy spent the majority of the senior showcase game between the pipes, but after one third-quarter save he ran the ball down the entire field and scored a goal.

Then he celebrated by ripping his helmet off and executing a backflip.

“I took the ball up (after a save) and they’re like, ‘Why didn’t you go for it?’ So I was like, ‘All right, next time I get the ball, I’ll run,” Shayne said. “I just went for it, and they said they were disappointed in the cellys so far, so I picked out a celly and I was ready.”

Shayne added that suiting up in full goalie gear was “hot and sticky,” Wednesday night, but he forgot about the discomfort and locked into the game once the first whistle blew.

“Especially coming from Hampden Academy, we’re a second-year varsity program, and being able to send two players to this game and one to the underclassmen game was really awesome for our program,” Shayne said.

Two $500 scholarships were awarded, to Mt. Blue seniors Chase Ranger and Finley Ward, in memory of Steele Crawford. Crawford died in 2019 from a rope swing accident, and was an avid lacrosse player from Freeport High School who played in the all-star showcase while in high school.

Deering’s Andrew Burke was named MVP of the senior showcase game.

Join the Conversation

Please sign into your Sun Journal account to participate in conversations below. If you do not have an account, you can register or subscribe. Questions? Please see our FAQs.