The Husson University Eagles will leave for a 14-game spring trip to Winter Haven, Fla., Saturday with an older, more experienced team under second-year coach Jason Harvey.
“We had a young group last year. But we’re a year older and we have more maturity and leadership this year,” said the 25-year-old Harvey. “Everyone gained experience last year.”
The Eagles return most of their position players led by shortstop Ethan Guerette, who was a first team All-North Atlantic Conference selection as a freshman last year, and second-team picks Tom Crews of Bangor and Dennis Graham.
Guerette, who formerly played for Oak Hill of Sabattus, hit .333 with three homers, 16 runs batted in and seven stolen bases; junior Graham, a designated hitter-first baseman. hit a team-leading .337 with three homers and 20 RBIs and sophomore center fielder Crews hit .286 with two homers, 16 RBIs and a team-high 14 stolen bases.
Crews headlines an all Bangor-area outfield with former Brewer High outfielder Jeff Miller (.271-0-14, nine steals) in right field and Crews’ former Bangor High teammate, Kyle Vanidestine in left. Vanidestine is a freshman.
Bucksport’s Chris Maguire (.261-2-19), a sophomore, will move from third to first; power-hitting Belfast senior Nick Arthers (.213-3-20) will handle the catching; Brewer junior Corey Cushing (.232-1-7) and Newburgh senior Billy Shannon (.167) will battle for the second base job and freshman Jake Arthers, Nick’s brother, will play third.
“Our offense has definitely gotten a lot better,” said Harvey. “We’ve got speed up and down the lineup. We’ll run more than we did last year.”
Freshman outfielder Matt Archetti, a transfer, and freshmen infielders Jason Smith of Milford and Cody Haverly-Johndro of Newport will also see some playing time.
Harvey said his pitching rotation is “probably our deepest spot.”
Portland sophomore lefty Ryan Arsenault (3-4, 3.63) will anchor the pitching staff after coming off an outstanding freshman campaign. Frankfort freshman Nate Adams, Dexter sophomore Dan Beatham, Bangor sophomore Kyle Leeman and Hampden senior Chris Pease round out the staff. Beatham, Leeman and Pease saw lim-ited duty last season.
The bullpen will consist of Hampden junior Chris Morris, Eastport sophomore Aaron Sullivan and Brewer sophomore righty Ben Davis, who didn’t play last year. Lefty Ryan Walker of Hollis, a sophomore, provides the Eagles with a lefty out of the bullpen.
The Eagles will have plenty of motivation this season after losing twice to Castleton State in the championship round of the NAC Tournament.
Castleton State (Vt.) and Husson were picked one-two in the league’s preseason coaches poll.
“That left a bitter taste in our mouths,” said Harvey. “We want to get back to that level.”