BANGOR, Maine — While many Queen City folks may have grabbed Frisbees or bicycles when high temperatures hovered around 60 degrees much of last week, Sam Bedore and Jeri Cosgrove dug out their gloves, cleats, softballs, some bats and headed to the Bangor High field.
Who could blame them? It wasn’t too long ago when the Rams’ pitcher-catcher duo would need to break out their snow shovels just to toss the ball around a little bit.
“It’s exciting, because I remember a couple years ago we had snow over April vacation which was terrible,” Bedore said during a break in practice Monday afternoon.
Monday was the first day that high school softball and baseball pitchers and catchers could begin spring workouts, with teammates and their track and field, tennis and lacrosse counterparts joining them next week.
While the Rams were working out in Red Barry Gym on this chilly and raw Monday afternoon, all they could think about was their snow-free diamond just a long toss away.
“I feel like last year we had to wait until the middle of April before we could even think about going outside,” said Cosgrove.
Bedore said she, Cosgrove and a few other players did some light working out last week while fine-tuning some things for the upcoming season.
“We were just throwing around [and] we hit a little bit but not too much,” Bedore said, “and we did some ground balls and stuff.”
Bedore, who pitches weekly at Frozen Ropes in Portland, recently went on a spring training trip with her Frozen Ropes squad to Gainesville, Fla., where she toured the University of Florida softball team locker room, watched the Gators in action and even snapped a few pictures inside the university’s football stadium.
Expectations are high for coach Don Stanhope’s team this spring, as the Rams have been on the precipice of the program’s first regional championship the last two years, losing to Brewer in the final in 2008 and to Skowhegan in a semifinal last year.
Skowhegan won the regional crown last spring and Brewer took the state title two years ago. Bedore and Cosgrove, who were sophomores on the 2008 squad that fell in the regional game, feel it is their turn.
“That’s the expectation. We’ve got a bunch of girls who are just really quality players,” said Cosgrove, who also plays at Frozen Ropes.
Bangor graduated only two players.
“We’ve got to buckle down and do it this year,” Bedore said.
Bedore, one of the state’s top pitchers who signed a National Letter of Intent to play for the University of Rhode Island next year, says she’s feeling pretty good and has worked on her offspeed pitches since the pitching distance will be 43 feet this year as opposed to 40.
“I’ve just been trying to really get my [breaking] pitches down,” she said.
Bangor opens its season April 21 at home against Brewer, which is also expected to contend, along with Skowhegan and Cony.
Hoop tourney in Woodland
Woodland High School will be hosting a basketball tournament next month in honor of one of Washington County’s most well-known and respected coaches.
The first Rick Pullen Memorial Tournament, named after the former Woodland softball coach who died last summer, will be held April 10-11 at the Woodland High gym.
The tournament is open to all Amateur Athletic Union and high school teams, with no senior players allowed. There will be two divisions of girls and boys play, and officials are looking for four to six teams in each bracket.
Each team is guaranteed three games, with a $125 fee per squad. The tournament will feature high school board officials, while games will consist of two 15-minute halves. The championship games will include four, eight-minute periods.
Teams should register by April 4, and those interested in signing up or procuring more information should contact Ryan Lincoln at 427-6165.