BANGOR, Maine — Graduation mandates change for any sports team’s roster.
This year’s Bangor High School baseball team is no exception.
“About half the team graduated,” said senior pitcher-outfielder Nate Lewis, “but we’ve played with all the other guys on the team before and we know them well.”
That familiarity is one reason the returning Rams expect little change in the program’s status among the elite in Class A come June.
The last time Bangor graduated this many players was in 2005, when 11 Rams left the program.
The next year, Bangor won its most recent state championship, and the Rams are hopeful history will repeat itself this spring.
“Our goal every year is to be in the state championship game,” said Bangor coach Jeff Fahey, whose team opens its 2010 regular-season schedule Wednesday at 1 p.m. against Brewer at Mansfield Stadium.
“Other teams’ goals might not be as high and they might be more realistic, but every year we try to get back to the state game,” he added.
Bangor is basing its expectations not on a specific player, but a deep roster of players who already have experienced considerable success on the high school, American Legion, Senior League and Junior League levels.
We might have the most depth we’ve had in 10 years,” said Fahey, whose team finished 14-4 last spring after dropping a 4-3 decision to Messalonskee of Oakland in the Eastern Maine semifinals.
“We’ve got guys pushing each other for playing time, which is always good.”
That depth is perhaps best exemplified on the mound, where six different pitchers — including three lefthanders — figure to see significant duty.
Senior righthander Kyle Savage (4-2 last spring) returns as the most experienced starter.
“Kyle is a third-year varsity player, and he pitched in some big games for us last year,” said Fahey.
Senior lefthander Nate Lewis also is back after working mostly in relief last spring, while junior lefthander Joe Stanevicz, junior righthanders John Kelley and Jesse Wood and sophomore lefthander Curtis Worcester also figure prominently in Bangor’s pitching plans.
“We have lots of depth, more than we did last year,” said Savage. “We have a lot of kids who can throw strikes.”
Junior Dylan Morris — whose dad, longtime Brewer head coach Dave Morris, has joined Fahey’s staff this year — returns at catcher, with classmate Jacques Larochelle also working behind the plate and at first base.
Senior Cody McInnis, a first-team All-Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference choice in 2009, is a defensive standout who anchors the infield at shortstop. Adam King and Devin Lyshon can play third base and Jack Stacey or Luke Hetterman will play second.
The outfield features first-team All-KVAC honoree Lewis in right and second-team all-league choices Lonnie Hackett in center and Savage in left.
The speedy Hackett, a senior, also figures to be one of Bangor’s offensive catalysts at the top of the batting order, along with McInnis.
“People are fighting for positions this year, and no position is safe,” said Savage. “We have a lot of depth on the team, and everybody can play.”