BANGOR — Bangor High’s Taylor Lewis and Sadie Redman were thinking spring Monday while Maine’s winter was preparing to deliver snow to re-cover many athletic fields.
No white stuff was fluttering down on Bangor when the Rams’ senior softball players started their workouts early Monday afternoon, but all they could think about was their field enduring one last brush of winter.
“I’m just waiting for the grass to green up so we can get out there,” Redman said “Hopefully it won’t be like our sophomore year where we had to go and shovel off the field.”
Monday marked the first day high school baseball and softball pitchers and catchers could begin preseason workouts.
The rest of their teammates and counterparts in track and field, tennis and lacrosse will join them in another week, while the first countable games and matches are set for April 14.
Bangor’s field was clear of any precipitation as of 4 p.m. Monday, as the storm had not yet reached the Queen City, but the Rams’ 10 pitchers and catchers worked inside Red Barry Gymnasium on a cold, blustery afternoon.
A new set of challenges await coach Don Stanhope’s team this spring, as Bangor won the first Eastern Maine Class A championship in program history last spring before falling in the state final to South Portland.
Lewis, the Rams’ backup pitcher in 2010 who pitched in the KVAC championship game, certainly has some big shoes to fill in Miss Maine Softball winner and Gatorade Player of the Year Sam Bedore.
“I’m not too worried about it, I’m excited,” she said. “(Bedore) helped me a out a lot with pretty much everything, my pitches and just mentally being prepared for the game.”
Knowing she was going to be in a more vital role for Bangor this season, Lewis put in the necessary work in the offseason.
“I did a pitching clinic over at Fields for Kids with coach (Paul) Rodrigue all winter long,” she said. “I worked on a lot of my curve pitches (and) screwball.”
The Rams lost six starters to graduation, but Bangor will still feature some pop in its lineup.
“We definitely wanted to come back at it hard,” Redman said. “People are thinking a little iffy about us but we’re definitely going to come back.”
Class A is expected to be a more wide-open this spring, unlike last season when Bangor and Skowhegan combined 30-2 regular-season records and met in the Eastern Maine final, with each club’s regular-season loss coming to each other.
“It might be evened out a little more,” Redman said.
Redman, an outfielder, will be one of the Rams’ top hitters, along with third baseman Kim Jordan and outfielder/designated hitter Hannah Lust.
“Our lineup’s going to be great,” Redman said. “It’s going to be so hard to try to strike us out this year.”
Bangor opens its season at home against Lawrence of Fairfield on April 20.
MTCCA All-Star teams selected
The Maine Track and Cross Country Coaches Association recently announced its indoor track and field all-state team.
Several Eastern Maine athletes garnered both first-team and honorable recognition honors.
On the boys’ side, Old Town senior Jake Leithiser was the only local athlete to be named to the first team.
Leithiser had a banner senior season for the Coyotes, earning top performer honors in the Eastern Maine Indoor Track League championship meet while finishing first statewide in Class B in the high jump and second in the hurdles.
Earning honorable mentions were Hermon senior Nick Byers (distance events), Ellsworth freshman Dan Curts (distance) and Brewer senior Tristan Wortman (jumping events, pole vault).
For the girls, no EMITL athletes were named to the first team, but five were selected as honorable mentions.
Among them are Bangor sophomore Grace Maclean and Brewer sophomore Teal Jackson, who shared EMITL top performer honors.
Maclean helped lead Bangor to its second straight league championship in winning the 55 hurdles, long jump and high jump.
Jackson had an outstanding year in her first indoor campaign, sweeping all three sprinting events (55, 200, 400) in the EMITL championship and re-writing Brewer’s record books in the process.
Jackson broke the Witches’ school record in the 400 meters in running 59.49 seconds in Easterns.
The other EMITL athletes honored were Orono senior Shelby Wheeler (pole vault), Ellsworth freshman Aleta Looker (distance) and John Bapst senior Jen Daley (high jump)..