BANGOR — The major boys sports teams at Bangor High School have been on a remarkable run.
During the last 11 months alone, the Rams’ varsity baseball, football, soccer and basketball teams have compiled a combined record of 65-4-1, with state championships in basketball and soccer, an additional Eastern Maine Class A title in football and an undefeated regular season in baseball.
And that doesn’t even count a trip to the state tournament by the Bangor American Legion baseball team last summer, and — most memorably — Bangor’s run to the Senior League World Series championship game in August.
But through all of those successes, at least one sore point lingers — Bangor’s 2-0 loss to Brewer in last spring’s Eastern A baseball semifinals.
It’s a defeat that has added to the motivation fueling this year’s team as the Rams began full-team preseason practices at Red Barry Gymnasium on Monday.
“Ever since the end of that game it’s been something we’ve been looking forward to, getting back out here,” said senior pitcher Joe Stanevicz. “We had such a good season last year, but to fall short like that was hard. But we’re back now, we’re excited, and we’re working hard.”
Bangor, 17-1 last spring, graduated its starting outfield of Kyle Savage, Lonnie Hackett and Nate Lewis, shortstop Cody McInnis and designated hitter Devin Lyshon, but a returning cast buoyed by its summer successes and championship runs in other sports has the Rams believing their first state title in baseball since 2006 is within reach.
“Definitely what happened last summer was a huge confidence boost for us,” said Bangor pitcher Curtis Worcester. “It let us know that we can play with pretty much anyone in the world, and it gives us the mentality that if we could do it during the summer, why not keep it going?”
Bangor’s roster includes three players — Seth Freudenberger, Luke Hetterman and Jacques Larochelle — who are seeking their third high school state championship of the school year after winning it all last fall in soccer and this winter in basketball.
“That’s pretty impressive,” said 11th-year Bangor baseball head coach Jeff Fahey. “A lot of guys would be proud just to be in three during their four-year career and these guys are trying to win three in one year, so that’s pretty neat.”
All three should be contributors to a Bangor club that will be led by Stanevicz, a lefthander who went 8-0 last spring with a 2.21 earned run average and 48 strikeouts in 44 1/3 innings pitched.
Worcester, another lefty, and righthander Jesse Wood also figure prominently in the Rams’ pitching plans, as does senior righthander Josiah Hartley, who’s playing high school baseball for the first time since his freshman year after playing a key role for Bangor’s SLWS entry last summer.
“We’ve got some young arms who got a lot of experience last summer between Legion and the World Series,” said Fahey. “We’ve got some veterans in Stanevicz and Worcester and Jesse Wood, and Josiah has come out, so we’ll see how he works into the mix.”
Bangor may not be as explosive offensively as it was last spring when it averaged more than nine runs per game, but catcher Dylan Morris (.475 batting average), middle infielder Jack Stacey (.341) and third baseman Adam King (.289) are among the top returning hitters in a lineup that figures to get boosts from Hartley and sophomore first baseman Anthony Capuano.
“With the World Series team and the Legion team playing the way they did last summer, and then going right into soccer and football and basketball this year, we’ve got a good tradition of winning,” said Fahey, whose team is scheduled to open preseason play April 9 with games against Cheverus of Portland and Cony of Augusta at Mansfield Stadium.
“I think we’ve got quality kids, a good feeder program and coaches dedicated to giving more time than just during the season. And the experience they had in Legion and the World Series last summer certainly can’t be a bad thing. This group of kids, they don’t quit, that’s the big thing.”