DOVER-FOXCROFT — Pretty much everything else has changed within the Foxcroft Academy baseball program this spring — except the winning.
Eleven seniors graduated from last year’s 15-1 team that was ranked No. 1 in Eastern Maine Class C until being upended by No. 8 Orono in a regional quarterfinal decided in 11 innings.
Those 11 seniors included seven starters, including players who accounted for 97 of the 104 innings pitched by the Ponies last spring.
Billy Kane then stepped down as the team’s head coach due to job considerations.
Yet a new-look Foxcroft team is off to a 4-0 start and is ranked No. 1 in Eastern C through the first one-quarter of its 2011 schedule after a 10-3 victory over Houlton on Wednesday that extended its two-year regular-season winning streak to 19 games.
That came in the aftermath of its come-from-behind 2-1 victory over Orono on Monday — the team’s first day on its home field.
“Being down 1-0 on a tough day with the wind blowing and playing in the cold, that was a real test to see how we would respond,” said first-year Foxcroft coach Mark Chevalier. “I was thrilled with how we responded.”
Chevalier, the Ponies’ junior varsity coach last spring, has inherited a youthful roster with just four seniors among the 26 players in the program, a contingent led by third baseman Kevin Leary, the team’s cleanup hitter.
But helping to compensate for any lack of a veteran presence is a talented sophomore class that makes up much of the starting lineup and pitching rotation. The Ponies’ baseball class of 2013 includes pitcher-shortstop Ryan Rebar, a starter at second base as a freshman; second baseman Caleb Richard, pitcher-outfielder Cameron Fadley, pitchers Jesse Provost — who pitched a one-hitter against Orono — and Kaleb Smith, and Forrest Law, the junior varsity catcher last spring who is playing several positions this year depending on who is pitching.
“We had a good JV team last year,” said Chevalier, “and some of them probably could have played varsity but we had so many seniors on the team.”
Junior catcher Cody Coiley, the team’s leading hitter through four games at .571, junior infielder-pitcher Shinsuke Mikame and senior outfielder Nick Strout also are playing key roles for Foxcroft, which is scheduled to return to action at home against Central of Corinth on Friday.
Chevalier, an English and filmmaking teacher at the school, is being assisted this spring by younger brother Jamie Chevalier, a former All-Little East infielder at Keene State University who in 2009 won a gold glove as the top-fielding second baseman in NCAA Division III.
State sailing finals looming
Teams from 17 schools from around New England will converge on Maine Maritime Academy in Castine May 14-15 for the 13th annual Downeast High School Sailing Invitational.
The largest regatta on the East Coast, this event will feature more than 100 young sailors and 20 boats competing fro 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day.
The event doubles as the State of Maine High School Sailing Championships, with Cheverus of Portland the 2011 winner among in-state schools.
Among Eastern Maine schools scheduled to participate in this year’s event are George Stevens Academy of Blue Hill, John Bapst of Bangor, Mount Desert Island, and a first-year team from Bucksport High School.