BANGOR — Even though the current Maine District 3 champion Brewer/Orrington players had never played in a Senior League World Series — the only previous Brewer appearance came in 2007 — they certainly came into the tournament battle-tested under the spotlight.
Second baseman Kyle Alexander, right fielder Spencer Valley and catcher Ian Forrest have played in two state Class B championship high school hockey games for Brewer High School, winning in 2010 and losing last season.
And Alexander is one of five Brewer/Orrington players who also played in the State American Legion Baseball Tournament in Augusta along with Jeremy Bissell and Tony Bissell, Dylan Birmingham and Matt Morrow. Brewer went 3-2 and reached the semifinals.
Alexander said the feelings he gets playing in a state championship hockey game and in the Senior League World Series are different because the sports require a different mindset.
“In hockey, you need each other (more) on the ice. Everybody has to do their jobs,” said Alexander. “In baseball, if one guy isn’t doing his job, the rest of the team can pick him up.”
Alexander admitted he was more nervous before the Senior League World Series opener against Canadian champ Montreal than he was before the state hockey games.
“I didn’t know what to expect going into the game against Canada,” said Alexander.
Forrest said the pressure is different.
“Going into the state games, people expected us to win,” said Forrest. “No one expects us to win here, so we go out and do our best.”
Forrest said he can’t afford to be nervous at the Senior League World Series.
“I’m the catcher. I have to stay calm,” he explained.
Valley’s perspective boils down to his particular preference.
“I like hockey more,” said Valley.
The players agreed that participating in showcase games like the state hockey games and the well-attended “Fill the Alfond” hockey game against archrival Bangor at the University of Maine’s Alfond Arena has prepared them well for the Senior League World Series.
“Because we’ve played in big games before, we’re more used to it,” said Valley.
Forrest said they’ve learned “you can’t get caught up in what’s going on in the stands (attendance-wise). You’ve just got to go out and play your game.”
Brewer manager Roger White said every big-game experience is beneficial.
“It teaches them how to get mentally prepared (for a big game),” said White, whose team went 1-3 at the Senior League World Series.
Italy, Aruba WS veterans
The Senior League World Series teams from Latin American champion Aruba and Europe-Middle East-Africa titlist Italy are no strangers to each other.
Twelve of the Italian players and 10 of the players from Aruba played in the 2009 Junior League (ages 13-14) World Series in Taylor, Mich.
Aruba won the International pool but lost in the championship game to Scottsdale, Ariz., 9-1.
Italy beat the Canadian champ in pool play but didn’t qualify for the finals. Italy won a consolation game.
Tyler, Texas, the U.S. Southwest champ participating in the SLWS, won the U.S. pool in the Junior League World Series last season, but lost to Taiwan 9-1 in the title game.