BANGOR, Maine — The American Legion Zone 1 baseball schedule could have a new look this summer.
Team officials from the zone voted their support for a schedule that would have the teams play single seven-inning games on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and then a single nine-inning game on Sunday this summer, according to Zone 1 commissioner Dave Paul.
That differs from the long-standing regular-season schedule in which Zone 1 teams played single seven-inning games on Tuesday and Thursday, a doubleheader of seven-inning games on Saturday and a single nine-inning game on Sunday.
The move stems in part from concerns related to pitching depth, given that under the old schedule teams would play four games in three days between Thursday and Sunday, with an additional strain on staffs because complete games were a rarity under the nine-inning format used for Sunday’s games.
“The majority of teams felt that pitching-wise to have to play a doubleheader on Saturday and then a nine-inning game on Sunday was just too much,” said Paul. “Then you look at the doubleheader day on Saturday, and the home team might have to be at the field by 9 a.m. and not leave until 6 or 7 at night. It’s a long day.”
Paul said he will take the proposed schedule to the state American Legion baseball meeting on April 15 to gain final approval.
“It’s something where we wanted to take a look at a different schedule and see how it works,” Paul said, “and if it doesn’t work out as well we can always go back to the other schedule in another year.”
Paul said the proposed schedule change had nothing to do with any concerns about team roster sizes. The Zone 1 ranks have been reduced from 11 teams to eight over the last two years, with Presque Isle dropping out before the 2010 season, Orono and Motor City of Bangor merging into one team the same year, and Steamboat Petroleum of Waldo County not fielding a team last summer.
“For the most part all teams had fairly full rosters last year,” said Paul. “I don’t think that was the reason, it was more to spread the games out a little more and to do away with the doubleheaders.”
Zone 1 currently is comprised of the Acadians of Blue Hill; Bangor; Brewer; Calais; Hampden; Lincoln Lumber; Motor City of Bangor; and the Penquis Navigators of Dover-Foxcroft.
This summer’s Zone 1 regular-season schedule is tentatively scheduled to begin June 15, Paul said, though some games may be delayed because of potential player conflicts with high school state championship games that are scheduled for Saturday, June 16.
The regular season runs through Friday, July 20, with the Zone 1 tournament play-in game Sunday, July 21, followed by the four-team, double-elimination phase of the zone tourney beginning Monday, July 22.
The Zone 1 champion advances directly to the state tournament, slated for Aug. 1-5 at The Ballpark in Old Orchard Beach, while the runner-up will play the Zone 3 (western Maine) runner-up on July 28 in a play-in game with the winner to advance to the states.
Goody to coach Motor City
Brad Goody, a volunteer assistant baseball coach at Old Town High School this spring and the head coach at Central of Corinth for the past two seasons, will coach the Motor City entry in the American Legion Zone 1 ranks this summer.
Goody replaces Dave Utterback, the current Old Town High School varsity baseball coach who instead will share Motor City general manager duties with Orono High School athletic administrator Mike Archer this year.
In that capacity Utterback and Archer are replacing Ray Johnson, who has moved out of the area.
Utterback had coached Motor City each of the last two years — earning Zone 1 coach of the year honors in 2011. He coached the Orono Twins for five years before that.
Orono and Motor City merged in 2010, and the combined Motor City entry now draws players from Bangor Christian, John Bapst of Bangor, Old Town and Orono high schools.
Motor City finished 13-8 during regular-season play last summer and went on to finish third in the Zone 1 tournament.