SCARBOROUGH, Maine — Ryan Jones, the starting second baseman on Bangor High School’s 2006 Class A state championship baseball team, will try to bring similar success to his new job as head baseball coach at Scarborough High School.
The 25-year-old Jones, who served as an assistant coach for the Red Storm last spring, was named last Friday to replace Mike Coutts.
“I’m very fortunate,” said Jones. “And having been there last year will make it easier for me coming into the job in terms of knowing the guys and the program.”
Coutts, who guided Scarborough to a 17-3 record and the Western Maine Class A championship in 2012, stepped down to take a job as an assistant softball coach at the University of Maine. Coutts’ wife, Lynn Coutts, is the Black Bears’ head softball coach.
Jones played baseball and golf at Bangor, then went to the University of Southern Maine, where he played baseball under Huskies’ coach Ed Flaherty for two years and is continuing his pursuit of a degree in business with a minor in sports management.
Jones also has coached both a 14-and-under AAU baseball team and a 16-and-under travel softball team in recent years, in addition to his assistant coaching stint at Scarborough last spring.
Scarborough graduated several key seniors from last year’s team that lost to Messalonskee of Oakland 6-3 in the Class A state final, including Ben Wessel, the state’s 2012 Mr. Baseball, as well as Joe Cronin and Connor McCann.
But Jones believes the Red Storm will be poised to contend again this spring in the Southwestern Maine Activities Association ranks.
“A lot of SMAA teams suffered significant losses from last year,” said Jones. “I kind of consider it a coin-flip league this year. It looks like a pretty even playing field.”
The first day of preseason practices for high school pitchers and catchers statewide is March 19.
16 boys hoop prelims slated
The Eastern Maine boys high school basketball tournament begins Wednesday — not in the primary sites at the Bangor Auditorium and the Augusta Civic Center but with preliminary-round action in all four classes for the right to advance to the big stage.
And there may be an ever-so-slight increased sense of urgency for teams in Classes B, C and D as they seek to play in the final tournament to be contested at the Bangor Auditorium before it is replaced by the under-construction Cross Insurance Center next door.
Just one prelim is scheduled in Eastern A, with No. 9 Mount Ararat of Topsham (7-11) at No. Oxford Hills of South Paris (8-10) in a battle of teams that split two regular-season meetings. The winner advances to face top-ranked and defending regional champion Hampden Academy — which just capped off the first undefeated regular season in program history — in Saturday night’s quarterfinals in Augusta.
Five Eastern B boys prelims are highlighted by a Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference battle that sends No. 9 Nokomis of Newport (10-8) to Rockport to face No. 8 Camden Hills (12-6). The winner will face No. 1 Medomak Valley of Waldoboro (16-2), and if Camden Hills holds serve that would set up an interesting quarterfinal, given that the Windjammers lost by three points at Medomak Valley on Dec. 11 and took the Panthers to four overtimes before falling 95-91 at home on Jan. 31.
Camden Hills defeated Nokomis 60-47 at Rockport on Jan. 5.
Only one other Eastern B boys prelim matches teams that already have met this winter as No. 5 Caribou (13-5) will try to defeat No. 12 Hermon (8-10) for the third time.
Other prelims in the division match have Big East Conference teams on the road against KVAC opponents.
No. 10 Old Town (10-8), which doubled its win total from a year ago, is at a No. 7 Waterville (13-5) team that brings an 11-game winning streak into the contest. No. 11 Washington Academy of East Machias returns to the playoffs for its second straight year in Class B before returning to Class C next winter, with the Raiders to visit No. 6 Winslow (13-5).
And No. 13 Foxcroft Academy (8-10) edged Belfast by less than two Heal points for the final prelim berth to earn a trip to Rockland to face No. 4 Oceanside (14-4), which came up less than two Heal points short of earning a preliminary-round bye.
Three Class C prelims are on tap, two matching teams that did not meet during the regular season when No. 9 Fort Kent (8-10) travels to No. 8 Bucksport (8-10) and No. 10 George Stevens Academy of Blue Hill (8-10) visits No. 7 Stearns of Millinocket (12-6).
The third ‘C’ prelim is a battle of neighbors, with No. 11 Piscataquis of Guilford (3-15) edging Orono by 0.7716 Heal points to secure a game at No. 6 Dexter (11-7). Dexter defeated the Pirates by margins of eight and 14 points during the regular season.
Eastern D already has had one postseason game of sorts, with Van Buren avenging two regular-season losses to Ashland by holding off the Hornets 53-48 in a play-in game Monday night after those teams tied for the 15th and final postseason berth in the division.
The win advances the Crusaders (7-12) to a game at No. 2 Washburn (17-1), one of seven preliminary-round contests in Eastern D — top-ranked and undefeated Jonesport-Beals, the defending state champion, was the only team to advance directly to the quarterfinals.
Washburn will seek to defeat Van Buren for the third time this winter in one of just two prelims in the division matching teams that met previously this season. No. 5 Hodgdon (14-4) defeated No. 12 Limestone/Maine School of Science and Mathematics (6-12) twice by an average of 35.5 points.
Other Eastern D prelims have No. 14 Schenck of East Millinocket (7-11) at No. 3 Central Aroostook of Mars Hill (13-5), No. 13 Woodland (7-11) at No. 4 Deer Isle-Stonington (13-5), No. 11 Katahdin of Stacyville (7-11) at No. 6 Machias (13-4), No. 10 Fort Fairfield (9-9) at No. 7 Bangor Christian (12-6), and No. 9 Southern Aroostook of Dyer Brook (12-6) at No. 8 Easton (14-4) in a game involving teams that combined for 26 regular-season wins.