The dilemma dealt to the Coastal Senior League all-star baseball team over the last 10 days may be envious to some teams.
The team from the Blue Hill area qualified for this weekend’s Eastern Regional in Deptford, New Jersey, after receiving a bye through the District 1 and state tourneys.
However, the Coastal stars haven’t played a game in 10 days.
That doesn’t faze the players because five of them had been playing games almost seven days a week for the American Legion Trenton team and in Senior League, according to coach John Chitman.
“The schedule has been difficult. We have five kids on the American Legion Trenton team, and we’ve been splitting schedules the best we can,” Chitman said.
Despite the lack of teams in District 1 and the other five Little League districts in Maine, the Coastal all-stars played 11 games, mostly against District 3 teams and a few games against Bucksport, while compiling a 7-4 record.
There wasn’t a District 1 tourney this season because Bucksport dropped out at the last minute and the Acadians of the Mount Desert area chose not to field a team this season. As a district champ, Coastal should have competed in a state tourney, but the only other district with Senior League baseball is District 3, in the greater Bangor area. The District 3 champ doesn’t compete in the state and regional tourneys because it receives an automatic berth that is granted to the host’s district champ to the Senior League World Series in Bangor.
Chitman is confident his team will be well prepared when it begins play in the nine-state regional at 7:30 p.m. Friday against New Jersey state champ Franklin Township.
“We’ve had some pretty intense practices for the last three nights,” he said. “This is a good, talented bunch a kids.”
The regional champ qualifies for the Senior League World Series.
Coastal’s foundation is built around the five players who played on the Legion and Senior League teams as well as high school baseball in the spring. Four of them — Will Ricker, Harrison Vinal, Garrison Looke and the coach’s son, Dakota Chitman — played for George Stevens Academy in Blue Hill, and the fifth, Nick Bagley, played at Ellsworth High.
The other players on the team include Hunter Cote and Jared Sawyer of Ellsworth; Ethan Shepard of Deer Isle-Stonington; and Mike Riley, Will Entwisle and Nick Bianco of GSA. Tyler Brenton, also of GSA, is a member of the team who can’t attend because of a prior commitment, but is available “if we make it back to Bangor,” Chitman said.
In the regional tourney, Chitman feels pitching depth is pivotal and has 10 players who can pitch in addition to several other positions they can play. Cote will start the first game, and Ricker will start the second in the double-elimination tourney.
“We’ll go down there mentally strong. We have the talent to be a competitor,” said Chitman, who attended last year’s tourney to watch the Acadians compete.
“If we had this team down there last year, they would have been a top team. I know things change year to year, but I have high hopes for this team,” added Chitman, who will be assisted by Loriman Looke because his other two assistant coaches had prior commitments.