American Legion baseball has struggled to retain a foothold in some parts of Maine, particularly in southern regions where weekday wooden-bat leagues and weekend travel teams have replaced many Senior Legion programs in York and Cumberland counties.
Two Eastern Maine teams will head to Portland next Tuesday to show that American Legion baseball remains alive and well in other parts of the state.
The doubleheader at Hadlock Field, home of the Boston Red Sox Class AA affiliate the Portland Sea Dogs, will begin at 5 p.m. with a regular-season Zone 1 Senior Legion matchup between the host for the event, Quirk Motor City, and the Bangor Coffee News Comrades.
That will be followed at 7:30 p.m. by a Junior Legion contest between Quirk Motor City and Cheverus of Portland.
The twinbill is the brainchild of Tim Archambault, general manager of the Quirk Motor City American Legion baseball program and coach of its Junior Legion team.
“I think Tim’s just trying to make American Legion baseball a little more visible around the state, and playing at Hadlock was something that came around and he had some people sponsor it to get us there,” Coffee News coach Dave Morris said.
“I think it’s a great opportunity for the kids with as good a field as that is with the Red Sox affiliation. I know with our guys, they’d love to play there.”
Morris is familiar with coaching at that site, having guided Brewer to a runner-up finish in the 2006 American Legion state tournament held at Hadlock Field.
Admittance to the doubleheader will be by donation, with gate proceeds to benefit Veterans Count, a service organization that helps helps veterans and their families with apartment placements, money for food and other needed services.
The Quirk Motor City-Coffee News game originally was scheduled for July 18 but was moved up one night once the Comrades agreed to participate in the contest.
“We didn’t have to play Bangor,” Archambault said, “but part of the reason for doing this was as a congratulations of sorts to Dave and Bangor for its five straight (high school) state championships and three of the last four state championships in Legion.”
Those associated with Quirk Motor City — which has a dealership in Portland — are excited about the opportunity to play their regular-season finale at Hadlock Field before the Zone 1 Senior Legion tourney begins at Husson University in Bangor next weekend.
“We got sponsorship through Quirk to play our last regular-season game against the Comrades down at Hadlock Field, and right when Tim approached me about it I said, ‘Absolutely, it will be great for the kids,’” Motor City Senior Legion coach Cam Archer said.
“I don’t think either team has anybody who’s played on that field so it will be pretty special. It will be fun to coach, too. I’ve been to a handful of Sea Dog games but I’ve never stepped foot on that field so it will be a real neat experience.”
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