It was back to practice as usual for the Brewer High School baseball team Tuesday — inside the gymnasium.
“We’ve only practiced twice on the field so far,” said senior pitcher Alex Brooks. “It’s about the same inside, but it’s boring.”
Coach Dana Corey’s club finds itself ranked first in Class A North as it approaches the midpoint of its 16-game regular-season schedule despite being unable to play or practice on its home diamond, Heddericg Field, due to soggy outfield conditions compounded by frequent rainfall.
“It’s the same way for most of the high schools, I think,” said Corey, “but the disadvantage for all the high schools is that you don’t get to work on the things you need to work on, the first-and-third situations, the bunt situations and rundowns especially. In our gym everything is compressed.”
The 6-1 Witches also have been unlucky in a scheduling sense given the condition of Heddericg Field, with five of their first seven games originally set to be played at home.
Yet the nomadic Orange and Black have made the most of their home games away from home, going 4-0 on artificial turf — 2-0 at the University of Maine’s Mahaney Diamond and 2-0 at the Winkin Complex on the campus of Husson University, including Monday night’s 9-3 victory over Mt. Blue of Farmington.
The Witches also are 1-0 in their lone home game on natural grass at Mansfield Stadium in Bangor, though they did drop a 1-0 decision to Bangor at Mansfield in one of their two scheduled road tests to date.
“Our kids have dealt well with it,” said Corey, “but it’s just the logistics of traveling back and forth and sometimes we don’t get to hit on the field, we have to take batting practice in the cage and then we step on the field.
“The advantage for us is that we have two makeup games but we’re not way, way behind everybody else. It’s nice having two turf fields up here that we can use.”
Brewer’s schedule takes another twist starting Wednesday when the Witches commence a run of six games in eight days.
Five of those contests are on the road, beginning at Skowhegan on Wednesday, at Lewiston on Friday and at Cony of Augusta on Saturday.
Brewer then is scheduled to host Hampden Academy somewhere next Monday, followed by road tests at Lawrence of Fairfield on May 16 and at Camden Hills of Rockport on May 17.
“It’s a major-league schedule,” said Corey, who was drafted by the Chicago Cubs in 1972 out of the University of Maine.
‘Jammers knock Bangor from unbeaten ranks
The last of the baseball unbeatens in Class A North fell Monday as three-time defending state champion Bangor lost to Camden Hills of Rockport 3-1 in eight innings.
Freshman Jason Greenleaf drove home two runs in the top of the eighth to provide the margin of victory for senior pitcher Garrison Locke, who scattered eight hits while striking out eight batters and yielding just one run.
Coach Paul McDonald’s Windjammers entered the game just 1-3 and were coming off a 16-0 loss to Hampden Academy, but the victory over 6-1 Bangor elevated Camden Hills to fifth place in the Class A North Heal Points.
Second-ranked Bangor returns to action Wednesday against No. 8 Hampden Academy in a scheduled 4:30 p.m. start from Bordick Park in Hampden.
Hampden is 4-2 this spring under coach McLean Poulin, with its only losses a 5-3 defeat at No. 4 Edward Little of Auburn on April 21 and a 5-2 setback at No. 3 Oxford Hills of South Paris on April 28.
The Broncos’ pitching staff, led by University of Maine-bound senior right-hander Alex McKenney, has yielded just 11 runs in its first six games this spring.
Just five unbeaten baseball teams remained in the North entering Tuesday’s schedule, Class B Nokomis of Newport (6-0), Class C George Stevens Academy of Blue Hill (6-0), and Class D Katahdin of Stacyville (4-0), Fort Fairfield (5-0) and Shead of Eastport (3-0).