Races for top spots heighten in North baseball ranks

Bangor High School continues to battle for the top spot in the Class A North baseball rankings as the season enters its final few weeks.

The high school baseball regular season entered its final two weeks Monday with very little decided at the top of the standings in northern Maine.

Class A: Three-time defending state champion Bangor (11-1) is in control of its destiny, but the route to the top spot is filled with potholes.

Coach Dave Morris’ club will play its final four games on the road against opponents with a combined 34-15 record. The Rams travel to Auburn to face No. 4 Edward Little (10-3) on Monday, then visit a No. 10 Messalonskee of Oakland (4-8) team battling for its playoff life Wednesday before a makeup game at No. 3 Oxford Hills of South Paris (9-2) on Friday.

Bangor then closes out its regular season next Tuesday at 11-2 Brewer in what could be a battle for the No. 1 seed in the division. Bangor edged Brewer 1-0 on April 24 at Mansfield Stadium in Bangor.

Game to watch: Bangor at Brewer, 7 p.m., May 30.

Class B: This division’s standings boast a unique look as Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference members Nokomis of Newport (10-2), Gardiner (10-3) and Erskine Academy of South China (10-3) occupy the top three spots followed by Penobscot Valley Conference entries Hermon (9-2), defending state champion Old Town (9-3) and Ellsworth (9-3).

How much those standings are affected by the fact that the KVAC teams generally have played one more game than their PVC counterparts is uncertain, but since there’s no cross-scheduling between the leagues — at least yet, though that may be coming — a true indication of comparative league strength won’t come until postseason play.

Game to watch: Erskine Academy at Gardner, 3:30 p.m., May 30.

Class C: Defending regional champion George Stevens Academy of Blue Hill (9-2) still ranks atop the division, but two losses in its last three games — to Class B Ellsworth last Thursday before a split of contests with Dexter on Friday and Saturday — have given a substantial field of contenders reason to believe the Eagles can be unseated.

The other 2017 regional finalist, Houlton, is 10-1 and is ranked right behind GSA, while Mattanawcook Academy of Lincoln (10-2), Bucksport (7-4), Orono (7-5) and Dexter (6-4) all look capable of advancing deep in the North regional,

Game to watch: Mattanawcook Academy at Houlton, 4 p.m. Tuesday.

Class D: This division includes many schools with a considerable number of regular-season games remaining, so while several teams have established themselves near the top of the standings more than the typical sense of mystery remains.

Katahdin of Stacyville (9-1) and Woodland (8-1) hold the top two spots, followed by the lone unbeaten team in the North regardless of class, third-ranked Fort Fairfield (10-0). The Tigers’ remaining regular-season opponents have a combined 9-26 record.

Shead of Eastport (8-2), Hodgdon (7-4) and Stearns (4-6), the only team to defeat Katahdin, are among the other contenders, though the number of games remaining throughout the division offer the possibility of a late surge by a team currently in the middle of the pack such as Bangor Christian (5-3), Southern Aroostook of Dyer Brook (5-4) or defending champion Penobscot Valley of Howland (7-3).

Games to watch: Katahdin at Bangor Christian (DH), noon Saturday.

Ernie Clark

About Ernie Clark

I'm a veteran sportswriter who has worked with the Bangor Daily News for more than a decade. A four-time Maine Sportswriter of the Year as selected by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association, my coverage areas range from high school sports to mixed martial arts.