BLUE HILL—The George Stevens Academy baseball team is officially off and running this season, as the team took an 8-3 win over Sumner on April 18 in the first game of the season.
The Eagles are the defending Class C North champions, earning that title in a 9-8 thriller over Houlton last season that ended with a walk-off single by now senior Beckett Slayton. The team came just short of the state title, losing 3-2 to Sacopee Valley.
The Eagles have found their way to the regional tournament three times in the past three years; however, last year’s victory was the team’s first regional title win since 2009. GSA finished the season with an 18-2 record.
“I anticipate we’ll have a good season,” said head coach Dan Kane. “Our biggest challenge is that we’re predicted to be one of the top three teams, so we need to live up to that every day.”
This year’s squad returns essentially the same team as last year, graduating only two seniors in catcher Dakota Chipman and center fielder Will Entworth. The pitching rotation will look similar, too, as Slayton, Taylor Schildroth and Stefan Simmons are all returning to the lineup.
“Those guys are two key players that we’ll have to replace, but we have a lot of depth so we’ve been able to do that successfully,” said Kane.
Schildroth and Slayton were key hitters in last year’s lineup, as well as solid defensive players in the infield, Schildroth at short stop and Slayton at first base.
“We have some underclassmen that’ll give us some depth, but for the most part it’s going to be the same core group from last year’s team,” said Kane.
George Stevens Academy has had success over the years under the direction of Kane, who is now in his 29th season at the helm of the program. In the last 15 years, the Eagles have won six regional titles and back-to-back Class C State titles in 2004 and 2005.
The Eagles will look to build on last year’s regional title this season, taking on much of the same competition as last year, including games against Ellsworth, Bucksport and Orono.
George Stevens is scheduled to take on Washington Academy in the opening home game of the season on Saturday, April 22, before a road game in Orono on April 26. First pitch for Saturday’s game is scheduled for 4:30 p.m.