Tiger baseball team holding down opponents
in early-season games
FORT FAIRFIELD, Maine — The Tiger baseball team is off to a great start and pitching and defense have been the keys so far.
John Ala’s club has won its first four contests and has allowed just 10 runs in the process. After surrendering five runs to Madawaska in the season-opening victory, the Tigers defeated Southern Aroostook, Washburn and East Grand in the past week and allowed a total of five runs in those games.
“We have been able to limit runs by mixing up pitches and our defense has been strong in making plays,” said the 13th-year coach.
The Tigers are motivated after last season in which they went 9-5 and lost an 11-inning heartbreaker to Penobscot Valley High School in a Class D quarterfinal.
“Our guys have come in upbeat and motivated about this season,” Ala said. “They enjoying playing together and are very confident in each other’s abilities.”
Fort Fairfield has almost everybody back from the 2015 squad. Griffin Robles, who played center field and batted in the No. 4 slot in the lineup, was the only starter who graduated.
This year’s starting lineup begins with senior catcher Dalton Cassidy, who is a natural leadoff hitter thanks to his ability to reach base. Veteran Jon Bernard, who plays first base, bats second and is followed by Ryan Player, a shortstop who owns great range in the field and is an excellent hitter.
Carter Bruce bats cleanup and plays right field and is also one of the top pitchers. He already owns a pair of pitching victories early on this season. Dylan Jandreau bats fifth and plays second base and “is hard-nosed both defensively and at the plate,” according to Ala. Leftfielder Isaac Cyr covers a lot of ground defensively and Jared Harvey has extra-base power at the plate and owns a strong arm as primarily a third baseman. Cyr and Harvey, both sophomores, are in the sixth and seventh slots in the batting order.
No. 8 hitter Malcolm Langner is a solid center fielder and makes good contact at the plate. He bats ahead of senior third baseman Josh Ricker, a strong gloveman and excellent team leader.
Thomas Krause, Liam McNamee, Chris Gill, Yoni Majia, Nick Krause and Blake Parady will come off the bench for the Tigers.
Bernard, Player and Harvey join Bruce as the pitchers who should see the most work for the Tigers, while Cyr, Thomas Krause, McNamee and Majia could also see action on the mound.
“Our pitching depth is a strength in a Class D schedule,” Ala said.
The veteran coach likes his personnel and is hoping his group can keep stringing together wins to earn a high enough seed “to play as many home games as possible during the playoffs.”
“This year’s team is very talented and versatile,” Ala said. “We have the ability to start different lineups depending on who is pitching without losing anything on defense.”
Mark Dillon joins Rob Langner and Austin Bernier as the assistant coaches under Ala.