Baseball

Baseball is one of the oldest interscholastic sports at Thornton Academy; the school fielded its first varsity baseball team in 1895. For its first quarter of a century, the Maroon and Gold played their home games a Saco Driving Park, a horse racing venue located west of the school. Beginning in 1920, the program called the Thornton Academy Athletic Grounds on the east side of U.S. Route 1 its home. Today Thornton incorporates two full-sized baseball fields on its 88 acre campus.

In 1919 Thornton Academy joined the prestigious Telegram League, a conference comprised of a number of larger schools located in the greater Portland area. In the heyday of the league, the Maroon and Gold won four Telegram championships – 1937, 1954, 1958, and 1963.  The Telegram League (now known as the Southwestern Maine Activities Association) was the last nine-inning high school baseball conference in the United States, having made the change to seven-inning contests in the 1994 season. Following the 2019 season, Thornton Academy won the SMAA championship tournament to garner its first league title in 56 years. The Golden Trojans also won the conference championship in the 2021 season.

Some of the finest athletes to ever don a Thornton Academy uniform are part of the rich tradition that it T.A. baseball. The legendary Henry LaVallee was the first Thornton baseball player to receive all-state honors; he received that recognition from the Maine Sunday Telegram in 1925. Former Thornton Academy athletic director Brad Leach was a three-time all-conference selection and later starred at the University of Connecticut. More recently, pitching standout Jeff Gelinas continued his playing career as the closer for the University of Maine, and Ben Lambert (a two-time all-state selection) starred for the nearby University of Southern Maine program. Ten players have garnered the Telegram League batting championship, including Thornton Academy Athletic Hall of Famers Charles Mistos (1936), Donald Lester (1952), Roger Spaulding (1955), and Jeff Griffith (1960). Current Golden Trojan standout Cody Bowker won the 2021 batting title with a .489 average.  

The Thornton Academy baseball program has also boasted some outstanding coaches who have guided the fortunes of the Golden Trojan nine. Francis Mears led the Maroon and Gold to 41 victories in the mid-1950’s, including a Telegram League championship and a state runner-up finish.  Neil Serpico, a former football assistant coach at the University of Alabama under Paul “Bear” Bryant, coached two conference championship teams before leaving Saco to coach at West Chester University in Pennsylvania. More recently, Phil Curtis (1963-1975) and Greg Paradis (2002-2010, 2017) each eclipsed the 100-victory plateau while managing the Thornton baseball program. The current coach, Jason Lariviere, has guided the Golden Trojans to an overall record of 42-13 (.764), two conference championships, and one regional runner-up award.

The typical Thornton Academy baseball season consists of sixteen regular season games and five non-countable exhibition dates. Thornton Academy competes in the historically strong Southwestern Maine Activities Association against traditional York County rivals such as Biddeford and Sanford and many other conference affiliates. For regional post-season purposes, the Golden Trojans are grouped in the Class A South region.

All practices and home contests take place at one of the two fields on Thornton Academy’s campus. Participation in Thornton baseball is a six-day per week commitment as high school teams typically play games on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays and hold practices on the remaining weekdays.

Tryouts for Thornton Academy’s baseball teams take place at the end of March. The varsity level is reserved for the school’s most highly skilled players while the freshman and junior varsity teams are designed primarily for player development.

Season:                  
Spring

2022 Opening Date:        
March 21 – Pitching and Catching Candidates
March 28 – All Candidates

Teams:                
Varsity, Junior Varsity, Freshman, Middle School

Coaches:
Varsity Coach: Jason Lariviere
Junior Varsity Coach: Brian Morrison
Freshman Coach: Keil Martin
Middle School Coach: Corey Jones
 

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