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 eighty-eight 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 and 2022 seasons. In 2022 Thornton Academy collected its first
Class A state championship with a 1-0 victory over Bangor.
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), Jeff Griffith (1960), and
Craig Gardner (1978). Golden Trojan standout Cody Bowker won the 2021 batting title
with a .489 average and was named Gatorade Maine Player of the Year in 2022.
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 75-20 (.789), three conference championships, and two regional runner-up
awards, and the 2022 Class A state championship.
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.
2024 Opening Date:
March 18 – Pitching and Catching Candidates
March 25– All Candidates
Teams: Varsity, Junior Varsity, Freshman, Middle School
Varsity Coach: Jason Lariviere
Junior Varsity Coach: Steve Stinson
Freshman Coach: Andrew Olszak
Middle School Coach: To Be Announced