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 1959. 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.
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. Nine 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). 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) stars for the nearby University of Southern Maine program.
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 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.
|Cameron Seymour||9||Catcher/Pitcher |
|Derek Madore||14||Third base||Senior|
|Brady Graffam||15||Third Base/Outfielder||Freshman|