In an extraordinary season, the Boothbay seventh and eighth grade baseball team has won the Busline Small School League 2021 season with a 9-1 record.
The team went into its final game Tuesday afternoon undefeated in nine games, having mercied their opponents in seven previous encounters.
The last game was against Nobleboro-Jefferson. “It was a good good game,” said Coach Adam Harkins. “Both teams played excellent baseball and honestly it could have gone either way. We lost 1-0, bases loaded; the umpire was hit by a line drive, which prevented our runner from scoring. Our winning streak was broken, but it was one of the best baseball games I’ve watched in years. It may not have been the dreamed-of 10-0, but they’ve won the season and I’m incredibly proud of them.”
There has been drama for the team both on and off the field. Coach Smith Climo took the kids through pre-season training. But, on the day of the first game, he fell ill. “Two days later I was down in Portland having a triple bypass,” he said. When he realized he wouldn’t be able to coach the team, one of his first thoughts, he said, was to find a suitable replacement.
“I knew it had to be Adam Harkins. He’s coached school teams and Little League locally for many years, so he knew the kids. Plus he’s a great coach. For me he was the only choice.”
The call to action came as a surprise to Harkins. “I had already turned down coaching baseball this year,” he said. And his son, Finn, a ninth grader at BRHS, was already working as assistant coach to Climo. “Because of COVID, the high school had no baseball this season so Smith asked Finn to be his assistant,” said Harkins. “It was a great opportunity and he’s been a truly excellent coach. I was excited for him. Then, when Smitty got sick, and asked me to step in, I was given the opportunity not only to coach a great team, but to coach alongside my son.”
Five minutes before the first game of the season, Coach Harkins met the team. They went out, played ball, won, and went right on winning.
“I knew we had a really good team,” said Climo, who has attended almost every game since getting out of the hospital. “And they just got better and better. We’ve worked hard to create a team with real depth and I’m very proud of them all.”
Coach Climo and Coach Harkins both believe playing without stress is important. “We play to win,” said Harkins. “But the kids are having fun out there. They enjoy what they’re doing, and thanks to their hard work, commitment, and some great training from Coach Smith and Coach Finn they really know what they’re doing.”
The team has gone from strength to strength, winning by large margins and showing a depth of skill and maturity beyond members’ years.
The final game of the season was played without Coach Finn who was quarantined after being in close contact with someone with a positive COVID-19 case. And, while it may not have produced the absolute fairy tale ending, said Coach Harkins, “It really was a great game. It’s been an unbelievable season, and to come out on top after all the ups and downs is truly a testament to these amazing kids.”
The season may be over, but there is one more game to come. On Thursday, June 3, the Boothbay team will play away to Oceanside, winners of the Busline Large School League. “It’s not quite the playoffs,” said Harkins. “Those were cancelled because of COVID. But it’ll be another great game and I know the kids will give 110%, just like they have all season.”