BAR HARBOR — Brent Barker’s goal for the Mount Desert Island High School junior varsity baseball team was to end the year with a team that was ready to take the next step.
As head coach of both the varsity girls’ basketball team and the junior varsity baseball team, Barker knows what it takes to be successful at both stages of high school athletics. Whereas wins and losses can be season-defining in varsity, skill development is the top priority for JV players.
“I think as a JV coach, you’re looking to get those players ready to move up to varsity the next year more than your record or anything else,” Barker said. “Players graduate every year, and you’re going to need players to move up who are ready to compete at that level.”
With the Trojans to replace six seniors on next year’s varsity baseball squad, that was particularly important for the JV team this year. The players responded to the challenge so well that MDI baseball coaches are optimistic about the coming seasons.
“The more we played, the more I thought to myself, ‘They’ve got this. They’re ready,’” Barker said. “We got especially better at turning double plays and being smart on the base paths as the season went on.”
MDI finished the year with a 10-6 record. In addition to posting a winning season, the team also earned a season sweep of rival Ellsworth.
“Those were probably our biggest wins,” Barker said. “The rivalry with Ellsworth is big in every sport, and being able to do well against good programs in JV is always a good sign for your future.”
Team members were Chris Horton, Grady Wellman-Webster, Ethan Merchant, Andrew Clark, Seth Heard, Jack DaCorte, Nick Corson, Chandler Strout, Oliver Blank and Noah Lambert. With nine of those 10 players being freshmen or sophomores, MDI baseball looks set for the coming seasons.
“It was a great team to coach all season long,” Barker said. “These kids are only going to get better from here, and I think they’ll help take the program a long way.”