Bucksport High School’s baseball program typically finishes in the upper echelon of its class each spring.
Take the 10 years leading up to the 2022 campaign.
Beginning with their final year of Class B competition in 2011, the Golden Bucks have won at least one postseason game in eight of those ten seasons, as evidenced by winning the 2015 Class C North Championship and additional regional finals appearances over the years was highlighted in 2011 and 2013.
Bucksport could be even more dominant this spring, securing first place in Class C North and winning its first regional title in seven years with Tuesday’s 4-2 win over Mount View of Thorndike at Mansfield Stadium in Bangor.
The 19-1 Golden Bucks, winners of their last 14 games, return to Mansfield Stadium at 2pm on Saturday to play Lisbon – the only unbeaten team nationwide this spring – for the state championship.
Another win would earn Bucksport its first state title in the sport.
“When you come to the state game, that’s exactly what you want,” said Bucksport freshman head coach Josh Jackson, who played on the school’s 2003 Eastern Maine Class B Championship team.
“You want to compete against the best of the best and just see what you’ve got, compete against each other and play the best game you can. There’s not much coming to these guys. The moments don’t get too big. This team as a whole only plays for each other and that has been our greatest strength all year.”
It’s no secret that another key to Bucksport’s success has been its top pitchers, seniors Jake Guty and Ty Giberson.
This duo anchors a staff that had just 16 runs in 20 games with nine shutouts and eight more games when the Golden Bucks only allowed one run. That latter streak includes the team’s only loss, a 1-0 decision against Class B Northern champions Ellsworth in early May in an undeserved run.
Guty is 8-0 after pitching the Golden Bucks to a 4-2 win over Mount View of Thorndike in Tuesday’s Class C North Finals with a full three-hitter game with 11 strikeouts.
Giberson is 6-1 after earning the win and beating 15 batsmen in Bucksport’s 7-1 semifinal win over Houlton. He was named the 2022 Penobscot Valley Conference Player of the Year and a Mr. Baseball finalist for his efforts on the mound and on the plate, where he had 18 RBIs and 11 stolen bases in as many tries during regular season play. 489 struck .
“It’s great to be able to carry your piggyback [number one pitcher] with their [other number one pitcher]’ Jackson said of his aces. “We are very happy that we can do this. Coming into the season, we knew we could compete in almost every game we played strictly based on what our pitching would do for us.
Giberson and Guty were joined by senior reliever Cam Rich and second lefty Gavyn Holyoke to assemble a staff that hasn’t surpassed three runs in any game this spring and has already been involved in two no-hitters in the postseason.
Holyoke and Rich had a five-inning perfect game in the Golden Bucks’ 16-0 win in the round of 16 against No. 16 Sumner of East Sullivan, while Guty and Rich defeated the Maine Central Institute of Pittsfield in Bucksport’s 6-1 quarterfinal win beaten held over the No. 8 Huskies.
The pitchers were supported by a defense that includes senior Tyler Hallett, a former shortstop and center fielder who is now playing catcher for the first time in his high school career.
“It’s not easy catching Jake and Ty every night — especially for someone who doesn’t usually catch — but he did a great job,” Jackson said. “He has such a great baseball IQ. He limits mistakes and keeps it simple and he did a great job.”
Additional defensive support came from the outfield combination of senior Kaleb Nightingale at left field, freshman Jason Terrill at center and sophomore Ayden Maguire at right, as well as junior third baseman Brandon Elden and sophomore second baseman Gunny Cyr.
“It’s been a great defensive year,” Jackson said. “We limited mistakes and had a lot of clean games when we made good games and [Tuesday] was another one of them. There were no mistakes and some great plays that kept things intact.”
Lisbon improved their record to 20-0 with a 10-0 five-inning win over Readfield’s Maranacook in Tuesday’s Class C South final.
The Greyhounds are coached by Randy Ridley and consist of senior pitcher-infielder and Mr. Baseball finalist Hunter Brissette, Mountain Valley Conference Class C Player of the Year.
Brissette threw a two-hit shutout in the regional championship game while junior third baseman Levi Tibbetts hit a three-run triple and an RBI single as the top-ranked Greyhounds charged past the No. 6 Black Bears.
Lisbon will be aiming for its third state championship, having won the Class B crown in 1979 and the Class C title in 2019.