The Houlton Shiretowners baseball team will play for the State Class C title on Saturday. The Shiretowners will take on Hall Dale at St Joseph's College. This is just the third time in the Shires history that they have been in the State Game. They lost to Portland in 1976 and then lost to Deering in 1983 in Class A State Championship games. Shires Coach Jim Castner says the team was focused all season and continued to set goals as the year progressed.
(Jim Castner):" We set incremental goals. Try to have a winning season, try to gain a home playoff game, try to move up from there. This is the ultimate goal of every coach and I thought we had a good chance to accomplish it."
The Shires were in the Regional Championship game two years ago and lost early in the playoffs last year. Castner says that this years team came back focused wanting for a better result than last season.
Castner:" We were a hungry group and it also gave us good experience. When we got into those situations we weren't afraid. We were able to not get lost in the moment and execute our game plan."
The Shires have had some great pitching this season Pat Howe was the winning pitcher in the championship game against Mattanawcook
(Pat Howe):" At first I was a little nervous with the big crowd. When I got through the first couple of batters I started to use the crowd to my advantage. I fed off the crowd and got it done."
Nick Perfitt has also been outstanding on the mound winning the semifinal game with George Stevens Academy
(Nick Perfitt):" I think when we keep teams to a low amount of runs it gives us more confidence when we get to the dugout and get up the plate."
Morgan Phillips is the Shires catcher and one of six seniors on the team.
(Morgan Phillips):" We just have to execute and have good chemistry and hit the ball."
Howe:" Our team chemistry is the best of any team I have been on."
The coach and players are all very excited to have a chance to bring a State Title back to the Shiretown.
Perfitt:" That will be exciting to get down there in front of a big crowd. Hopefully we will get a lot of people at the game supporting us."
Phillips:" It is exciting I am really excited to win.
Castner:" It feels great to represent Houlton High School. It's only the third time we have been to the States and hopefully we can push through. We are proud and happy and hungry for a little more."
Houlton and Hall Dale will play on Saturday at 4:30 at St Joseph's College in Standish. The last time the Shires played for the State title was back in 1983. Tomorrow night we will look at the Fort Fairfield Tigers who will battle for the Class D title on Saturday in Bangor.