The Fort Fairfield Tigers baseball team is on the hunt for their fourth straight Class D North regional final appearance, but getting back there is going to be a tall task.
Head Coach John Ala has to replace the ace of their pitching staff, their centerfielder, shortstop as well as their lead-off hitter. Tall order, but the young Tigers are coming along.
"We lost a number of players," Ala said. "But we're progressing pretty well, little faster than I was expecting, not quite as fast as I'm hoping but I think as a coach you always have high expectations than where you're at currently."
With the young team, Ala is leaning on players with past experience, like his junior catcher Dawson Watson, who's a steadying influence on the new pitching staff as well as the team in the field.
"I just tell them to calm down, just play catch with me," Watson said. "Telling where people should be telling them like keep their eye on the ball and stuff."
The new number one of the pitching staff is Colby Langer. He not only has to deal with the pressure leading the tigers on the mound, but also not having big bro around anymore.
"It's going to be a huge difference because they were the role models all the way through," Langer said. "My brother Malcolm Langer, he was on that team, and one of the captains. Losing him is big because he went out with me everyday and we just played pass."
The Tigers are three and O to start the season, one of only five teams to start the season undefeated in the Class D North. Coach Ala is preparing for another all out battle to get back to the North final. They take on another undefeated squad Friday: the Fort Kent Warriors.