Members of the Nokomis Regional High School baseball team celebrate teammate Owen Upton's home run during the Warriors 10-3 victory at Waterville on May 2, 2022. Credit: Courtesy of Amanda Chretien

The Nokomis Warriors were the talk of the Maine high school sports world last winter as five-star recruit Cooper Flagg and twin brother Ace led the Newport school’s boys basketball team to the first Class A state championship in program history.

The Flagg twins are playing national-level AAU basketball this spring, but the Nokomis baseball team is starting to generate its own headlines with a 9-3 record good for a top-four spot in the latest Class B North Heal point ratings.

“We’ve got a good little baseball team,” second-year head coach Jeff Chretien said.

Nokomis returned from the 2020 COVID-19 shutdown last spring and finished the regular season with a 5-11 record while playing a Class A-dominant regional schedule that included matchups with A North champion Bangor and A North finalist Skowhegan as well as Brewer, Hampden Academy and Messalonskee of Oakland.

The Warriors then upended No. 4 Belfast 4-2 in the Class B North preliminary round before being ousted in the quarterfinals by No. 5 Mount Desert Island 7-6 in 11 innings.

Nokomis senior Cody Chretien has been the ace of the Warriors’ pitching staff this spring. Credit: Courtesy of Amanda Chretien

“These kids had always had success in Little League and middle school and JV, and then they missed their sophomore year so last year we didn’t have any varsity experience and were really young last spring,” Chretien said.

“I think last year really opened their eyes toward getting better and working harder for this season.”

Nokomis has been in plenty of tight situations already this season, with six of its victories coming by three or fewer runs — including five during the team’s current streak of seven wins in its last eight outings.

“I think this is a pretty confident group,” Chretien said. “They’ve been waiting for their senior year to come for a long time. They missed one year [in 2020 due to the COVID-19 cancellation of the season], but they’ve been playing together for a long time. I’ve coached most of these seniors since T-ball, and they’re an exceptional group.”

Senior Cody Chretien, the coach’s son and one of four members of the school’s championship basketball team now playing baseball, has been the team’s pitching ace as well as a middle infielder who bats high in the Warriors’ lineup, though he’s currently battling an injury. His dad is hopeful he’ll be able to return to action soon.

Other pitchers for the Warriors include two other basketball players in sophomore Connor Sides and senior Mason Hopkins as well as sophomore Jacob Neumayer, while Hopkins, Sides and senior third baseman Mike Scharf are other offensive catalysts and senior Hunter Upton is a key defensive presence in center field.

The Nokomis Regional High School baseball team celebrates during a recent game. Credit: Courtesy of Amanda Chretien

“Sometimes we struggle at the plate, that’s baseball, but there’s no real weak spot for a pitcher to get a break,” coach Chretien said of his team’s batting order. “When he gets down to six, seven, eight and nine in the order, they’re as good as one through five. It’s a pretty tough lineup.”

Nokomis now is idle until Tuesday when the Warriors visit Hermon, providing the Warriors a mini-break before they gear up for a bid to bring home the baseball program’s first regional championship since 1982.

“It’s going to come down to how the pitching performs,” Chretien said. “We’ve got a really good defense. We’ve got good bats. It’s going to come down to pitching.”

Ernie Clark

Ernie Clark is a veteran sportswriter who has worked with the Bangor Daily News for more than a decade. A four-time Maine Sportswriter of the Year as selected by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters...