Jason Harvey is Husson University of Bangor’s all-time leader in baseball coaching wins.
During his 12 seasons as the head coach, the Husson Sports Hall of Famer and former three-sport standout compiled a record of 284-222. His teams won two North Atlantic Conference titles that earned his Eagles NCAA Division III Tournament berths.
Harvey, who stepped down at Husson following the 2019 season, has now coached another team to a regional tournament berth — and this one is more personal.
The Bangor Little League All-Star team (10-12-year-olds) captured its first state championship since Bangor East won in back-to-back years in 2009 and 2010.
The team won all four of its games in the state tournament in Waldoboro last week, outscoring its opponents 37-7.
His son, Jacoby Harvey — named after former Boston Red Sox center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury — is one of the team’s best players.
Bangor will now play in the New England Regional in Bristol, Connecticut, starting on Saturday when it takes on Vermont state champ Brattleboro at 10 a.m. The last time a team from Maine won a regional competition was Westbrook in 2005.
It will be a modified four-team double-elimination affair that will have one championship game, even though one of the teams will be 2-0 and the other will be 2-1.
Joining Bangor and Brattleboro will be Massachusetts titlist Middleborough and New Hampshire winner Concord.
Middleborough and Concord will square off at 1 p.m. on Saturday.
The eventual winner of the Aug. 11 championship game will move on to the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pennsylvania.
“It’s special any time you are around a good group of kids and you [accomplish] this, no matter what level you’re at,” said the 38-year-old Harvey, a former Husson University three-time all-conference shortstop and University of Maine shortstop who was also a 1,200-point scorer on the Husson basketball team and played one year on the Eagles’ golf team.
“For five or six of them, it’s their third straight trip to the state championship tournament and this year they won it. It’s special for me because my son is on the team and he has a group of friends I’ve coached in several sports,” added the Bucksport native.
Harvey said he knew after the first tryout that he and assistants Casey Catell and Dan Hughes had a state championship-caliber team.
“We have two top-level pitchers. We have depth. Offensively, we can do a number of different things,” Harvest said. “And these kids are unselfish. They have bought into their roles. That has had a lot to do with our success.”
Jacoby Harvey and Caden Karam are at the top of the pitching rotation.
“They both throw hard, and they have off-speed pitches. They mix them up well. Anybody at this level who can throw a breaking ball for a strike is going to be very, very effective, and they both can,” said Harvey, noting that his son has a slider and Karam throws a knuckle-curve.
Gavin Hughes, Daxton Gifford, Oliver Mattei and Kaleb Johnson are also capable pitchers.
Johnson is the starting catcher. Hughes or Karam play first, depending on who is pitching; Nate O’Donnell and Hughes can each play second or third and Harvey is the shortstop.
Gifford can play shortstop or second.
The center fielder is Patrick Guite, son of former UMaine hockey player and associate head coach Ben Guite, who was recently named the new head men’s hockey at Bowdoin College.
Mason Bond is the right fielder, and there are several left field candidates including Carter Catell, Tyler Johnson, Thomas Fournier, Mattei and Max Kenney.
Karam said it feels “pretty cool” to be a state champ and feels his team has a legitimate chance to get to Williamsport “if we play the best baseball we can.”
“To be going to Bristol is amazing,” said Jacoby Harvey. “It was the first time I’ve ever won states. It’s a cool experience. It’s a dream come true.”
The team represents a merger between Bangor East and Bangor West. Eleven of the players are from the east side and two are from the west.
“I would love to see Bangor baseball become one. Hopefully, this is just the start of it,” said Jason Harvey. “It’s one city. It’s great to see all these kids having an opportunity, whether it’s an east side or west side kid. It’s 13 kids jumping on board and enjoying their summer.
“This is a summer they’re going to cherish forever,” he added.