There isn’t much Peter Keblinsky hasn’t done for the Trenton Senior American Legion baseball team.
The Acadians followed up the program’s first ever state championship since its inception in 1979 with a championship at the Northeast Regional Tournament in Worcester, Massachusetts. That means the Acadians will be just the third Maine team to play in the American Legion World Series in Shelby, North Carolina, beginning on Thursday.
Keblinsky was the team’s leading hitter entering the regional at .367 and in the regional he hit .471, including doubles in four consecutive games. He led the team in hits with eight and had four runs-batted in and scored five runs.
On the mound, he had two outings and picked up a win and a save. He allowed three runs and nine hits in 10 innings of work with seven strikeouts and six walks.
The 6-foot-5, 210-pound All North Division first team shortstop and Ellsworth High standout also made just one error in the regional.
“He has been super important to our team. He does it all. He does whatever the team needs,” said Trenton coach Brad Smith.
“He gets the barrel of the bat on the ball and doesn’t try to do too much at the plate. He hits the ball where it’s thrown.”
Keblinsky said he has gotten hot at the plate at the right time.
senior league victory
“I’m seeing the ball pretty well out of the pitcher’s hands and I’ve been capitalizing,” said Keblinksky, who added that he can’t recall ever hitting doubles in four straight games before.
He changed the position of his hands on the bat over the course of the season and switched to a different bat that is heavier at the end than his previous bat, which he’s been hitting better with.
On the mound, Keblinsky entered the regional with a 5-1 record and a 0.70 ERA.
“He throws hard and he has a really nice curve,” said Smith, who noted that his over-the-top delivery presents a different angle for the hitters to deal with.
“I feel good on the mound. I wouldn’t say I am primarily a pitcher. But I am a pitcher on this team and I always do my best to get the guys a win,” said Keblinsky, who throws a four-seam fastball and a cutter to go with his curve.
“My curve might be my best pitch. I get a lot of strikeouts with that pitch,” he said. “When I locate it well, it’s very effective. But it can be a dangerous pitch if I leave it too high in the [strike] zone.”
Trenton’s center fielder-pitcher Hunter Curtis called Keblinsky a “huge” piece of the team.
“He plays a great shortstop, he pitches real well and he has been our best bat, for sure,” Curtis said.
The 18-year-old Keblinsky has been playing baseball since he was 7 years old and won a state Class B championship with Ellsworth in 2022. Several of his current Trenton teammates were also on that team.
The Acadians comprise players from Mount Desert Island High in Bar Harbor, George Stevens Academy in Blue Hill and Ellsworth.
Keblinsky said it was a thrill to win a state high school title but this is even better.
“Now we are going to play in the World Series on the national stage. This is a once-in-a-lifetime thing,” Keblinsky said. “This is a dream come true.”
The Southern Maine Community College-bound Keblinsky said he has improved this summer from playing against better competition.
And he is thoroughly enjoying playing on this team.
“This is the most fun I’ve ever had on a team,” he said.
“We have a laid-back culture. Every time we step on the field, we try to have fun. And like Coach Curtis says, we’re just a bunch of blue-collar boys,” said Keblinsky, referring to Ellsworth High School baseball coach Dan Curtis.
The Acadians will open against Mid-South regional titlist and defending World Series champion Troy Post 70 from Troy, Alabama, on Thursday at 4 p.m.
“It feels unreal to be one of just eight teams left in the country. And to represent the Acadians is something special,” Keblinsky said.
And the trip will also be special for him for another reason: He is one of four Acadian players who have never flown in an airplane before.
“I’m pretty excited about it,” he said.