This high school softball coach embraces lengthy commute to help direct region’s top team
GREENVILLE — It is 56.1 miles between Medford and Greenville.
During the past two springs, Mike Cabral has made that commute as the co-head coach of the Greenville High School softball team.
He shares the duties with Erin Pelletier, the mother of three of the Laker players.
Cabral, a flooring contractor by trade who also works as a pitching instructor, admits the commute is a challenging one but he doesn’t mind.
“The first time they offered me a chance to coach there, I decided against it,” said Cabral. “But the second time I decided to do it and I feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to join them.
“We have a group of great kids and great parents,” said Cabral.
The coaching relationship between Carbal and Pelletier is a healthy one.
“So far, so good,” said Cabral. “We work pretty well together. We delegate who decides what and we go from there. We discuss the lineup and what we want to do.”
Cabral handles the pitchers and the game situations and Pelletier has the benefit of dealing with the players on a regular basis because she is a teacher in the Greenville school system.
“She knows the kids and works with them,” Cabral said. “She also does a lot of the small, annoying things like the schedule.”
The Lakers, who went 14-4 and reached the Class D South final last year, finished 2018 with a 15-1 record. Greenville was all but assured the top seed ahead of eight-time Class D South titlist Richmond.
Greenville athletic director Andy Shaw is pleased with the softball coaching situation.
“It has been great. The girls have learned a lot,” said Shaw.
Richmond beat the Lakers 14-6 in the 2017 Class D South title game and Cabral said they are hoping for a rematch this season.
“We’ve had our sights on that since opening day. In last year’s game, we started five freshmen and two sophomores,” said Cabral, the former JV coach and hitting instructor at Foxcroft Academy in Dover-Foxcroft. “We didn’t start a senior in that game. We had a very young team.
“We were a little out of our comfort zone. It was a big game for our freshmen and sophomores. Now we have the same group and the year of experience will really help us. We’ve been there before and the girls know what to expect,” said Cabral.
Even though Greenville competes in Class D South, they play almost exclusively Class D and C North teams because they are in the Penobscot Valley Conference. Searsport, another Class D South team in the region, is the Lakers’ only Class D South opponent.
Greenville’s only loss came at the hands of Class C North contender Narraguagus of Harrington a 1-0 setback they avenged with an 8-1 triumph representing Narraguagus’ only loss.
Shaw said the school decided three years ago to leave the East-West Conference to join the PVC and it has paid dividends with a more challenging schedule.
“Playing weaker teams doesn’t prepare you for the playoffs,” Cabral said. “You don’t want the playoffs to be the first time you see a tough team.
“We’ve matched up well with Narraguagus last year and this year. They give us very good games and that has brought out the best in us. We know going into those games that we have to play very well.”
Greenville has outscored its opponents 172-40.
Sophomore Halle Pelletier has done most of the pitching and older sister Lily Pelletier is the other pitcher.
Cabral holds a number of pitching clinics and worked with the Pelletier sisters before coming to Greenville.
“Halle throws heat but she also has a lot of movement on her pitches. It’s hard to make good solid contact against her,” said Cabral.
Sophomore Bianca Breton (.528 batting average) has been the offensive catalyst while learning a new position. She had been the catcher but moved to shortstop when senior Sierra Bussell got hurt. Bussell serves as the designated hitter.
Senior Shelby Cowin, a skiing state champion who missed all of last season due to a knee injury suffered while skiing, has been behind the plate. Sophomore Tiegan Murray is the first baseman, junior Emily Vraux is at second and the third baseman is junior Jordan Mann.
Three speedy players who are infielders by trade are starting in the all-sophomore outfield which collectively hasn’t made an error.
Sophomore Aleya Pelletier, the other sister, starts in left, Jessica Pomerleau, the cornerstone of the outfield, starts in center and Morgan Noyes is the right fielder.
Leadoff hitter Pomerleau has a high on-base percentage and is their top base-stealer and Aleya Pelletier has swung the bat well of late.