The Midcoast proved a hotbed for tremendous high school baseball in the spring, with many teams experiencing degrees of success on the diamond.

Some made playoff runs, while others improved their records from the previous season. In a nutshell, some of the best high school baseball in the state was played in Knox, Waldo and Lincoln counties, and 24 players from that region are recognized for that as VillageSoup unveils its annual notables.

This year’s high school notables include Belfast’s Lew Dyer, Damien Benner and Greg Clark; Camden Hills’ Taylor Hall, Adam Landwehr, Isaac Grindle, Caleb McFarland, Keegan Pieri and Kyle Olehnik; Georges Valley’s Dylan Maloney, Brandon Knight, Drew Townsend and Bryant Matthews; Medomak Valley’s Isaac Durkee, Alex Greenrose and Isaac Greenrose; Mount View’s Adam Higgins; Searsport’s Rocky Faunce; Rockland’s Luke Morrill, Anthony Campagnoli, Joe Nelsen and Billy Joyce; and Vinalhaven’s Brian Stanley and Steven Osgood.

Faunce, Durkee, Dyer, Pieri, Morrill, Grindle, Nelsen, Knight, Matthews and Landwehr are seniors; Alex Greenrose, Isaac Greenrose, Campagnoli, Maloney, Joyce, Hall, Stanley, Olehnik and Osgood, juniors; McFarland, Benner and Townsend, sophomores; and Clark, a freshman. The grade for Higgins was unavailable. The Greenroses are identical twin brothers.

VillageSoup will name notables in all high school varsity sports where there are at least two Midcoast teams in that season playing an official varsity schedule. Student-athletes who will be considered for notable distinction can come from Belfast Area High School, Camden Hills Regional High School, Rockland District High School, Medomak Valley High School, Georges Valley High School, Vinalhaven High School, North Haven Community School, Islesboro Central School, Mount View High School and Searsport District High School.

In the spring, VillageSoup names notables in boys and girls tennis, baseball, softball and outdoor track and field.

Baseball is offered at Belfast, Camden Hills, Searsport, Georges Valley, Mount View, Rockland, Medomak Valley and Vinalhaven.

The criteria to become a Midcoast notable student-athlete begins with the VillageSoup sports department polling area coaches to provide a list of who they feel are their top student-athletes for that season, not necessarily a high school career. In this case, for baseball, Belfast’s George Ross, Camden Hills’ Jeff Hart, Georges Valley’s Don Shields, Medomak Valley’s Scott Hastings, Searsport’s Brad Cook, Mount View’s Chris Hink, Rockland’s Joe Nelsen and Vinalhaven’s Matt Slivinsky were polled for their nominations.

The notables are based on individual performances, although the strength of a team’s season may impact how many players from a specific team are selected.

In naming notables in a sport, VillageSoup is not trying to highlight every potentially deserving student-athlete from a given team, only to highlight the most consistently strong performers during a particular season in a particular sport. Obviously, with any such list of notables being subjective, it is possible not all those initially considered ultimately will make the final list of notables.

In addition, there usually is at least one representative from each school in a given sport, but that is not always the case. From that point, the rest of the notables could be a mix of student-athletes from many schools, or weighted heavily on one or two schools. Obviously, the more success a particular team was will, in some respects, dictate the number of potential notables it receives.

In most sports, the nomination process for a sport begins with the VillageSoup sports department polling area coaches to provide a list of what they feel are each respective team’s premier players for that season, not necessarily for a high school career. The notables are based on individual performances, although the strength of a team’s season may impact how many players from a specific team are selected.

A nomination only guarantees each candidate’s consideration, not ultimate notable status. While the input of each coach is weighed heavily with each candidate, the final decisions are made by VillageSoup Sports Director Ken Waltz and Associate Sports Director Mark Haskell.

Again, not all potential notables will ultimately become VillageSoup’s notables. Only those nominated by coaches and ultimately selected by the VillageSoup sports staff.

Belfast, competing in Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B, finished 4-12 and 16th in Eastern Class B. The Lions did not qualify for postseason play.

Camden Hills, competing in KVAC Class B, finished 12-4, earning the No. 6 seed in the Eastern Class B playoffs. The Windjammers fell to No. 3 Bucksport 5-4 in the quarterfinals.

Georges Valley, competing in the Mountain Valley Conference, finished 6-8 and 12th in Western Class C. The Buccaneers did not qualify for postseason play.

Medomak Valley, competing in KVAC Class B, finished 9-7 and 12th in Eastern Class B. The Panthers did not qualify for postseason play.

Mount View, competing in KVAC Class B, finished 2-14 and 17th in Eastern Class B. The Mustangs did not qualify for postseason play.

Rockland, competing in KVAC Class B, finished 10-6 and earned the the No. 8 seed in the Eastern Class B playoffs. The Tigers fell in the preliminary round of the playoffs 9-3 to No. 9 Old Town.

Searsport, competing in the Penobscot Valley Conference, finished 3-13 and 16th in Eastern Class C. The Vikings did not qualify for postseason play.

Vinalhaven, competing in the East-West Conference, finished 4-8 and sixth in Western Class D. The Vikings did not qualify for postseason play.

The following are the 2011 Villagesoup baseball notables, listed in alphabetical order:

Benner, a sophomore, thrived for Belfast as the team’s top pitcher and shortstop, proving to be one of the team’s top all-around players. Benner batted .319 and rapped seven doubles, but Benner’s true effectiveness came on the mound. Benner sported a 2.17 earned run average, struck out 31 batters in 33 innings of work and walked only nine. “He showed a great deal of poise for a young pitcher and we expect him to be a tremendous player in the future,” said coach Ross.

Campagnoli, a junior, played a utility role for Rockland and proved to be on the of the team’s more invaluable players. Campagnoli batted .289, rapped 12 hits, scored eight runs, had three RBIs and stole six bases. On the mound, Campagnoli went 1-1, logging 15 innings and striking out 17 batters. Campagnoli figures to be a major player next season for Oceanside High School.

Clark, a freshman, broke onto the scene for Belfast and thrived as both a middle infielder and at the plate. Clark, who played second base and also batted leadoff for the Lions, hit .386 and was tied for the team lead in hits (22). With only one year of varsity experience now under his belt, the sky could be the limit for Clark. “Greg has outstanding speed, and brings a determined work ethic, as well as tremendous skill to our program. He was a big spark for our team and has a tremendous career ahead of him,” said coach Ross.

Durkee, a senior, played seven of the nine positions on the field this season for Medomak Valley and played each well for coach Hastings. While most players would have a tough time not being able to settle into one position, Durkee took his assignments in stride and batted .333, including 19 hits (4 doubles), knocked in six runs and drew five walks. On the mound, Durkee went 2-3 with a 4.79 earned run average, striking out 14. Durkee was a team captain and a consummate teammate and “did whatever was asked of him,” said Hastings.

Dyer, a senior, led Belfast in batting average, which, in turn, helped him in garner KVAC second-team all-conference recognition. Dyer batted .415, was the team most valuable player and led the team in most offensive categories, including hits, runs, RBIs, doubles and triples. “Lew was the solid consistent part of our offense,” said coach Ross. “He hit in almost every game and in big situations. [He was] a fine defensive outfielder as well, and a great kid.”

Faunce, a senior, played catcher and also pitched for Searsport, proving along the way to be the team’s most valuable commodity. Faunce led the Vikings in home runs, RBIs and total bases, while tying for the team lead in both hits and doubles. He also was the winning pitcher in two of the team’s three victories. “Rocky was one of the best defensive catchers in the conference, respected by opposing coaches and was our team leader from behind the plate,” said coach Cook.

Alex Greenrose, a junior, pitched and played third base and thrived at the “hot corner” for the Panthers. He also wielded a big stick for the Panthers, batting .333 with 18 hits (6 doubles, 2 home runs) and 11 RBIs, leading the team in that category. Coach Hastings said Greenrose was by far this year’s power hitter, especially early on in the year. The first-year coach said Greenrose always was clutch and usually managed to find a way to come up with the big hit.

Isaac Greenrose, a junior, pitched and played left field for Medomak Valley and had a standout season batting out of the cleanup position. Greenrose led the team in batting average at .340, which included eight doubles, a home run and nine RBIs. On the mound Greenrose sported a 4-3 record with a 3.29 earned run average and struck out 27 batters. He also was the winning pitcher in the Panthers’ early-season upset victory over Waterville, which lost to only two teams all year en route to their second straight state Class B crown. Coach Hastings said teammates often fed off Greenrose’s play on the field and at the plate and he again will be a major player for the Panthers next season.

Grindle, a senior, was one of Camden Hills’ most consistent bats and proved it over the course of the season for coach Hart. Grindle ground out a .327 average, while collecting 18 hits (3 home runs, 3 doubles), had 15 RBIs and scored 14 runs. He also had a 1.000 fielding percentage with 17 putouts and two assists. He also was a second-team all-conference selection.

Hall, a junior, played right field for Camden Hills this season and also proved to be one of the team’s most consistent offensive performers over the course of the spring. Hall batted .405 and collected 17 hits (home run, three doubles), scored 13 runs and knocked in 15. He also had a 1.000 fielding percentage, had 19 putouts and one outfield assist. Hall figures to be one of the team’s most prominent offensive players next season as a senior for the Windjammers.

Higgins, of Mount View, played first base, pitched and batted more than .300 this season. Coach Hink said Higgins is one of the top defensive first baseman in the league, has a high rate of ball-bat contact and became a vocal leader on the team. Higgins’ crowing achievement this season was a complete-game victory on the hill against Rockland late in the season, striking out four, while yielding no walks. “He is committed to the game, as a result his play speaks for itself,” said Hink.

Joyce, a junior, played outfield and pitched for Rockland, proving to be a consistent contributor for the Tigers. Joyce batted .300, with 12 hits (2 doubles), eight runs and three stolen bases. Joyce also was a middle reliever for Rockland and tossed 15.5 innings this season, walking only three batters. Joyce’s 5.56 earned run average looks pedestrian, but much of that was due to “one bad inning against Maranacook,” according to coach Nelsen. He expects Joyce to take on a leadership role next season with Oceanside High School.

Knight, a senior, was a co-captain for Georges Valley this season and was the emotional leader of the team, as well as a great teammate, according to coach Shields. Knight played first base and batted .239 (11-of-46), hit one home run, scored 11 runs, was 11-of-13 in stolen bases opportunities and had a .352 on-base percentage. He also had a .955 fielding percentage, with only five errors out of 112 chances. He also had five relief appearances on the mound for the Bucs with one save, sporting a 3.23 earned run average.

Landwehr, a senior, was Camden Hills’ No. 1 hurler and had a terrific season at third base. Landwehr tossed 31.1 innings this season and had a 2.46 earned run average, allowing 18 runs (11 earned) and struck out 46 batters, including one complete-game shutout. At the plate, Landwehr batted .333, rapped 16 hits (home run, triple, 3 doubles), scored 14 runs and knocked in 12. He also had a .828 fielding percentage and was a KVAC first-team all-conference selection.

Maloney, a junior, proved to be one of Georges Valley’s top offensive standouts this season playing catcher, third base and pitcher, and also was the co-MVP of the team. Maloney led the Bucs in average at .429 (18-of-42), scored 18 runs, had nine RBIs, went 14-of-17 in stolen base attempts and had a .547 on-base percentage. He also had a .936 fielding percentage for the Bucs, Maloney played catcher for much of the first half of the year and thus did not pitch as often as coach Shields would have liked, but sported a 1-2 record with a 4.36 earned run average.

Matthews, a senior, played shortstop and pitcher this season for Georges Valley and was the co-MVP of the team. Matthews batted .289 (13-of-45), including one home run and 12 RBIs. He also was a perfect 13-of-13 in stolen base attempts, had a .396 on-base percentage and a .904 fielding percentage, committing only five errors all season. On the mound, Matthews had a 1-3 record with one save and a 5.45 earned run average. Coach Shields called Matthews a “great team leader [and a] solid player that any coach would love to have.”

McFarland, a sophomore, was a pleasant surprise to coach Hart, finishing second on the team in batting average (.415) and proving to be an integral part of the squad’s success. McFarland rapped 17 hits (4 doubles), knocked in 11 runs and scored six. He also had a .833 fielding percentage. McFarland often found himself in the middle of game-winning rallies, coming up with clutch hits. He figures to be a significant contributor to the ‘Jammers over the next two seasons.

Morrill, a senior, was the stick by which all Midcoast baseball players were measured yet again this season, proving to be perhaps the best player in the area at the plate, in the field and on the mound. Morrill, who has a scholarship to attend Division I University of Maine to play baseball, batted a whopping .489, with 19 hits (7 doubles, triple, 3 home runs), scored 24 runs, had 19 RBIs and swiped 16 bases. He also had seven intentional walks for the Tigers. Morrill also was the ace of the pitching staff with a 2.16 earned run average and a 4-2 record though 29.1 innings. He allowed 19 hits, walked 19 and struck out 46. Morrill was also a first-team all-conference selection and also participated in the 2011 East/West Senior All-Star game and other all-star events.

Nelsen, a senior, played first base and pitched for Rockland and proved to be a valuable asset, earning a first-team all-conference selection for his efforts in the field and at the plate. Nelsen batted .398 and was tied for the team lead in hits with 19 (4 doubles, 2 triples, 2 home runs), knocked in 19 runs and scored 14. On the mound, Nelsen was 2-1 with one save and a 4.11 earned run average through 18.1 innings. Coach Nelsen said his son did a tremendous job at first base after being the team’s primary catcher for the past few seasons. “In my opinion, I saw no one better at first base defensively.” Nelsen also participated in the 2011 East/West Senior All-Star Game.

Olehnik, a junior, thrived as the team’s backstop this season for Camden Hills and also proved to be one of the team’s top base stealers. Olehnik batted .333, with 13 hits (double, triple), 14 RBIs and 10 runs. He also was a perfect 10-of-10 in stolen base attempts and had a .991 fielding percentage, with only four passed balls all season.

Osgood, a junior, was one of Vinalhaven’s top players and played all over the diamond for the Vikings. Osgood figures to continue in that role for the islanders next season. Complete season statistics for Osgood were unavailable.

Pieri, a senior, played first base for Camden Hills and also proved to be one of the team’s top offensive threats. Pieri batted .421, with 16 hits (3 doubles, triple), 15 runs and nine RBIs. Pieri also had a .967 fielding percentage, recording 87 putouts, with only three errors.

Stanley, a junior, was one of Vinalhaven’s top players and played all over the diamond for the islanders. Stanley figures to continue in that role for the islanders next season. Complete season statistics for Stanley were unavailable.

Townsend, a sophomore, played catcher and center field for Georges Valley and proved to be the team’s most improved player, according to coach Shields. Townsend batted .400 (16-of-40), including one home run, scored 19 runs, had seven RBIs, was 13-of-16 in stolen base attempts and had a .547 on-base percentage. He also had a .957 fielding percentage (only two errors), threw out 6-of-18 base stealers from behind the plate and was a all-conference outfielder for the Bucs.

Village NetMedia Associate Sports Director Mark Haskell can be reached at 207-594-4401 or by email at mhaskell@villagesoup.com.