Saturday, May 18, 2013
It seemed just a matter of time before Rocky Gaslin would coach the Cony High School softball team to a state championship. In his eight years as head coach, the Rams have been in the mix each season, losing the state title game in 2006.
This year, the Rams wouldn’t be denied. They capped off an unbeaten season with a 2-0 win against South Portland to win their first Class A state title since 1983. For his efforts, Gaslin has been named Kennebec Journal Softball Coach of the Year. Monmouth Academy’s Rachel Bernier was also considered.
Gaslin captained both the hockey and football teams at Cony where he graduated in 1978 and served as an assistant coach in football shortly after graduating. But once he had daughters he gravitated toward softball, beginning at the T-ball level 24 years ago.
“I was a dad coach for quite a few years,” he said.
Gaslin climbed the youth softball ladder, eventually coaching the Capital Maineiacs, a team that won five state age-group championships and went to three national tournaments.
“I really enjoyed it,” Gaslin said. “I enjoyed the game. It seemed like I was always learning, especially at the national level. I’d stay around and watch games all day.”
For the first time in many years, Gaslin didn’t coach a travel team last summer.
“I think after awhile the kids get tired of you,” he said.
It didn’t show up on the field this year as the Rams waltzed through the regular season then squeaked out some close victories in the playoffs.
“He’s been in a softball atmosphere since his daughters were young and he definitely knows the game,” Cony catcher Nicole Rugan said. “He stays after practice and is always open for help and anything that you need.”
Gaslin is quick to acknowledge his assistants, Travis Brennan, Ray Beaudoin and his wife Barbara..
“It’s not just me,” he said. “Travis takes care of the infield and motivates the kids, Ray is the hitting coach and Barbara works the kids out. She’s like the mother of the team. Everyone’s got a role which is great.”
Gaslin owns Rocky’s Stove Shop which makes it easy for him to coach a sport since business slows down that time of year.
“I had to kind of give up hockey,” he said. “It’s a bad time of year.”
He sensed the team would go far during preseason practices and scrimmages, particularly after the Rams split a pair of games with defending state champion Scarborough. The Rams returned most of their lineup and added a pair of quality players in freshman Arika Brochu and junior Sonja Morse, who pitched a one-hitter in the state title game.
“He has really good knowledge for softball,” Morse said. “We were able to absorb that.”
Gary Hawkins — 621-5638