MCI grad excelling in dual role for USM

Posted May 13, 2009, at 9:42 p.m.

St. Albans’ Andrew deBerthune is a reliever in two different senses for the University of Southern Maine’s baseball team.

He has been one of the key components in a deep and busy bullpen that has led the Huskies to a 35-7 season and No. 2 seeding in the NCAA Division III New England Regional Tournament.

He is also in the school’s athletic training program and has been extremely helpful in that area when the school’s trainers can’t travel with the team. It has been a valuable learning tool for him.

“And the kids have a lot of faith in him [as a trainer],” said University of Southern Maine coach Eddie Flaherty.

“If they need something, I can help them out. It’s been nice. And it has really helped me out,” said deBerthune, who graduated from Maine Central Institute in Pittsfield.

DeBerthune said he takes some good-natured ribbing from his teammates about his athletic training and he has learned a lot from the training staff at USM which includes Matt Gerken, Nick Van Vught and Melanie Campbell.

On the mound, deBerthune is 2-0 with a 3.43 earned run average in 17 appearances, all in relief. He has struck out 13, walked 10 and hit five batters over 21 innings. He has given up just one homer and opponents are hitting only .218 against him. He is used in middle relief.

Last season, he was 4-2 with a 5.18 ERA spanning 40 innings and 25 appearances. Opponents hit .285 against him and belted four homers. He struck out 25 and walked 12.

He said pitching fewer innings this season has benefited his arm.

“It feels a lot better,” said deBethune who throws a two-seam fastball, a slider and a change-up. “My two-seam fastball is my bread-and-butter pitch. It has good movement. It runs down and in [on right-handed hitters]. I threw a curve last year but I also developed a slider and the slider has been working a lot better this year. I started throwing a circle changeup my sophomore year in high school and I finally got a real good feel for it last year. I like to use it on lefties.”

“When his fastball is working, he induces a lot of ground balls,” said Flaherty. “He has done a good job for us. He is a great kid who has a very mature attitude.”

Flaherty also said deBerthune is durable.

“He can pitch three days in a row….30 pitches [per outing],” said Flaherty.

deBethune was a starting pitcher in high school and American Legion baseball but he prefers relieving.

“When you’re a starter, you have to gear up just once a week. As a middle reliever, you have go gear up every day and I like that. It’s fun for me,” said deBethune.

The 5-foot-10, 180-pound deBethune transferred to USM two years ago from the University of Pittsburgh-Johnstown, where he was 1-1 with a 4.76 ERA in five appearances spanning 11¤ innings.

“I felt I needed to get out of Maine. But then I realized I loved Maine,” said deBethune. “I decided I wanted to be an athletic trainer and they didn’t have a major in it at Pittsburgh-Johnstown. I knew I was coming back to Maine so I looked at all the schools that offered it and USM had an excellent program.”

And it has turned out to be a perfect fit for him.

Huskies, Monks earn honors

The University of Southern Maine claimed several post-season honors including the Little East Conference’s Player of the Year Anthony D’Alfonso (.436, 8 homers, school-record 74 RBIs), Pitcher of the Year Tim Therrian (9-0, 3.48 ERA) and Coach of the Year Flaherty, who has now won the award five times in 13 years.

Among the award-winners was Penobscot’s Collin Henry, an ESPN the Magazine All-District 1 Academic team choice and a second team All-LEC pick as the designated hitter. He hit .335 with 5 homer and 53 RBIs.

Meanwhile, St. Joseph’s College’s Pat Moran of Winterport was the Great Northeast Athletic Conference Player and Pitcher of the Year. He hit .411 with 11 homers and 44 RBIs and was 8-1 on the mound with a 3.88 ERA, 75 strikeouts and seven walks in 62ª innings.

His 11 homers, .813 slugging percentage, eight wins and 75 strikeouts led the conference as did his league-fewest walks (7).

Hampden’s Ian Lee, Moran’s former Hampden Academy teammate, joined him on the All-GNAC first team as the Monks’ sophomore catcher hit a league-leading .475 and had a league-best 75 hits and 101 total bases. His 17 doubles tied for the league lead and his 52 RBIs were second-best.

St. Joseph’s lost to Suffolk University (Mass.) 15-6 in the GNAC championship game.

Sotskov new UMPI Nordic coach

The University of Maine-Presque Isle has hired nationally recognized Alexei Sotskov as its Nordic ski team coach.

Sotskov, who was born and raised in St. Petersburg, Russia, has spent his entire career coaching and mentoring Nordic skiers and has coached several U.S. national ski team members and Olympians.

Most recently, he served as the assistant athletic director and On-Snow Sports coordinator at Kimball Union Academy in Meriden, N.H.

He and his wife, Victoria Vinidiktova, have a son, Pavel, who was a member of the Dartmouth College Nordic team and will join the Maine Winter Sports Center Program as a Nordic skier next season.

UMPI’s Nordic ski team will compete in NCAA Division I for the first time next season.

Jia, Panthers going to NCAAs

Mount Desert junior Elliot Jia and partner Andrew Thompson comprise one of the Middlebury College Panthers’ doubles teams and Middlebury has advanced to the NCAA Division III quarterfinals with recent 5-0 wins over New York schools Skidmore and Ithaca.

They will take part in NCAA championship week in Claremont, Cal. beginning Tuesday.

Middlebury is 20-2 with 12 straight wins.

CBB football top in-state rivalry

Sporting News Magazine has chosen the CBB football rivalry between Colby, Bates and Bowdoin College as the state’s best rivalry.

The magazine selected the top intra-state rivalry at any level of sports in each of the 50 states.

The CBB championship, formerly known as the Maine State Series because the University of Maine was also involved, dates back to 1893. The University of Maine elevated its program and stopped playing in the series prior to the 1965 season which led to the formation of the current CBB.

Since that time, Bowdoin has won 18 titles, including three in a row, Colby has notched 14 and Bates has won eight.

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