Bernard gains Winkin Award

Posted June 27, 2009, at 12:30 a.m.

STANDISH, Maine — Chris Bernard had team-oriented goals on his mind when he began his senior season with the Scarborough High School baseball team.

He and the Red Storm largely achieved those goals, compiling a 14-5 record and advancing to the Western Maine Class A final before bowing to Deering of Portland.

Along the way, Bernard earned virtually every individual statewide award available, from Gatorade Player of the Year to Friday night selection’s as recipient of the 18th annual Dr. John Winkin Award symbolic of Maine’s 2009 Mr. Baseball.

Bernard was chosen from a field of four finalists that also included Pat Thibodeau, a pitcher-outfielder from Caribou; Scott Rogers, an outfielder from Mount Ararat of Topsham; and Nate Martin, an outfielder from Greely of Cumberland Center.

“It was a good pool of players that was up for the award, so I’m honored,” said Bernard, who plays first base when he’s not on the mound. “My biggest goals at the beginning of the year were to improve myself and help the team get as far as we could.”

Bernard was named most valuable pitcher and most valuable pitcher in the Southern Maine Activities Association after the regular season, when he struck out 67 batters in 48 innings while compiling a 0.88 ERA for coach Jim Cronin’s Red Storm.

He finished the spring with a 9-2 record.

The 6-foot-1, 190-pound Bernard joins an elite group of players selected to receive the Mr. Maine Baseball award as selected by the Maine Baseball Coaches Association, although he becomes the first Western Maine player to win the award since Ryan Flaherty of Deering in 2005.

The last three recipients were Collin Henry of George Stevens Academy in Blue Hill in 2006, Jarrett Lukas of Old Town in 2007 and Kyle Stilphen of Gardiner in 2008.

Bernard has accepted a scholarship to join the baseball program at the University of Maine next season, and will spend much of his summer working to prepare himself for the Black Bears’ fall program.

“I want to get bigger and stronger,” said Bernard, who pitched a scoreless first inning during Friday night’s Larry Mahaney Senior All-Star Classic at Saint Joseph’s College. “I want to improve my conditioning, basically work on everything.”

Thibodeau, also bound for the University of Maine, was a four-year starter at Caribou who batted better than .500 each season as well as being a four-time all-conference choice. As a senior he batted .581 with four home runs, 24 stolen bases and 29 RBIs, a .658 on-base percentage and a .986 slugging percentage.

He also went 5-2 on the mound this spring with a 2.01 earned run average and 38 strikeouts in 33 innings pitched while leading the Vikings to a 13-5 record.

Rogers, a first-team Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class A West all-star, was a four-year starter who led Mount Ararat to a 10-7 record and a berth in the Eastern Maine Class A quarterfinals. The brother of 2004 Mr. Baseball Mark Rogers, Scott Rogers will continue his baseball career at Division II Southern New Hampshire University.

Martin, a center fielder, is an all-Western Maine Conference choice who established a career stolen-base record at Greely this spring while helping the Rangers win their second state championship in three years.

Also recognized during pregame ceremonies Friday night were the 2009 MEBCA assistant coaches of the year, Al Wilson of Skowhegan and Eric Higgins of Cape Elizabeth.

eclark@bangordailynews.net

990-8045

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