Taylor Lewis was a highly-touted baseball prospect coming out of Montville, Conn.
He actually garnered considerable attention as a football player, including being recruited by Boston College.
The sophomore outfielder appears to be settling in during the University of Maine baseball team’s southern trip.
Lewis has registered 10 hits in his last 10 official at-bats dating back to Saturday’s victory over Rhode Island. He has reached base safely 12 consecutive times.
“Taylor’s coming into what we thought he could be,” said Black Bears coach Steve Trimper. “He’s running the bases well, playing an outstanding center field.”
Lewis on Monday was named the America East Player of the Week.
In Monday’s 17-8 victory over Pennsylvania, he went 3-for-3 with two RBIs, three runs scored and three stolen bases.
During his streak, he has racked up six singles, three triples and a home run with seven RBIs. Lewis also has scored eight runs and stolen four bases.
Lewis, a 5-foot-11, 185-pound speedster, leads the Bears in batting average (.465), runs scored (13), RBIs (15), triples (5) and stolen bases (4).
“With a little bit of confidence, which he’s got right now, he has the potential to be the best player in the conference,” Trimper said. “He’s doing the job right now.”
Last season, Lewis hit .282 with two home runs and 12 RBIs in 35 games, including 18 starts.
Bears’ Latta digging down deep
UMaine’s Justin Latta has emerged as a key member of the pitching staff early in his senior season.
The righthander from Lubbock, Texas, has been outstanding, leading the Bears’ staff with a 3-0 record and a 2.25 earned run average.
Latta has already made seven appearances in UMaine’s first 11 games, giving up only nine hits and four runs in 16 innings. He has struck out 18 and walked eight and opponents are batting .161 against him.
“He’s pitched back-to-back [days] three times this week,” Trimper said of the 6-foot, 200-pounder. “He’s gone multiple innings. He’s really been a stopper.”
Latta, a transfer from Midland College (Texas) in 2007, appeared in only five games for the Bears last season. He has found a new life because of an overhaul to his delivery.
UMaine assistant coach Aaron Izaryk, who worked with a sidearm pitcher while coaching the Sanford Mainers of the New England College Baseball League last summer, convinced Latta to convert to a sidearm or submarine style during the offseason.
Latta, who is still trying to perfect his mechanics, has hit eight batters. However, Trimper expects him to continue to refine his mechanics as he becomes more comfortable.
“He’s really bought into it,” Trimper said. “To his credit, he’s worked extremely hard.”
Latta also can be utilized often, because he experiences only minimal arm strain with a delivery not unlike that of a softball pitcher.