UMPI in midst of tough start

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Posted April 07, 2010, at 10:27 p.m.

The University of Maine-Presque Isle had two baseball games snowed out this season.

That’s certainly not unusual.

But the games were scheduled to be played in Virginia and Tennessee.

That is the type of year it has been for coach Leo Saucier and his bus/van jockeys.

The Owls play their first 30 games on the road before hosting SUNY Canton April 24-25 for their lone four-game home series of the season.

“In my six years coaching here, we’ve played over 200 road games and 14 home games,” pointed out Saucier.

The Owls are 2-15 and the season has had its share of oddities.

An eight-game trip to the south was wiped out by snow but Saucier said athletic director Bill Casavant told him to take the team and go anyway and find some games.

Saucier was grateful for the opportunity and they were able to squeeze in five games in February.

They went on another trip to Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey before last weekend’s three games at Colby College in Waterville.

Saucier had high expectations for this season after last year’s 11-5 record in the Sunrise Conference and second-place finish. They were 13-25 overall.

But after losing five pitchers and one of his top returning hitters to academics after the fall semester, Saucier considers this to be a “transition year.”

“We still should be able to compete in our conference, especially when we have our top pitchers going. We’d like to finish in at least second,” said Saucier, whose Owls were the only conference team to beat champion Fisher College (Mass.) in six years.

Saucier has just 16 players but he expects a much larger roster next season.

“We should have in the mid-20s next year, maybe even more,” said Saucier.

They have some quality players in pitcher and designated hitter Corey Harding from Plymouth, a senior, and senior co-captains Tyler Delaney from Truro, Nova Scotia, and D.J. Charette from Millinocket. They were all-conference selections a year ago.

Delaney, who is making the move from second base to shortstop, is hitting .321 with four doubles and nine runs batted in. He leads the team in all three categories.

First baseman Charette is hitting .304 with seven RBIs and Harding is at .235 with three doubles and six RBIs.

Hodgdon’s Seth Dorr (.244) is the second baseman and New Gloucester freshman Cody Humphrey is at third.

Bradley junior Corey Fournier is in left, Dalhousie, New Brunswick, native Stephen Thorne is in center and Stoneham’s Jake Fillebrown is in right. Thorne and Fillebrown are freshmen.

The catchers are freshmen Chris Cosenze from Old Town and Josh Conroy from Dover-Foxcroft.

Harding headlines the pitching rotation. He is joined by Fillebrown, Thorne and Fort Fairfield freshman Ian Towle. Another Fort Fairfield product, junior Brian Andrews, also seeds mound duty as does Washburn junior Clint Carter.

Houlton’s Ryan Hill and Levant’s Brian Saucier are infielders and Bingham’s James Cirell can catch or play the outfield. Cirell is a junior, Hill is a sophomore and Saucier is a freshman.

Delaney, Charette, Conroy (.267), Dorr and Harding are the only hitters hitting over .234.

Thorne and Towle have picked up the pitching wins.

UMPI visits Castleton State on Friday.

Hobey Baker Award on ESPNU

University of Maine hockey fans can watch the Hobey Baker Award presentation on Friday at 7 p.m. on ESPNU-TV. The presentation will be broadcast from Ford Field in Detroit.

UMaine sophomore Gustav Nyquist is one of three finalists for the award.

Nyquist was named to the Hobey Hat Trick last week along with New Hampshire’s Bobby Bulter and Wisconsin’s Blake Geoffrion.

Maine’s Scott Pellerin and Paul Kariya won the Hobey Baker Award in 1992 and ’93, respectively.

The Frozen Four is in Detroit with the semifinals on Thursday and the national final on Saturday.

http://bangordailynews.com/2010/04/07/sports/umpi-in-midst-of-tough-start/ printed on August 27, 2014