Senior East, West stars to battle tonight

Posted June 24, 2010, at 10:54 p.m.

      Mark Rogers of Mount Ararat High School of Topsham became a first-round draft pick of the Milwaukee Brewers, and after an injury-plagued introduction to professional baseball is now working his way up the minor league ranks.

Ryan Flaherty of Deering of Portland, Greg Creek of Maranacook of Readfield and Matt Kinney of Bangor also joined the professional ranks after winning the John W. Winkin Award symbolic of the state’s “Mr. Baseball.”

One of four recently graduated high school standouts will become the 19th member of that exclusive club tonight, when the 2010 Winkin Award is presented prior to the Larry Mahaney Senior All-Star Classic, set for a 7 p.m. start at Mahaney Diamond on the campus of the University of Maine in Orono.

Ryan Leach of Hall-Dale of Farmingdale, Lincoln Sanborn of Bonny Eagle of Standish, Matt Verrier of Oxford Hills of South Paris and Eric White of Brewer are the final contenders for the honor, which has honored the top senior player in the state annually since Steve Coombs of Lee Academy was the inaugural recipient in 1992.

All four finalists boast healthy statistical resumes.

Leach, the only non-Class A finalist this year, batted .639 this spring while leading coach Eric Brown’s Bulldogs to an 8-6 record in Western Maine Class C.

Leach had six doubles, three triples, three home runs and 14 RBIs while drawing 20 walks and striking out just four times in 58 plate appearances.

Leach, a shortstop, also pitched for Hall-Dale, compiling a 1-2 record with a 3.20 earned run average with 32 strikeouts and 18 hits allowed in 19ª innings.

Sanborn, the son of Saint Joseph’s College baseball coach Will Sanborn, received the Edson Hadlock Award this spring as the most valuable pitcher in the Southern Maine Activities Association.

Sanborn went 6-0 with one save and a 1.41 ERA for Bonny Eagle during the regular season. He struck out 49 batters over 44ª innings, and pitched six complete games for the Scots, who ranked third in the final Western A Heal points before ending its season with a 10-7 record after being eliminated by Windham in the regional quarterfinals.

Sanborn also batted .260 with five doubles for coach Marc Sawyer’s club.

Verrier led Oxford Hills to a 19-2 record and the Class A championship, the Vikings first state title since 2005.

The fourth-year starter at catcher, who has accepted a scholarship to play baseball at the University of Maine, batted .460 for coach Shane Slicer’s club this spring with two home runs, 28 RBIs, 17 walks and just four strikeouts.

Verrier previously was named the 2010 Maine Gatorade Baseball Player of the Year.

White, the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class A player of the year as a junior, spearheaded Brewer’s drive to a 14-5 record and a berth in the Eastern Maine Class A championship game this spring.

The third-baseman, a four-year starter for the Witches, batted .563 this season with one home run, eight doubles, four triples and 12 RBIs for coach Dana Corey’s squad.

White also walked 14 times and struck out just twice while batting third in the Brewer lineup.

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