When Tayla Trask visited Saint Anselm College in Manchester, N.H., over the summer, there was an instant connection.
So when the Division II institution offered the Mattanawcook Academy senior pitcher a softball scholarship, she couldn’t resist.
“As soon as I stepped on campus when I went to visit, I knew that’s where I really wanted to go,” said Trask, who will play softball for the Hawks on a softball scholarship next fall. “I fell in love with the school, the softball was just a bonus.”
Trask, who helped lead the Lynx of Lincoln into the Eastern Maine Class B championship game last spring, also considered Husson University in Bangor.
Saint Anselm first generated interest in Trask over the summer when she was pitching for the Maine Tidal Wave, coached by Terry Hall.
“Saint Anselm contacted (Hall) and was interested in me,” she said. “I gave them a schedule of my summer tournaments and they came and watched me in the summer and I met (coach Greg Joseph).”
One of the main things that attracted Trask to Saint Anselm’s program was Joseph’s desire.
“He was all about winning and doing everything he could to win and I liked his positive attitude,” said Trask, who will major in pre-medical biology. “He was very upbeat and said I could do a lot for his program.”
Saint Anselm posted an 18-25-1 record last season and is 6-3 through nine games this year.
Trask, who signed her National Letter of Intent in November, has been working on developing her offspeed pitches a lot more, since she knows she can’t rely heavily on a fastball at the college level.
“I’m really working on my riseball and breaking pitches, getting them to where they need to be for college,” she said. “My pitching coach (Bob Mercer) and I have been working on not only getting me ready for the senior season but getting me ready for college.”
Trask and her Lynx should be among the contenders in Eastern Maine Class B again this spring, and Mattanawcook will certainly be motivated after losing in the regional final to Hermon.
“There hasn’t been a day where we haven’t talked about that game,” she said. “We’re ready to get back out there. That game definitely brought us closer as a team. We’re all fighting to get back on top.”
Even though Saint Anselm is located in Manchester, New Hampshire’s largest city, Trask liked the small-town feeling the campus offers.
“It’s like a little remote area, the campus isn’t too big,” she said. “I definitely wanted to have a (close) relationship with my teachers and be on a first-name basis with them and stuff like that.”
Trask feels fortunate that she has picked a school, and now her main focus is on her senior season at Mattanawcook.
“We’re focused and we’re ready to get back out there. We’ve just got to get rid of all the snow first,” she said. “I don’t have to worry about impressing any coaches, I can just do my thing and focus on a state championship.”
Sportsmanship banners awarded
While eight gold balls were handed out in high school basketball over the weekend, four Eastern Maine girls teams also received good sportsmanship banners.
Among them were the Hampden Academy girls in Class A, who won the program’s first regional championship in over 30 years before falling in 39-23 to Catherine McAuley of Portland in Saturday’s state final in Augusta.
That was quite a turnround for Hampden’s seniors, who were 2-16 as freshmen before finishing this season with a 19-3 record.
Coincidentally, McAuley took home the West’s sportsmanship banner in Class A.
The other sportsmanship winners in the Eastern Maine girls ranks were Hermon in Class B, Houlton in Class C and Bangor Christian in Class D.
The other recipients in the West were Lake Region of Naples in Class B, Traip Academy of Kittery in Class C and Seacoast Christian of South Berwick in Class D.