Twins Justin Leisenheimer and Ian Leisenheimer were prepared to forgo their final season of baseball eligibility at the University of Maine.
Having both of them in college simultaneously put a financial strain on their family, so with their academic work scheduled to be done in December, they had contemplated leaving school after the fall semester.
Instead, the senior sluggers from Middle Village, N.Y., will return to provide experience and leadership for coach Steve Trimper’s Black Bears.
“We were able to get them on scholarship and help them out,” Trimper said. “I think they wanted to come back all along, it’s just that financially paying for school is not always easy.”
The departure this summer of professional signees Taylor Lewis and Keith Bilodeau freed up some extra scholarship money that will defray the Leisenheimers’ costs during 2011-12.
“That’s really the only thing that was stopping us from coming back,” Justin Leisenheimer said Tuesday. “(Coach Trimper) definitely came up with some finances for us, which helped out a lot.”
Justin Leisenheimer began his summer with a stint at Chatham of the Cape Cod Baseball League, then wound up playing for Sanford of the New England Collegiate Baseball League. With the Mainers, he batted .355 in 17 regular-season games with a home run, five doubles and 12 runs batted in.
That success helped motivate him for his return to UMaine.
“I’m real excited,” he said. “This summer I did a lot of thinking and I was able to get myself psyched up for the season.”
Last season, the rugged first baseman batted .309 with a team-leading eight homers and 25 RBIs. He also was outstanding on defense.
Leisenheimer said Ian spent the summer rehabilitating his troubled right arm and coached with the Midville Dodgers’ U-18 summer baseball team.
Ian Leisenheimer, who split time between designated hitter and left field for the Bears in 2011, hit .313 with two homers and 13 RBIs in 2010.
Fransoso to avoid more surgery
UMaine shortstop Michael Fransoso breathed a huge sigh of relief Tuesday when he was told by Dr. Thomas Byrd that he will not require further surgery to address lingering problems with his hips.
In a text message from Nashville, Tenn., the Bears’ junior from Portsmouth, N.H., said he instead received a cortisone injection that should help with swelling and pain in the short term.
Fransoso, who underwent surgery on Jan. 5 to repair a bone defect in his right hip, went through accelerated rehabilitation and got the OK to return to the UMaine lineup in March during the spring trip to Florida.
Trimper, who spoke with Fransoso on Tuesday evening, said rest and further rehab should help alleviate future issues.
“(The right hip) was just weak and because of that he was compensating for it with everything else (the left side),” Trimper said. “Now, we’ll probably just get him on a full strengthen-his-body plan rather than a baseball-playing plan. We’re going to really take it easy on him.”
Trimper said he and the staff will limit Fransoso in some areas to make sure he regains the strength and mobility he needs to be healthy on and off the field.
Fransoso was an All-America East second-team choice at shortstop last spring after batting .316 with five homers, 33 RBIs and a team-high 16 doubles. He also stole 19 bases.
UMaine field hockey 3rd in AE poll
Just like its women’s soccer counterpart, the UMaine field hockey team has been picked to finish in a tie for third in the America East Conference preseason coaches poll.
Boston University got the nod as the top team in the league, gaining three first-place votes and 23 points, followed by defending champion Albany (two first-place votes, 21 points).
Coach Josette Babineau’s Black Bears and New Hampshire (1) tied for third with 16 points, while Fairfield and Vermont finished deadlocked in fifth place with seven points.
UMaine went 13-6 in 2010, good for a fourth-place finish. The Bears bowed out in the first round of the playoffs a year ago.
UMaine returns six starters and 12 letterwinners from last year’s squad.