BANGOR, Maine — Justin Courtney is fortunate to have a Division I baseball program located 10 miles up the road.
That was one of the key considerations for the Bangor High School right-handed pitcher, who on Monday verbally committed to play at the University of Maine.
“It’s the perfect fit for me,” Courtney said Monday evening. “All my friends are going to be up there and all my family can come up and watch me play.”
Another member of the Black Bears’ 2014 recruiting class is another right-handed pitcher, Clay Conaway of Georgetown, Del., who also has committed to attend UMaine.
UMaine head coach Steve Trimper is prohibited from commenting about recruited student-athletes until the school has received a signed National Letter of Intent. The signing period takes place in November.
Courtney is a 6-foot-3, 190-pounder who was a standout for Bangor coach Jeff Fahey. Last spring, he posted a handful of mound victories to help the Rams reach the Eastern Maine Class A quarterfinals.
“ The perfect game he threw down to Mount Ararat was as dominant a pitching performance as I’ve seen in high school since Matt Kinney [of Bangor] or Mark Rogers [of Mount Ararat]. It was that good,” Fahey said.
“He’s got good control, he doesn’t walk many guys,” he added. “Psychologically, he’s always in the game.”
Courtney, who also is a key member of the Zone 1 runner-up Bangor Comrades American Legion team, features an 88 mph fastball but throws three other pitches.
“I throw a fastball, a cut fastball, a changeup and a curve,” said Courtney, who will receive scholarship money.
His goals are “to just keep developing all of my pitches and getting stronger so the transition to the next level will be easier.”
Courtney said he also had been recruited by Division I Bryant University and Holy Cross, in addition to some other schools. He said the UMaine staff has had an eye on him.
“I think I’ve been on the radar for a little while and this spring, just me taking off [with his success], I think that really sparked their interest,” he added.
“It should be a great time up there,” said Courtney, also a standout hockey player for Bangor who was a first-team All-Eastern Maine Class A selection last winter.
Fahey explained that Courtney combines talent, including making both pitching and hitting appear easy, with a poised demeanor.
“He’s a smart kid and he’s also baseball smart,” Fahey said. “He’s very even-tempered, mild-mannered.
Conaway also will hope to crack the UMaine pitching staff when he arrives in the fall of 2014.
He is a 6-4, 185-pounder out of DeMatha Catholic High School in Hyattsville, Md., who features a fastball in the 86-88 mph range.
Conaway reportedly also received scholarship offers from West Virginia, Delaware and Delaware State.
He also has excelled during the winter as a wrestler in the 182-pound division.
The participation of all student-athletes is contingent upon their admission to UMaine and compliance with NCAA eligibility guidelines.