There hasn’t been a tremendous amount of buzz surrounding the members of this year’s University of Maine baseball team, but a few players could wind up having an opportunity to play professionally.
Major League Baseball’s first-year player draft moved into its second day Friday with right-handed pitcher Tommy Lawrence still the most highly touted of the Black Bears.
Lawrence completed his senior season at UMaine last month with an 8-5 record and a 3.18 earned run average. He gave up 100 hits in 104 ⅔ innings, striking out 97 and walking 29. Opponents batted .248 against him.
“I’d be shocked if someone doesn’t pick him up,” UMaine head coach Steve Trimper said. “If they don’t draft him, I think someone will sign him to a free-agent contract.”
Lawrence was expected to be drafted in 2013, but he did not receive a call during or after the completion of the draft.
This season, he won six straight starts at one point. His 97 strikeouts rank third all time in a season at UMaine. Lawrence’s innings pitched are the second most in school history.
Trimper said there also has been some interest from pro scouts in UMaine senior shortstop Troy Black and first baseman and designated hitter Scott Heath of Westbrook, who will be a senior in the fall.
The California Angels also reportedly sent a scout to Bangor to take a look at Bangor High School right-hander Justin Courtney, who has committed to attend UMaine in the fall.
The Black Bears’ incoming recruiting class also could possibly take a big hit. Right-handed pitcher Chris Murphy of Billerica, Massachusetts, has come on strong during his senior season and reportedly has attracted considerable attention from big-league organizations.
The 6-foot-4, 260-pounder already has a pro frame and a lot of up side.
Summer assignments set
The returning members of the UMaine baseball team will spend the summer spread across the continent while competing in collegiate wooden-bat leagues.
Sophomore right-handed pitcher Jeff Gelinas of Saco will be the Black Bears’ only player in the Cape Cod Baseball League, as he has hooked on with the Chatham Anglers. Heath and sophomore outfielder Lucien Della Fera, who is expected to compete for the starting center field job, are playing for the Bellingham (Washington) Bells of the Far West League.
Closer to Orono, senior outfielder Sam Balzano, junior pitcher Jake Marks and incoming junior college transfer Kevin Stypulkowski will team up with former UMaine star and assistant coach Aaron Izaryk with the Sanford Mainers of the New England Collegiate Baseball League.
The Black Bears representatives in the Futures Collegiate Baseball League will include sophomore outfielder Jake Osborne (Old Orchard Beach), junior pitchers Charlie Butler and Logan Fullmer (Worcester), junior catcher Jonathan Salcedo (Brockton), sophomore first baseman Anthony Capuano of Bangor (Torrington) and junior first baseman Brenden Geary (Pittsfield, Massachusetts).
Senior outfielders Brian Doran and Steven Adam, senior pitcher Jacob Gosselin-Deschesnes and sophomore catcher Patrick Coughlin all are playing summer ball in their native Canada. Sophomore pitcher Chris Piteo is with the Quincy Gems in the Central Illinois Collegiate League. Senior infielder and pitcher Luke Morrill of South Thomaston is not playing this summer.
Incoming freshmen Danny Diaz and Bobby Brennan are on rosters in the South Florida Collegiate Baseball League.