Garrett Bernardo, the son of former University of Maine All-American Rick Bernardo, is among six players who have signed National Letters of Intent to play baseball at UMaine beginning in the fall of 2011.
Black Bears coach Steve Trimper on Tuesday announced the signings of Sam Balzano of Portland, Bernardo, Brian Doran, Dan Gordon, Scott Heath of Westbrook and Luke Morrill of Rockland.
The class is expected to bolster the UMaine squad in several areas as the group includes two outfielders, two infielders and two pitchers.
Bernardo actually becomes the third member of his family to make the UMaine roster. His older brother Nick joined the team last fall and their father starred for the Bears from 1983-86 and still ranks among the top hitters in program history.
Garrett Bernardo, an infielder for La Salle Institute in Troy, N.Y., batted .333 with 17 RBIs and 22 runs scored as a junior. He hit seven doubles, a triple and a home run while stealing nine bases en route to inclusion on the Troy Record All-Star Team.
“Garrett is an athletic player who will have the ability to play multiple positions throughout the infield for us,” Trimper said in a press release.
Balzano played for former UMaine player and assistant coach Mike Coutts at Deering High in Portland. He hit .396, scored 23 runs and stole 16 bases for the Rams last spring. Balzano, who had a 3-1 pitching record, chose UMaine over Rhode Island.
“With his speed, he has the potential to be a great leadoff hitter and a center fielder that can really run down balls,” Trimper said.
Doran is an outfielder from Barrie, Ontario, who was the No. 5 pro prospect for 2011 Canada Baseball. He played for Team Ontario in the 2010 Canada Cup and also is on the 35-man roster for the Canadian National Team.
He chose the Bears over Oakland University, Western Michigan and Central Michigan.
“Brian will help us out tremendously both at the plate and in the outfield,” Trimper said. “He has the tools to be an impact player…”
Gordon heads to UMaine out of Barrie Central Collegiate Institute, where he is the 18th-ranked pro prospect by the Canadian Baseball Network. Gordon is a lefthanded pitcher who is expected to be a key component to the 2012 team.
“Dan is a pitcher with a very high ceiling,” Trimper said.
Heath, a righthanded pitcher, was named the most valuable player in the Telegram League last spring after compiling a 6-0 record and a .477 batting average at Westbrook High. Heath, who also plays first base, chose UMaine over Wake Forest, North Carolina-Greensboro and Elon.
“Scott is a two-way guy for us where he will be able to help out as a lefthanded pitcher and a hitter,” Trimper said.
Morrill is a 6-foot-4 shortstop out of Rockland High School. He is a lefthanded hitter who has considerable versatility.
“He is a big, physical kid who will only get better with experience,” Trimper said.