ORONO, Maine — The University of Maine already features one of the most well-rounded baseball team facilities in the Northeast in Mahaney Diamond and the Mahaney Clubhouse.
By next fall, the Black Bears will have even more to brag about when fans and recruits visit the Orono campus.
The University of Maine System board of trustees on Monday approved construction of the Paul J. Mitchell Batting Pavilion. Funds for the $454,000 project were raised privately through the efforts of UMaine baseball head coach Steve Trimper and the athletic department, with support from some generous donors.
“It shows the support the program has from a great group of alumni and donors,” Trimper said. “It will allow us to not only teach our players in a better environment, but aid in recruiting when we bring in players to see the UMaine baseball program.”
The lead gift for the Mitchell Batting Pavilion was made by Stuart and Linda Price, Mitchell’s son-in-law and daughter.
Mitchell, brother of former U.S. Sen. George Mitchell, is the president and owner of GHM Agency Inc. in Waterville. Paul Mitchell also serves on the finance and facilities committee of the UMS board of trustees.
Other donors for the project include Kevin Mahaney, Tom Savage and Paul Hannigan.
“We really appreciate the generosity of Stuart and Linda Price and the entire Mitchell family, as well as longtime supporters Kevin Mahaney, Tom Savage and Paul Hannigan,” said UMaine athletics director Steve Abbott.
The building will house two indoor batting areas that can be used for baseball or softball. It will become an offshoot of Mahaney Clubhouse, extending into the space now occupied by UMaine’s outdoor batting cages.
“This is a great boost for our program,” Trimper said. “In the offseason, this facility will be invaluable. It will allow us to run our offseason hitting practices more effectively and efficiently and will give our players the chance to further develop their skills.”
Construction of the Mitchell Batting Pavilion is expected to begin this month and be completed sometime in August.
“In addition to benefiting our softball and baseball teams, the new facility will take considerable pressure off the Mahaney Dome, which is often our busiest training facility from October through March,” Abbott said.
He said the facility also will be available for young baseball and softball players from Greater Bangor.
“It will provide an outstanding venue for local kids to work on their batting,” Abbott said.
Heise signs with UMaine
UMaine women’s basketball head coach Richard Barron has announced that Anna Heise has signed a National Letter of Intent to attend the University of Maine and join the women’s basketball team beginning in the fall of 2012.
Heise, a 6-foot-3 forward/center from Halle, Germany, averaged 18.6 points and 10.2 rebounds with the SV Halle Lions junior team. She previously played for the U-16, U-18 and U-20 national squads in Germany, winning titles in 2007 and 2010.
“Anna Heise is a very skilled post who gives us a great low post scoring threat and a defender/rebounder who can bang on the blocks,” Barron said in a press release. “Anna also has a great outside shot extending beyond the 3-point line.”
The signing of Heise brings to nine the number of players who have signed to play at UMaine starting in the fall. She joins Michal Assaf (Ganey Tikva, Israel), Lauren Bodine (Louisville, Ky.), Chantel Charles (Hackney, London), Mikaela Gustafsson (Sodertalje, Sweden), Milica Mitrovic (Belgrade, Serbia), Sophie Weckström (Espoo, Finland), Brittany Wells (Indianapolis, Ind.) and Elizabeth Wood (Catlee, Va.).
“Coach Barron and his staff have completed an outstanding class this year,” Dan Bowmaker, president of BlueStar Europe Scouting Service, said in a prepared statement. “Loaded with some special talent from across Europe, these International players will, I am sure, work hard to return the investment that Maine has made in them. A very balanced group of players that will gel together to help propel Maine in the direction of further achievement.”
The eligibility of all student-athletes is contingent upon admission to the University of Maine and compliance with all NCAA rules, including registration with the NCAA Clearinghouse.