University of Maine pitcher Erin Bogdanovich, the 2016 America East Pitcher of the Year, has decided to hang up her spikes due to a recurring back ailment.

Bogdanovich originally injured her back and also suffered a concussion in a car accident during her senior year at South Portland High School.

She initially attended Stetson University in Florida but wasn’t cleared to play medically and decided to join her older sister Alexis at UMaine. She underwent back surgery during her freshman year at UMaine and developed into a top-line pitcher.

Bogdanovich led the Black Bears to the America East tournament championship and a berth in the NCAA tournament in 2016. She was the America East Pitcher of the Year, a first-team all-conference pick and the tournament’s Most Valuable Player.

She posted a 10-5 record with a 3.05 earned run average and 11 complete games two years ago. Last season, she was 7-12 with a 4.20 ERA but went 2-1 in the America East tournament despite tearing a muscle in her pitching hand in the tourney-opening 9-1 win over Hartford and having to pitch in pain.

Bogdanovich was a second team All-AE pick last spring.

She had expected to return for her senior season. “I suffered a freak accident getting ready for work this summer. I wound up in the hospital. I couldn’t walk or anything,” she said.

“It was definitely a very scary experience that I never want to go through again.”

Bogdanovich was told she could remain symptom free or “it could flare up at any time.”

She underwent physical therapy in the summer but didn’t pitch during fall practice and decided recently that it was too risky to keep playing.

“It’s a life-changing experience. Not having something to go to every day and being surrounded by the people you love has been hard. But I think it’s for the best and this team is amazing and can go very far this year,” said Bogdanovich.

Bogdanovich, who also been diagnosed with a herniated disk, is happy with her career.

“I wish it could have ended on a happier note,” said Bogdanovich, who noted that having the opportunity to play with her sister Alexis at the Division I level is one of her career highlights.

UMaine head coach Mike Coutts said he supports her decision.

“I would have loved to have had her this spring but it doesn’t make any sense for her to risk hurting herself (and suffering for the rest of her life),” said Coutts. “She has been fantastic for us. She has won a lot of big games. It’s going to be tough to replace her but, going forward, we’ll be OK.”

Bogdanovich will leave the university in December and is in the process of looking for a job. She will take one online class in the spring to complete her marketing degree.

Seasoned veterans Molly Flowers and Annie Kennedy, both seniors, and promising freshmen Kyleigh O’Donnell and Lilly Volk will comprise the pitching staff next spring.

Coutts announces recruiting class

Coutts has announced his 10-member recruiting class for 2018 and said it has the “potential to be the best class we’ve ever recruited at Maine.”

Coutts graduates eight players including four regulars along with pitchers Flowers and Kennedy.

He said every one of his recruits can make an impact.

“They’re very athletic and very versatile. Six of them can play shortstop. Two can catch, play shortstop and the outfield,” said Coutts.

Keely Clark of Yucaipa, California, and Kya Enos of Taunton, Massachusetts, can catch or play shortstop or the outfield, according to Coutts. Also committed are shortstop Kelby Drews of Hollywood, Florida, infielder Rebecca Findley of Seymour, Connecticut, outfielder-pitcher Emma Larke of Shelton, Connecticut, infielder Amanda MacBurnie of Toms River, New Jersey, outfielder Brianna Neely of Harleysville, Pennsylvania, pitcher Emily Reid of Dighton, Massachusetts, pitcher Gabrielle Siciliano of Simi Valley, California, and Gorham pitcher-shortstop Grace McGouldrick.

“One of the great things is they come from all over the place,” said Coutts. “We’ve expanded our recruiting base. People are interested in what is going on in Orono, Maine. And they’ve all played for quality travel programs.”

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