The BDN is making the most crucial coverage of the coronavirus pandemic and its economic impact in Maine free for all readers. Click here for all coronavirus stories. You can join others committed to safeguarding this vital public service by purchasing a subscription or donating directly to the newsroom.
Jackson Coutts got off to a torrid start this spring during his junior season at the University of Rhode Island.
The former Orono High School star was leading the Rams with a .451 batting average, including seven doubles and four home runs. That was in only 13 games.
What might have been a memorable season ended abruptly when the spring college sports season was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
With some extra time to think about his career and his life, Coutts decided to take a significant step for his future and pursue a professional baseball career.
That dream became a reality on Monday when he signed a free-agent contract with the defending World Series champion Washington Nationals.
Coutts may well have been selected in the major league draft held last week, but Major League Baseball cut the process to only five rounds instead of the usual 40 because of COVID-19.
Coutts is the son of University of Maine softball head coach Mike Coutts and former Black Bears softball coach Lynn Coutts, who is now deputy director of athletics for student-athlete excellence at the University of Denver.
The left-handed batter earned the John Winkin Award as Maine’s Mr. Baseball, the top senior high school player in the state, in 2017.
Coutts capped his coronavirus-shortened career at Rhode Island ranked 14th in Division I in batting average and was ninth in slugging percentage (.824), 11th in hits per game (1.77) and 12th in doubles per game (0.54).
His abbreviated 2020 season included 23 hits, 15 runs scored and 12 runs batted in with a .525 on-base percentage.
Coutts posted a .302 career batting average for the Rams with nine homers, 62 RBIs and 23 doubles in 107 games.
Coutts, who also played football and basketball at Orono, ended his high school baseball career in dramatic fashion. In the 2017 Class C state championship game against Lisbon, Coutts’ leadoff double in the bottom of the seventh inning ignited a four-run rally for a 4-3 victory at Mansfield Stadium in Bangor.
Coutts also pitched a four-hitter with 10 strikeouts, a walk and a hit batter.