The 2020 high school baseball season was one of the first sporting casualties of COVID-19.
Colton Trisch continued working to develop his pitching skills throughout the year. Now, the Bangor High School junior is approaching what he hopes will be a return to the diamond for the Rams this spring — and his college baseball destination is already determined.
The 6-foot-1, 185-pound left-hander recently made a verbal commitment to accept a partial athletic scholarship beginning in the fall of 2022 from George Washington University. The main campus of the NCAA Division I school is located four blocks from the White House in Washington, D.C. Its baseball complex is in nearby Arlington, Virginia.
Trish plans in the fall to sign a National Letter of Intent to formalize that commitment.
Last year he played approximately 20 games with a travel team based at Sluggers Baseball & Softball Training Facility in Brewer and an additional 20 games with the Portland-based Maine Lightning.
“I never really stopped playing baseball,” he said.
Trisch also worked out with former Bangor High and University of Maine pitcher Trevor DeLaite, who is a graduate transfer at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia.
“He definitely has taught me a lot,” Trisch said. “One of the big jumps I’ve made in velocity came from cleaning up my arm action and he showed me how to do that.”
Trisch has trained for the last few months through Tread Athletics, a remote pitching program based in North Carolina.
“They give me a lifting program, a throwing program, a nutrition plan,” Trisch said. “I have a personal coach, Devin Hayes, who played DIII ball and now coaches for Tread and has been working with me. I have phone calls with him every so often and send him tons of videos so he can look at my mechanics and see what I need to work on. He gives me one or two things to work on every month, and that really helps me.”
Trisch’s efforts have produced an eye-catching increase in his fastball speed from 78 mph to 86 mph.
“Colton’s been coming in here for the past six or seven years, but in the last year and a half specifically he’s really done a lot,” Sluggers owner and president Brandon Portwine said. “Year-round training, specifically with Tread Athletics and working on the strength and conditioning aspects of throwing a baseball and swinging a bat, has paid off at monumental levels for him.”
Trisch narrowed his final list of Division I options to schools including George Washington, Cornell, UMaine, Northeastern and Fairfield.
“A big thing for me was academics, and obviously baseball was a plus,” said Trisch, who made a virtual visit to George Washington before making his decision. “George Washington gave me both. I’m looking to study electrical engineering when I get to college and they have a great program there.”
George Washington competes in the Atlantic 10 Conference, and coach Gregg Ritchie’s club posted three consecutive 30-win seasons before last year’s schedule was shut down due to the coronavirus after an 8-8 start.
The Colonials had at least one player selected in the Major League Baseball draft each year between 2015 and 2019, with three players chosen in 2018 and two each in 2017 and 2019.
Trisch moved with his family from Bucksport to Bangor before his freshman year of high school. He pitched only a few innings in his first year of baseball with the Rams while playing center field and batting leadoff.
“As a freshman he had a great ability to track a ball and a very fluid, strong arm,” Bangor coach Dave Morris said. “He ran really well and has a very good swing, and he’s a good student of the game.
“Going into last year he was really making some great strides with his pitching. We definitely had some high expectations for him last year and then obviously more so this year.”
Trisch used strength training to supplement his pitching workouts as a sophomore after opting to stop playing basketball.
“I put on around 35 pounds and that really helped me get those 10 miles per hour,” said Trisch, who still plays football at Bangor. “It was basically just focusing on mechanics once I gained those 35 pounds.”
Trisch is now ramping up for what he hopes is a return to high school baseball this spring, armed with the knowledge that his college plans already are settled.
“It takes the pressure off, but obviously I’m not going to stop working,” he said. “It’s really time to put my head down and get ready to play at George Washington because I want to make an impact my first year.”
His goal is to bump his fastball up to 90 mph.