March 22, 2019

Black Bears earn honors; Mahaney facility playable

ORONO – Catcher Aaron Izaryk and outfielder Joe Hough of the University of Maine were among 11 players named to the America East Baseball All-Conference first team during Wednesday night’s awards banquet at UMaine’s Buchanan Alumni House.

Dan Schoonmaker of Albany was chosen the Len Harlow Player of the Year, Northeastern’s Jordan Thomson was named Pitcher of the Year, Vermont’s Miguel Magrass was the Rookie of the Year, and Albany’s Jon Mueller was selected Coach of the Year.

Black Bears Mike MacDonald and Greg Creek received second-team honors, while Joel Barrett, Steve Richard and Matt McGraw were named to the All-Rookie Team.

Izaryk, a junior from Markham, Ontario, batted .283 with four home runs and 34 RBIs for the Bears. Hough, a sophomore from West Roxbury, Mass., hit .363 with seven homers, 40 RBIs and 11 stolen bases.

The All-America East first team also includes pitcher Steve Emmerthal and infielders Kirt Zimniewicz and Joe Lamb of Albany and Jay Balback of Binghamton, outfielders Brendan Chiavaro of Albany and Jeff Heriot of Northeastern and Albany designated hitter Derek DeGrazio.

Creek, a junior third baseman from Chelsea, made the second team on the strength of a .371 batting mark with a league-high 75 hits. He hit six homers with 44 RBIs.

MacDonald, the Pitcher of the Year in 2002, made the second team after compiling a 5-3 record with a 3.36 ERA and 82 strikeouts in 85 2/3 innings. The senior became UMaine’s all-time strikeouts leader with 275.

Second-team honors also went to pitcher Scott Roy and catcher Brian Eck of Hartford, infielders Jamie Boyer of Binghamton, Dean Geoffrey of Vermont and Stony Brook’s Matt Devins, outfielders T.J. Kowalchuk of Binghamton, Brad Czarnowski of Northeastern and Kyle Brault of Vermont, and DH Brendon Hitchcock of Binghamton.

Barrett, UMaine’s first baseman, earned rookie honors by hitting a team-best .372 with a homer and 33 RBIs. Richard posted a 4-2 record with a 2.98 ERA as the Bears’ No. 3 starter, while McGraw, serving mostly as a DH and third baseman, batted .342 with 2 homers and 16 RBIs.

The All-Rookie squad also included Matt Simek, Pat Haughie and Hitchcock of Binghamton, Jon Gossard of Maryland Baltimore County, Chris Sipp of Stony Brook and Vermont’s Magrass.

Mahaney wet, but playable

Mahaney Diamond may be a tad soggy for today’s opening round of the America East Baseball Championship, but UMaine officials are confident the facility will be in good playing shape come game time.

Top-seeded Northeastern and No. 4 Stony Brook open the four-team, double-elimination event at 3:30 p.m., which will give the UMaine grounds crew six or seven hours to touch up any problem areas.

“By 3:30, we’re going to be ready to go,” promised UMaine coach Paul Kostacopoulos. “The standing water’s gone. We’re going to be good.”

Fortunately, very little rain fell Wednesday, and Thursday is expected to be dry, which should enable more of the water to drain out of the outfield, where there had been a few spots with standing water.

“Even with the amount of rain that we’ve received over the last three days here, the outfield is holding up pretty well,” said Jim Dyer, UMaine’s assistant athletic director for operations. “It is wet and it is soft.”

Dyer and a crew headed by athletic grounds manager Eric Swett spent an hour Wednesday afternoon applying more than a ton of Turface, an artificial drying and grooming agent, to the infield dirt after team members removed the tarpaulin.

Workers also have periodically pumped water out of a few low-lying areas in the outfield.

“We were trying to dry up some places that are a bit wet,” Dyer explained.

While the wet weather has prevented the university from doing all the work it had planned, crews spent four days last week working on the facility in preparation for the championship.

“While the team was away last week we did quite a bit of work to level off some spots and add some clay to certain spots in the infield,” Dyer said.

The plan is for UMaine employees to arrive at the field today at 7 a.m. to remove the tarp and begin making final preparations.

Locals to play at Fenway

Three local players at New England Division II colleges will join University of Southern Maine players Brian Marshall of Spruce Head and Adam Lemieux of Cumberland at the New England Intercollegiate Baseball Association (NEIBA) All-Star Game at Fenway Park in Boston Sunday. Wilton native Trevor Alexander, a pitcher at Wheaton College is one of 14 Division III players selected while Franklin Pierce’s Eric Cavers of Otisfield and Dante Blancarte of South Berwick will represent Division II in the 7 p.m. game.

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