Brad Hertzler highlights a trio of University of Maine pitchers who were selected Friday during the second day of the 2007 Major League Baseball Amateur Draft.
Hertzler, a junior lefthander from East Providence, R.I., was selected in the 15th round by the Oakland Athletics. The 6-foot-1, 210-pounder was the 480th pick overall.
Two Black Bear recruits were chosen Friday with consecutive selections by the Philadelphia Phillies. Righthanded pitcher Kyle Benoit of Brampton, Ontario, was taken in the 36th round, while righty Kyle Slate of Sea Bright, N.J., went to the Phillies in the 37th round.
Junior infielder Curt Smith, the other UMaine standout considered a draft prospect, had not been drafted Friday night through 50 rounds.
UMaine coach Steve Trimper, who was visiting with Benoit Thursday and Friday, was relieved at the draft results in terms of how they might affect his team.
Hertzler, who had been drafted out of high school in 2004 (32nd round, Boston Red Sox), is likely to sign with Oakland, Trimper said.
Hertzler, who pitched two seasons in junior college prior to attending UMaine, is coming off a solid season during which he posted a 4-5 record with 3.58 earned run average. The All-America East second-team pick struck out 71 batters in 73 innings and held opponents to a .245 batting average.
Hertzler is the highest UMaine draft pick since Simon Williams of Portland was taken in the 11th round by St. Louis in 2004. Mike MacDonald of Camden was taken in the 15th round by Toronto that year.
Trimper said Benoit and Slate both indicated Friday they do not intend to pursue pro careers at this time.
“Both of them said, you know what, coach, I’m not signing,” Trimper said Friday evening.
Benoit (5-11, 200) was the 1,098th pick overall. He is likely to be an immediate impact pitcher for the Bears.
After giving up his hockey career last year to concentrate on baseball, Benoit demonstrated an ability to throw in the low-to-mid 90s (mph). He was initially expected to be drafted much higher, possibly in the first 10 rounds, but eventually told pro scouts through his school advisor he did not intend to sign even if drafted.
Trimper said Benoit, who pitched for Team Canada this spring in Florida, is perhaps the best player he has ever recruited.
The 6-5, 200-pound Slate blossomed during his senior season at Christian Brothers Academy. He went 11-1 this spring while leading his team (23-5) to a berth in the sectional title game.
Slate also throws in the low 90s and possesses an outstanding changeup and a nasty split-fingered fastball.