It was a disappointing weekend for the University of Maine baseball team.
The Black Bears opened their America East schedule by dropping three of four games to Albany.
Despite the tough start, there is no sense of panic for coach Steve Trimper’s young squad.
“There’s over 20 games to go and all I can ask for of the young guys, especially, is to keep playing hard and I’m sure we’ll make the playoffs,” senior captain Curt Smith said after Saturday’s doubleheader.
UMaine (11-16-1, 1-3 AE) heads to Maryland this week in hopes of getting back on track. The Bears face Coppin State in a Wednesday nonleague game, then play Maryland Baltimore County in a four-game league series Friday through Sunday.
Trimper wants to see more energy from his players.
“We’ve got to come out and play intense all the time,” he said. “It’s nice that we’re getting young guys playing time, but we’re in conference now and that’s all about learning how to get it done.”
UMaine is likely to have a few ups and downs this spring, especially with a pitching staff made up primarily of unproven underclassmen. That group’s inexperience showed against Albany as the staff combined for 22 walks, 10 hit batsmen and seven wild pitches.
Freshman lefthander Kevin Scanlan was an exception, pitching a three-hitter with 12 strikeouts Friday night.
Defense also was a concern for the Bears, who had gone five straight games without an error. They committed eight miscues in the Albany series, most on errant throws.
Offensively, UMaine produced only 19 runs (4.8 per game) on 29 hits in the four games. They went 29-for-120 (.242) and weren’t particularly successful with runners in scoring position.
The Bears’ positional veterans, including Smith, Billy Cather, Kevin McAvoy, Danny Menendez and Myckie Lugbauer, haven’t gotten hot as yet.
Trimper said UMaine has some mental hurdles to clear in addition to the physical aspects, but he likes its chemistry.
“They’re a fun bunch to coach. It’s the most fun I’ve had in 15 years with a team,” Trimper said. “They’ve got to start believing in themselves. Sometimes it’s up in the head as much as it is in the physical tools.”
Bears’ Ostrander suffers injury
UMaine also has encountered a few injury problems of late.
Senior Mark Ostrander is on the shelf after injuring himself during Friday’s second game at Mahaney Diamond in Orono.
Ostrander hurt his right foot when he came into contact with the foot of Albany third baseman Zac Halloran while rounding third base on an errant throw in the third inning.
Ostrander left the game shortly thereafter and spent Saturday in street clothes, wearing an immobilizing boot.
The veteran outfielder was batting .315 with three home runs and 11 RBIs in 18 games, including 13 starts.
Junior outfielder Kevin McAvoy of Brewer also has been hampered by a nagging leg injury, but has missed only three games as a result. Senior relief pitcher Will Carroll of Boothbay has been nursing a dislocated ring finger on his pitching hand.
McLaughlin to attend conference
Brandon McLaughlin, a sophomore on the UMaine football team, has been selected to attend the NCAA’s National Student-Athlete Development Conference next month.
McLaughlin is among 233 student-athletes from across the country who will gather May 27-29 at Disney World in Orlando, Fla.
The event gives the young people a forum to talk about issues affecting NCAA student-athletes on campus and in the community. It also provides a chance for participants to enhance their leadership, communication, decision-making and problem-solving skills.
McLaughlin, who will be a junior in the fall, started 11 games at strong safety last season for coach Jack Cosgrove’s Black Bears. He was in on 64 tackles.
The UMaine football team has begun spring workouts and is gearing up for the Jeff Cole Memorial Scrimmage, which is scheduled for April 26 at 10 a.m. at Alfond Stadium in Orono.
UMaine women list honorees
The UMaine women’s basketball team honored a handful of players last weekend at its annual end of season banquet.
Senior Kris Younan was recognized as the Best Defensive Player, sophomore Brittany Boser earned the Academic Award, and sophomore Kristin Baker of Bingham received the Preseason Award. Sophomore Katia Bratishko was named the Most Improved Player, while junior Colleen Kilmurray claimed the Leadership/Community Involvement Award.
UMaine clinic schedule d April 25
Area baseball players ages 8-18 are invited to attend a baseball clinic with coach Trimper and the UMaine baseball team.
The clinic is scheduled for April 25 from 1-3 p.m. at the Mahaney Dome in Orono, prior to the Black Bears’ 4 p.m. America East game against Stony Brook at Mahaney Diamond.
Admittance to the clinic is free with the purchase of a game ticket ($3 to $6). Teams are encouraged to attend as one lucky team will win an entire set of batting helmets.
Other prizes will be up for grabs at the clinic and at the game. For more information, call Jeff Wildey, UMaine’s director of marketing, at 581-4849.