Four University of Maine seniors will be playing their final collegiate baseball games during this week’s season-ending America East series at Binghamton.
The quartet, who were all recruited by former coach Paul Kostacopoulos, will complete their careers without fanfare as the Black Bears (19-26-1) have been knocked out of postseason contention.
Curt Smith, Mark Ostrander, Will Carroll and Nolan Boike have had careers ranging from outstanding to limited, but their contributions to the program have not gone unrecognized.
Smith will go down as one of the top hitters in program history. He leads the ballclub this spring with a .388 batting average and ranks first in runs scored (55), hits (64), home runs (11), triples (tied, 3), slugging percentage (.709) and on-base percentage (.483).
Smith, who hails from Willemstad, Curacao, has appeared in 208 career games for the Black Bears and owns the school marks for career triples with 19. He ranks second on UMaine’s career hits list with 293 and is fourth in RBIs (177) and doubles (57).
“He’s one of the all-time great hitters,” said UMaine coach Steve Trimper. “We didn’t have a lot of seniors but Curt did a tremendous job this year trying to lead and trying to step up. He did a tremendous job at first base for a guy who hasn’t played a lot there. He’ll be sorely missed in the future.”
Ostrander has been a hardworking competitor during his UMaine career. The outfielder from Hopkinton, Mass., owns a .261 career batting average.
Ostrander’s career highlights include scoring the winning run in the 2005 America East championship game at Vermont and being named the AE tourney MVP during the Bears’ drive to the NCAA tournament in 2006.
“Os has got all the talent in the world,” Trimper said. “He’s had a very good career and he’s had some remarkable memories. Unfortunately, he got hurt [foot injury] this year.”
Carroll’s career has been plagued by injuries. The Boothbay native underwent Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery as a freshman in 2004 and last season made 16 appearances.
The righthanded Carroll has seen limited action as a relief specialist this season after sustaining a dislocated ring finger on his pitching hand. He owns a 2-3 career record.
“Will rehabbed and came back and was effective at times for us,” Trimper said. “He’s done some good things.”
Boike has contributed to the program in a couple of different roles, most recently as a reliever. He has appeared in 36 career games, starting 17, for the Bears and owns a 5-4 record.
Boike, of Arlington, Mass., didn’t pitch much this spring after spending the winter playing for the UMaine hockey team.
“It’s tough to play two sports in college, but he gave it a good effort,” Trimper said. “Getting into a groove is tough.”
While the four seniors will be missed, UMaine is really only losing two regular contributors.
“It’s a very small senior class and that’s kind of indicative of who’s been playing on the field, the freshman and sophomore group,” Trimper said. “As far as the future of the program, we’ve got almost everybody back.”
Thebarge named Thomas coach
Andrea Thebarge, a former standout player at Skowhegan High School and Northeastern University, has been hired as the head field hockey coach at Thomas College in Waterville.
Thebarge also will coach the Terriers’ women’s lacrosse program.
“We are excited that Andrea is joining our team,” Thomas athletic director Heidi Bernier said in a press release. “She brings extensive knowledge of coaching at the collegiate level and we feel fortunate that she will be guiding our field hockey and women’s lacrosse teams to the next level.”
Thebarge served as the interim head coach at the University of Maine during the 2006-07 season after spending four seasons as an assistant under former Black Bears coach Terry Kix.
Prior to coaching at UMaine, Thebarge was the regional coaching director of Massachusetts for the United States Field Hockey Association Futures Program.
At Northeastern, Thebarge played on two NCAA Final Four teams.
Waters earns regional honor
Ashley Waters of the UMaine softball team has been named to the National Fastpitch Coaches Association Northeast All-Region second team, becoming only the fifth Black Bear to earn such recognition.
That makes the junior second baseman eligible to be considered for All-America status.
Waters was named the America East Player of the Year this spring after leading the conference in hits (58), home runs (10) and total bases (101) during the regular season. She also batted .352 with a .612 slugging percentage, 33 runs scored, 30 RBIs and 11 doubles.
The Amesbury, Mass., native also picked up league and district academic honors.