While waiting to see how the University of Maine’s hockey team opens this season after its gutty finish in the Hockey East tournament some six months ago …

Corey Tielinen did something no one else could do back in the spring of 2004. He hit a Mark Rogers fastball over the fence for a home run. That home run and a couple of dollars should get him a cup of coffee these days on his job site on the west bank of the Mississippi River in Louisiana.

“It’s a pretty big joke with my teammates,” said Tielinen. “I don’t really talk about it.”

He and his Oxford Hills teammates were on the bus taking them to the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference championship game against Rogers and Mt. Ararat High. “I told the whole team I would hit a home run,” Tielinen said Thursday night. “He was a fastball pitcher and I was a pretty good fastball hitter, and if he threw me one I just said, ‘Hey, I’ll hit a home run.’ “

Someone with a radar gun had the pitch timed at 96 mph. The crowd of several hundred at Kingdon Field in Topsham was stunned into silence. One of the few sounds was Tielinen’s mom, Bethany, screaming. It was the only home run Rogers gave up in his high school career.

Mt. Ararat won 11-1, and went on to that memorable state championship game against Deering, which won at Hadlock Field.

Tielinen enrolled at Northeastern University in Boston in the fall of 2004. A pitcher who could throw 88 to 89 mph fastballs, Tielinen injured his shoulder and hasn’t played baseball again. He got his degree in civil engineering and is currently about 20 miles north of Baton Rouge, La., building a bridge across the Mississippi. He is aware Rogers starts his first game in the big leagues tonight.

“I really wish the best for the state of Maine,” said Tielinen. “I hope he gets to be successful. We played against a lot of great players who never got that opportunity. Maybe, with Mark, people will realize we can baseball. …

Standing by Kevin Faulk’s locker in the Patriots’ locker room sometimes makes me think of television’s Mr. T without the Mohawk haircut and the bling. The football player and the actor shared the same intensity and the same scowling look. It would not have surprised me if Faulk answered a question with “Fool!”

Faulk had regular media visitors to his locker during the week and after games. While his answers may have sounded bitten off, they were honest. That was another reason Faulk earned the respect my colleague Mike Lowe so nicely framed in Thursday’s Press Herald.

Faulk and Patriots coaches learned early in his 12-year career that he was not an every-down runner. He found his role over the years as the change-up to Antowain Smith, Corey Dillon and Laurence Maroney. Faulk was as tough as Rodney Harrison and Mike Vrabel. He made no excuses. Which is why you may expect him back in training camp in 2011 after his knee injury. …

Bobby Wilder-coached Old Dominion and its revived, two-year varsity program are creating heat in Virginia college football. On the field and on the sideline. William & Mary, ranked eighth in the Football Championship Subdivision standings, had to rally to beat unranked Old Dominion 21-17 last weekend.

Afterward, William & Mary Coach Jimmye Laycock commented on four personal fouls on Old Dominion. That set off a little firestorm fueled in part by the perception that William & Mary and its Williamsburg campus are among the bluest of the bluebloods of American colleges. Old Dominion doesn’t have that distinction.

William & Mary (2-1) will play at Maine on Saturday night in a Colonial Athletic Association game. James Madison (third) and Richmond (fifth) are the other two Virginia FCS schools ranked in the top 10. …

Laura Pate’s abrupt passing some three weeks ago at age 41 left little time to remember. She was a free spirit, a hey-howya-doing-let’s-talk personality in later years and a very good basketball player for one of Gary Fifield’s earlier teams at the University of Southern Maine. A streak shooter, she kept dipping into her personal well of resilience.

Staff Writer Steve Solloway can be contacted at 791-6412 or at:

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