Ben Wessel, who injured his arm May 22 while pitching for Scarborough against Westbrook, will undergo Tommy John surgery in July.

Wessel traveled to Boston on Tuesday to see a specialist who recommended surgery.

“It’s a new challenge to overcome,” said Wessell, who has a baseball scholarship to the University of Rhode Island.

“I would rather have the surgery now than in college. The bad thing is it’s my senior year and I won’t be able to help the team with my pitching. I’m going to be able to hit, which is a good thing. Hopefully I’ll be able to come back stronger than ever.”

The surgery has become common for pitchers. Locally, former Westbrook pitchers Scott Heath and Sean Murphy had it, as did a former Scarborough standout, Chris Bernard, now at the University of Southern Maine.

Wessel said Bernard has texted him offering support and is willing to answer questions.

Tommy John surgery, named after the major league pitcher who had the surgery in 1974, reconstructs the ulnar collateral ligament by using a tendon from another part of the body. The success rate is high; pitchers often return with better arm strength.

Scarborough, ranked second in Western Class A, will miss Wessel’s pitching but will have his bat in the lineup. Coach Mike Coutts said Wessel will take part in the Telegram League playoffs Saturday, weather permitting, followed by the regional playoffs.

“We hate to lose him as a pitcher but getting him back as a hitter is huge,” said Coutts. “Ben was having a phenomenal year.”

Wessel ranks first in several offensive categories in the Telegram League. He is first in slugging percentage (.943), on-base percentage (.600), RBI (21), total bases (33) and home runs (2). Wessel is second in batting average at .486.

Wessel’s 6-0 pitching record tops the league and opponents are hitting .137 against him, also No. 1 in the league.

A year ago, Heath injured his arm throwing a pitch late in the season. He was done as a pitcher for the Blue Blazes but was able to contribute as a hitter the rest of the way.

The Red Storm are looking for the same thing to happen with Wessel. Heath just finished a strong freshman season as a hitter for the University of Maine.

Wessel said he likely will be redshirted next season at Rhode Island.

“It will allow me to get stronger physically and also concentrate on my grades,” he said.

Coutts said the team hopes to have Ben Greenberg ready to pitch in the playoffs. Greenberg hasn’t been able to pitch because of tendinitis.

“Ben threw in the bullpen Thursday during practice,” said Coutts. “We’ll see how his arm feels.”

THE MARSHWOOD baseball team is honoring the memory of Guy Lajeunesse by presenting a game ball to the player who gives the best effort in each game.

Lajeunesse, who taught physical education and was a former head football coach at the school, died early last month after an 11-month fight with cancer.

The ball has Lajeunesse’s engraved initials and a metal conduit through the center. A metal necklace is attached so players can wear it around their necks. Players who are awarded the game ball sign it with the date and after each game the Hawks meet at second base, where the game ball is awarded.

“We wanted to do something in Guy’s memory,” said Athletic Director Rich Buzzell. “Players wear it around their neck after the game as sort of a badge of honor. We’ll continue it through the playoffs.”

Marshwood (14-2) will be top-seeded for the Western Class A tournament, edging Scarborough and Windham for the top seed.

SOUTH PORTLAND edged Westbrook 2-1 in eight innings Wednesday to claim the 11th and final tournament berth. The Red Riots (6-10) will play a preliminary game Tuesday.

“We had a lot of close games this season,” said Coach Mike Owens. “It was nice to get a win over a quality team. We waited until the last possible moment to get in.

“I’ve been telling the kids, let’s just get in and see what happens. Anyone is capable of beating anyone else on a given day. We’ll just give it our best shot.”

The Riots slipped past Deering (4-12) and Portland (5-11) for the final berth. Those schools finished tied in the standings with 40.6250 tourney index points.

After losing his first three games of the season, South Portland right-hander Matt DiBiase has won his last four games.

Staff Writer Tom Chard can be contacted at 791-6419 or at:

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Twitter: TomChardPPH