The University of Maine baseball team will visit Sanford Wednesday for a non-conference game with Holy Cross at Goodall Park.
First pitch is expected at 6 p.m.
The Black Bears clinched the America East title Sunday and will wrap up their conference schedule this weekend in Orono against the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, with a Friday doubleheader and a single game Saturday.
They will be seeded first in the four-team, double-elimination America East tournament, scheduled for May 22-24 at LaLacheur Park in Lowell, Mass., home of the Single-A Spinners, as well as a UMass-Lowell baseball program that will join the conference in 2014.
In recent years the top seed has hosted the America East tournament, but that can make for a hectic few days when the title isn’t decided until a few days before the tournament begins.
“We wanted (a neutral site) as coaches,” said Maine Coach Steve Trimper. “Somebody outside of coaching decided that, ‘Hey, if you win the tournament, you should be rewarded, so you have to host the tournament.”‘
Now Trimper’s only worries are lining up his pitching staff and getting past Albany, Binghamton and either Stony Brook or Hartford.
Defending champ Stony Brook (13-14) is a game up on Hartford (12-15) in conference action. They play a three-game series in Connecticut this weekend.
Albany (15-12) and Binghamton (14-12) already clinched their spots. Maine (18-8 AE, 32-19 overall) won eight of nine conference series on the way to its first league title since 2006.
The quest for a hockey coach continues, with a seven-member search committee close to winnowing a diverse pool of applicants to a handful of finalists, according to Athletic Director Steve Abbott.
“Within the next few days,” predicted Abbott, who said a coach is likely to be named by the end of the month.
Abbott has not decided whether to release the names of the finalists.
“One reason that we wouldn’t name the finalists is that a number of these people are taking a considerable risk in applying,” he said, because they are already under contract elsewhere.
“It just adds pressure to their current jobs if they’re identified as a finalist.”
Shortly after the university bought out the last year of Tim Whitehead’s contract, Abbott promoted assistant Bob Corkum to interim head coach. Corkum has expressed interest in removing the interim title.
“He’s somebody who we have a lot of faith in,” Abbott said. “That’s why we made him the interim head coach. He will be given full and fair consideration.”
The committee has met on campus, off campus, by phone conference and video conference, Abbott said. As for candidates, he said “we have not had anybody to campus yet.”
The hockey team held its year-end banquet Friday night in Brewer. Among those receiving awards were senior Marc Nemec (Academic Achievement, Unsung Hero), sophomore Connor Leen (Perseverance), freshman Devin Shore (Rookie of the Year) and junior goaltender Martin Ouellette (Most Improved, Most Valuable). Nemec and Ouellette share the award for Defensive Player of the Year.
HALL OF FAME
Six former athletes will be inducted into the university’s Sports Hall of Fame in September: from basketball, Francois Bouchard ’94; from hockey, Jack Capuano ’89; from track and field, Gerard LaFlamme; from swimming, Susan Herrick Lizzotte ’99; from football, Carleton “Speed” Merritt ’24; from baseball, Chad White ’93.
Capuano is the current coach of the NHL’s New York Islanders. His son, Anthony, is a first baseman at Bangor High who will play for the Black Bears next spring.
TRACK AND FIELD
Fifth-year senior Jesse Labreck of Oakland set a school record in the heptathlon when she won the ECAC title Saturday with 5,551 points.
That score is 12th on the NCAA performance list in Division I, where the top 24 scorers qualify for the national championships June 5-8 in Eugene, Ore.
Sophomore Robyn McFetters (70th in the hammer throw) and senior Corey Conner (19th at 10,000 meters, 43rd at 5,000) may join Labreck if they qualify at the Eastern Regionals May 23-25 in Greensboro, N.C., where the heptathlon and decathlon are not held.
Glenn Jordan can be contacted at 791-6425 or at [email protected]