July 17, 2011

Telegram All-State Baseball
Arm injury was only thing to stop Westbrook's Heath

Baseball MVP Scott Heath was dominating on the mound this season before tearing a ligament.

By Tom Chard tchard@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

click image to enlarge

A torn ligament in his throwing arm pushed Scott Heath from the mound in the regular-season finale this spring. He finished the season 5-0 and didn’t allow an earned run.

Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer

Telegram All-State Baseball

Scott Heath
, Westbrook, senior, pitcher

Heath, the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram MVP, injured his arm against Cheverus in the regular-season finale and didn't pitch again. The left-hander finished the season with a 5-0 record and didn't give up an earned run, and opponents batted only .106 against him. He will play baseball at Maine.

Kyle Bishop, Waterville, senior, pitcher

Bishop was 7-0 for the Class B champion Panthers. He allowed only five runs -- two earned -- in 41 innings. He led the Panthers with a .576 average. Bishop will attend Husson, where he will play football and baseball.

Nic Lops, Cheverus, senior, catcher

Lops sparked the Stags to the Class A state title and won the Harrington Award as the Telegram League's top catcher. He batted .452 with a .726 slugging percentage. Lops will play at St. Joseph's.

Joey Royer, Cheverus, senior, infield

Royer finished second in batting (.512) in the Telegram League. A pitcher/first baseman, Royer pitched sparingly because of tendinitis but threw a five-hitter in the state final. Royer will play at the University of New Haven.

Luke Fernandes, Marshwood, junior, infield

Fernandes batted .429 and went 12 for 12 in stolen bases. He was arguably the Telegram League's hardest thrower as a pitcher, and while arm trouble limited his pitching, he still showed a strong arm at shortstop. He has verbally committed to play at Boston College.

Luke Morrill, Rockland, senior, infield

The 6-foot-4 Morrill was an imposing figure on the mound and at the plate. He batted .521 and was 4-3 with 54 strikeouts in 341/3 innings. He will attend Maine on a baseball scholarship.

Brandon Reilly, Lincoln Academy, senior, infield

Reilly belted eight home runs and finished with a .604 batting average. A pitcher/third baseman, Reilly was 5-0 with a 1.05 ERA. He will play baseball at Husson.

Sam Balzano, Deering, senior, outfield

Balzano was named the Telegram League's MVP after leading the league in batting average (.531), slugging and on-base percentage and runs scored (23), and tying for the lead in stolen bases (14). He will play at Maine.

Corbin Hyde, Lewiston, junior, outfield

Hyde batted .472 with six home runs and 25 RBI. As a pitcher, he had a 5-0 record with a 0.55 ERA. Hyde struck out 44 batters in 38 innings.

Luke Duncklee, Cony, senior, outfield

Duncklee batted .316 with one home run, 16 runs and eight RBI. He was 11 for 12 in stolen bases. Duncklee went 3-1 with two saves. He will attend Colby.

Louie DiStasio, Cheverus, junior, utility

DiStasio was a starting shortstop and top pitcher for the state champion Stags. He batted .418 and tied for the Telegram League lead in hits (28). He won three games as a pitcher and allowed only two earned runs.

Matt MacDowell, Falmouth, senior, utility

MacDowell finished with a .429 average and had seven doubles, one triple, two homers and 20 RBI. A catcher, he was named Western Maine Conference Class B co-player of the year. MacDowell will attend Dartmouth.

Coach of the Year

Mac McKew, Cheverus

In his third season with the Stags, McKew led the team to its first Class A state title, earned in a 9-1 win over Lewiston.

WESTBROOK - In what would turn out to be his last complete-game pitching per-formance, Scott Heath of Westbrook threw a gem.

Heath, a left-hander, beat Deering 6-0 on a two-hitter while facing the minimum 21 batters in a seven-inning game on May 21 for his fifth win. He retired 14 consecutive Rams as the Blazes improved to 11-0.

Deering Coach Mark Sutton joked afterward that he wished Heath had thrown some pitches somewhere other than at knee level so his team could have had a better chance of putting the ball in play.

Ten days later, in a game against Cheverus at Westbrook for the No. 1 seed in Western Maine Class A, Heath felt arm pain throwing a pitch in the second inning. He took himself out of the game and didn't throw a pitch the rest of the season.

Heath tore a ligament, which resulted in Tommy John surgery on June 30 in Foxborough, Mass., performed by Dr. Luke S. Oh, team physician for the Red Sox and the New England Revolution. Heath has begun light therapy and will continue with it at school. His pitching career will be on hold for at least a year. Heath, headed to the University of Maine on a baseball scholarship, hopes to pitch for the Black Bears, beginning in 2013.

"Dr. Oh said the surgery went really well," said Heath. "I'm happy I had the surgery now rather than later. I'm geared up for the long rehab and excited about getting my arm healthy."

In the past month, Heath and his senior teammates have surely thought of what might have been. With a healthy Heath on the mound would the Blue Blazes have beaten Cheverus in that season finale? If they had, would it have been Westbrook and not Cheverus hoisting the state championship trophy last month? We'll never know.

One thing we do know is that the Stags won three games against Westbrook, including the regional final. Cheverus kept improving as the season progressed. Westbrook seemed to peak in that Deering game.

Until his injury, Heath dominated on the mound in the state's most competitive league. In his five wins, Heath pitched two one-hitters and two, two-hitters. He didn't allow an earned run in 32 innings and opponents batted only .106 against him. He allowed only 11 hits. In four seasons, Heath went 19-2. He also was unbeaten his sophomore year and didn't allow an earned run.

Offensively, he batted third in the lineup and proved a catalyst this season, as he had the three previous seasons. In his win over Deering, Heath doubled his first two times up for two RBI. He finished the season with a .377 average.

Heath headlines the Maine Sunday Telegram All-State team as our state MVP for baseball. He is a three-time All-State selection.

"In my 16 years as a head coach, Scott would be in my top five of players I've coached," said Westbrook Coach Mike Rutherford, who also coached at Portland.

Heath will continue his rehab with UMaine trainers, and he's hoping to return to the mound with a stronger arm than before.

"A lot of pitchers who have had the surgery have more velocity when they return," said Heath.

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

tchard@pressherald.com

Twitter: TomChardPPH

 

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