Maine baseball focused on finishing off first-place season
After explosive offensive performances, the Black Bears’ pitchers are catching up to the bats
ORONO, Maine (WABI) - Maine baseball is riding a nine-game winning streak that has the Black Bears on top of America East Division A by a wide margin, with their 15-3 conference record. UAlbany and UMass Lowell are second at 7-11.
The team has become more well-rounded as the season goes on, leaving players and coaches focused on finishing the regular season strong.
After explosive offensive performances, the Black Bears’ pitchers are catching up to the bats.
“Our pitching is really starting to come around. We always come into series with a good pitching plan against their lineup, and lately we’ve been executing pitches,” said Trevor Labonte, graduate student pitcher.
“A lot of times hitters, if you get strike one on them, they starting thinking negatively. They start thinking ‘oh, now I only have two pitches to get with.’ If you go out there and kind of mess around with some guys, they think they have a chance. You’ve just got to go out, pound the zone, and know your stuff’s really good,” said Matthew Pushard, graduate student pitcher.
Maine hitters have grinded out a successful offense, including Jeremiah Jenkins’s double-digit hit streak.
“I’m not going to be successful every game, but having that ability to stay sharp mentally and say ‘look, it’s okay. You’re barreling balls up and not finding grass.’ Once I found grass, it all started clicking for me just like that,” said Jenkins, freshman infielder.
The team is confident it can close out the regular season by accomplishing the program’s goals.
“We’re supposed to go out and win series. If we can go out and win series, win six of the next nine, and just two out of three is all we’re setting out to do anyway. We should be able to leave with an America East Championship, or at the very least a top spot in the playoffs,” said Nick Derba, head coach.
The Black Bears just have Merrimack, Hartford, UMass Lowell, and UAlbany on their conference schedule with a trip to Boston College sprinkled in between.
Jenkins took home America East Rookie of the Week, while Caleb Leys earned the Pitcher of the Week spot.
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