Thursday, April 24, 2014
I was reminded just how good Winthrop baseball has been over the past few seasons when I saw Tavis Hasenfus at Winthrop’s game against Wiscasset on Monday. Hasenfus is assisting Coach Marc Fortin this season while completing his schooling at the University of Southern Maine. An all-star catcher, Hasenfus was one of the best players to come out of Winthrop in many years. He went on to play two years at the University of Maine as an outfielder but transferred after a disappointing sophomore season.
He is, however, representative of some top flight teams at Winthrop. Over the past four seasons, the Ramblers have gone 50-9 during the regular season in the Mountain Valley Conference which is a pretty good baseball conference. They won their season opener on Monday but it’s evident this is not one of Winthrop’s veteran teams.
Senior Easton Morang was missing due to illness and he’ll make a big difference in the middle of the lineup when he returns. He pitches, plays shortstop and is one of the MVC’s top hitters. But Fortin isn’t kidding when he says this is the least experienced team he’s coached in 15 years. The lineup is dotted with freshmen and sophomores who could benefit from a year at the JV level.
There is no JV team, though. Fortin had just 10 players on his roster Monday which begs the question, where are all the baseball players? Three starters were ruled ineligible for violating school policy before the season began and Riley Cobb, another good player, injured his knee and is out for the season. Still, Winthrop should be able to muster more than 15 players even including the missing.
After several successful seasons in football, basketball and baseball, the Ramblers are experiencing a dry spell. It happens to every school sooner or later. As far as baseball goes, this year’s team will gain lots of on-the-job training that could be painful at times but will pay off in the long run.
Travis Lazarczyk has worked at the Morning Sentinel and Kennebec Journal since 2000. He covers football, basketball and baseball. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/tlazarmaine