July 13, 2013

KENNEBEC JOURNAL BASEBALL PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Zack Lachance

By Gary Hawkins ghawkins@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

You can call him Zac, or Zach, or Zack.

click image to enlarge

Zack Lachance is the Kennebec Journal Baseball Player of the Year.

Staff photo by Joe Phelan

Kennebec Journal/ Morning Sentinel Baseball All-Stars

First team
P — Zack Lachance, Sr., Cony
P — Brian Bellows, Jr., Waterville
C — John Suga, Sr., Erskine
1B — Zach Guptill, Jr., Winslow
2B — Jake Dexter, So., Messalonskee
3B — Dylan Hapworth, So., Winslow
SS — Chandler Shostak, Sr., Cony
OF — Gabe Smith, Sr., Winslow
OF — Zach Matheiu, So., Messalonskee
OF — Kyle Fletcher, Jr., Monmouth
UT — Dan Pooler, So., Waterville
Second team
P — Taylor Bacon, Sr., Skowhegan
P — Jared Hanson, Jr., Winthrop
C — Aidan FItzGerald, Jr., Waterville
1B — Ben Lucas, Jr., Cony
2B — Trevor Hisler, Sr., Skowhegan
3B — Cam Brochu, So., Maranacook
SS — Taylor Bouchard, Sr., Waterville
OF — Ben Frazee, So., Messalonskee
OF — Devin Warren, Jr., Messaloskee
OF — Ben Allen, So., Winthrop
UT — Dennis Meehan, Sr., Gardiner
Honorable mention
Carrabec: Brandon Lehay, Levi Murray, Boog Dunphy; Cony: Tayler Carrier, Reid Shostak, Thomas Foster; Erskine: Josh Bailey, Zach Isbell, Shawn Soucie; Forest Hills: Evan Worster, Matt Turner, Derick Oulette; Gardiner: Josh McKelvey, Frank Chepke, Jensen Orewiler, Hunter Belanger; Hall-Dale: Matt Plourde, Bobby Cumler, Ryan Sinclair, Colin Lush; Lawrence: Cody Martin, J.J. Bushaw, Kyle McLain; Madison: Garrett Emery, Rhett McKenney, Chase Malloy; Maranacook: Tucker Whitman, Nick Lacasse, Zach Elwell; MCI: Cameron Michaud; Messalonskee:  Patrick Breton, Josh Woodard; Monmouth: Bily Cummings, Alex Curtis, Devin West, Josh Fournier, Nate Gagne; Mt. Abram: Jay Chenard, Arthur Ryan, Sol Fast; Mt. Blue: Cam Abbott, Jordan Whitney, Andrew Pratt; Mt. View: Nathan Wren; Nokomis: Spencer Hartsgrove, Justin Kasprzak; Oak Hill: Ryan Riordan, Brady Dion, Parker Asselin, Dalton Therrien; Dalton Burns; Richmond: Mike Stewart, Eddie Stewart, Randy Moody; Skowhegan: Chase Nelson, Kameron Nelson, Henry Ametti; Valley: Carrington Miller, Dylan Belanger, Seth Malloy, Cody Laweryson; Waterville: A.J. Godin, Kaleb Kane; Winslow: Logan Hewes, Donald Camp; Winthrop: Matt Sekerak, Drew Stratton, Dakota Carter, Tyler Stockford.

Zack Lachance has seen all three spellings of his name during his athletic career at Cony High School and he's not that picky about it.

"It doesn't really make any difference to me," he said. "I guess Z-a-c-k is all right."

Any way you spell his first name, Lachance had a banner season for the Rams this spring. He went 5-2 on the mound and allowed only three earned runs, and in his lone playoff appearance he spun a one-hitter against Skowhegan. He also batted leadoff, scored 20 runs and hit .387.

For his efforts, Lachance has been selected Kennebec Journal Baseball Player of the Year. Also considered were Erskine's John Suga and Maranacook's Cam Brochu.

Lachance has pitched for the varsity team since his freshman year and has shown improvement each season.

"I felt a lot more confident coming off last year," he said. "We had a lot of returners and a good defense."

Lachance also felt more comfortable throwing his cutter, which became his go-to pitch as the season progressed. He learned it from his older brother Jake, who helped coach the team this year.

"I tried it out and it worked," Lachance said. "Once I got it down, it was my out-pitch."

Lachance isn't overpowering. Cony coach Don Plourde estimates his fastball tops out at about 80 mph. He finished with 31 strikeouts and 18 walks in 42 innings, but allowed just 18 hits.

"Even when he didn't have his best stuff, he was still very difficult to hit," Plourde said. "He just didn't give guys a chance to dig in and he kept them guessing."

The playoff game aside, Lachance's best outing was a no-decision against Oxford Hills.

"In the sixth-inning he had only thrown 41 pitches," Plourde said. "He was facing a pretty good squad."

Lachance is a good all-around athlete, who Plourde said could play anywhere on the field. During a recent American Legion game he even caught. This season, when he didn't pitch he played second base and showed improvement there, too, as he was part of eight double plays. Plourde noted that Lachance was a much better hitter when he wasn't on the mound.

"I didn't really notice but it's probably true," Lachance said.

Lachance rarely shows any emotion when he pitches and is generally fairly low-key. But as a team captain, Plourde said he was a good leader and not afraid to express himself, especially in practice.

"I made sure people were working hard and doing the right thing," Lachance said. "I feel like in games I lead more by example."

Lachance also played varsity basketball for three years and was a place-kicker and receiver for the football team. Basketball at one time was his favorite sport but it's gradually switched to baseball.

"It's a team and an individual sport at the same time," he said. "Baseball's a great sport."

Lachance plans to attend Syracuse University next fall and may even try out for the baseball team which competes at the club level and primarily plays a Division III schedule.

Gary Hawkins -- 621-5638

ghawkins@centralmaine.com

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