The crack of the bat will be competing with the cracking of the books when Bowdoin plays in its first ever NCAA Division III baseball tournament this week on Cape Cod.
“A lot of guys are going to be taking exams down there,” said pitcher/infielder Tyler Turgeon said. “We hoped to get them all in before we left. But in my case, and for a lot of other guys that’s not going to happen. We’re going to try to separate that from baseball.”
The Polar Bears will be tested on many levels this week, and it will be up to several locals to help them move on to the next round.
Turgeon, a junior out of St. Dom’s ,started the season as the closer, then was moved to the set up role by head coach Mike Connolly so that he could utilize him more as a utility infielder. He finished second on the team in appearances (14) while also hitting .250 in spot duty at third, second and first base.
“Tyler had an outstanding year on the hill for us. He’s going to have to pitch great, and I know he will, for us to win the tournament,” Connolly said.
Turgeon’s younger brother Ryan, a sophomore, also expected to play a major role on the mound and at the plate this year, but he hurt his elbow last summer and was limited to just one at bat this year. He is on the active roster, however, and will be dressing for the tournament.
Gray-New Gloucester alum Erik Morrison is a long reliever, spot starter and fourth outfielder for the Bears. He posted a 3-0 record in seven appearances while hitting .250 in 12 at bats.
Morrison, a senior, or any other player would have a hard time cracking the talented Bowdoin outfield, which is led by Maranacook grad Jared Lemieux. The Readfield senior centerfielder emerged as one of the best all-around players in the state this year, batting .386 with 41 RBIs, 47 runs scored and 25 stolen bases while playing at times spectacular defense in the outfield.
“He is the best player in the league when you look offense and defense,” Connolly said.
Adding to the team’s strength up the middle is Auburn’s Nick Lawler. The junior second baseman hit .303 with 25 RBIs and 27 runs and anchors the middle infield.
“When I talk about pitching and defense, Nick is a vital component to that,” Connolly said.
Junior Mike Buckley, another Maranacook product with strong defensive credentials, splits time behind the plate. Off the bench, Oak Hill’s Pat Duchette provides another steady glove (one error in 99 chances) and strong bat (.361) at first base.
Even the coaching staff has some local flavor in former Livermore Falls standout Travis Dube.
Locals dot the rosters of some of the other teams in the double-elimination New England regional. Morrison will be reunited with former Gray-New Gloucester teammates Jordan Yanni, a catcher for the University of Southern Maine, and Louie Bernardini, a pitcher with Wheaton College.
Wheaton’s roster also features Durham’s Mark Baumer at first base and Bethel’s Karl Olson in the infield. Joining Yanni on USM’s roster are Dustin Gilbert of Turner, Andrew Stacy of Denmark, and Jay’s Josh Armandi.
St. Joseph’s College, which meets Bowdoin in the opening round today, boasts a pair of locals, Auburn’s David Lutz and Readfield’s Ben Muniz.