RUMFORD – Ryan Palmer’s difficult decision to move on and become Mt. Abram High School’s varsity baseball coach still tugs on his heart.

The new position will be Palmer’s first at the helm of a varsity program. His involvement around the baseball diamond has provided him with valuable experience.

“Yes, I believe I am more then ready to start my own program,” Palmer said. “It was a matter of me deciding to start thinking about myself for once. Players have asked me to stay at Mountain Valley until they graduated, and I just couldn’t say no. There all great kids. But this year, it was time to think about myself.”

Palmer’s reservations about moving on were genuine because he has been apart of Mountain Valley baseball for 11 straight years. He began working out with the varsity team while in middle school, when cousin Kevin Gallant and older brother Travis were playing. After playing four years at high school, he became coach Steve LaPointe’s assistant the year after graduation. When pitchers and catchers week starts up at Mt. Abram next April, it will be difficult for Palmer not to be thinking about MVHS.

“When you have been around someone (LaPointe) for 11 straight baseball seasons, it will be very different not having him around,” Palmer said. “I saw the schedule already, and our game against MV is a home game (Salem). That was a sigh of relief. Being in the visitor’s dugout at Hosmer Field just wouldn’t seem right. But I am very, very excited with the decision I made.”

Palmer served as assistant to LaPointe the last five years and was the JV coach last year. Palmer is looking forward to going head to head against some of the MVC’s greats like LaPointe, Jay’s Chris Bessey, Dirigo’s Donnie Hebert, Livermore Falls’ Brian Dube and Bob Remington at Telstar.

“Ryan was a tremendous asset to the program,” LaPointe said. “He has a great Knowledge of the game and a love of the sport. He is fundamentally sound, has a great demeanor and a very level head.

“I am going to miss him a great deal. He could take a drill in practice or a group and work with them. He is very trustworthy. Mt. Abram has made an outstanding choice. I can’t think of anyone, who has more of a passion for the game. He has class and will bring many positive attributes to the program.”

In August, Palmer was hired as the assistant baseball coach at Central Maine Community College. It reunites him with coach Dave Goynea, who Palmer played for three years. Younger sibling Marcus is also playing at CMCC as a freshman. CMCC plays baseball in the fall so it won’t interfere with the high school season.

Palmer works at Rumford Group Homes Inc., and also as a substitute teacher for SAD 43

“When you leave a program that has a winning tradition and take over a program that doesn’t, it’s really all about patience,” Palmer said. “You have to be careful that you don’t set the bar to high. I am a fundamentals freak. We’ll go back to the basics and work our way up. My goal is to turn the program around and build it back up to where it was in 2000-2001.”

Palmer expects a lot out of his players.

“My players will also be in shape, especially the pitchers,” Palmer added. “Any players that don’t come into the season in shape, they might be in for a rude awakening.”

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