Mark Ballard, Maureen Berube, Mark Theriault, David Morin and Jared Turcotte hold the collective plaque for the 2019 Auburn-Lewiston Sports Hall of Fame inductees on Sunday at the Ramada Inn in Lewiston. Andree Kehn

LEWISTON — The prevailing theme of the speeches during the 36th Auburn-Lewiston Sports Hall of Fame induction ceremony was inductees thanking the people that helped them get to where they were — physically and metaphorically — on Sunday.

Mark Ballard, one of five inductees, was inducted based on his baseball career at Edward Little High School and the University of Maine at Orono. His state championship-winning 1989 baseball team was in attendance at Ramada Inn to accept the Flashback to Fame award.

After his coach, Bruce Lucas, gave a speech about the team’s ability to come together and stay together en route to a state title, teammate Josh Spooner introduced Ballard. Spooner spoke about how Ballard felt he had to prove himself because he didn’t grow up playing in the Auburn Suburban Little League like many of his other teammates.

His fastball was strong and reliable, helping EL win a state championship, defeating Lewiston and Oxford Hills on the way — both Ballard wins.

For Ballard, or “Buffer” as his teammates affectionately know him as because of his bald head that he started styling in high school, he couldn’t have made it to Maine and then as a Boston Red Sox draft pick without his EL teammates, in particular Verne Paradis.

“The memories I have, they’re just very special,” Ballard said. “I want to point out Verne in particular. As I was melding into the team, he was the stud. It made me want to be more like him, or maybe just a little bit more.”

Ballard also thanked his family, reflecting on his childhood and how it affected his siblings.

“I want to thank my brother and sisters,” Ballard said. “Not until today when I was trying to write this did I ever consider how it might have been being my brother with my success with baseball. I hope it was positive for them. I was lucky I had supper supportive parents, they hardly missed a game through high school and college. … It was an amazing time. I want to thank everyone, Dan (Deshaies), again, for the nomination. It’s an amazing feeling to know that not being part of that core group and still being accepted, it was an amazing ride.”

The other Edward Little athlete inducted, Maureen Berube, did most of her talking in the pool.

Berube’s speech was less than a minute long, but when you leave high school with three state records, you don’t need to say much. Her introductory speaker, Edward Little swimming coach Scott Morrison, told the crowd at the Ramada what made Berube so special.

“Maureen and I were recently talking and she said, ‘I would never have been the swimmer that I was if I hadn’t been chasing you guys,’” Morrison said. “I think I remember it slightly differently. We were chasing Maureen because we didn’t want to lose to her. She made us all better swimmers.”

Morrison spoke about training at the Auburn YMCA that had a 20-meter pool, which forced them to race 60-meter and 120-meter races and also forced them to make more turns. Morrison believed that help mold Berube into the swimmer she turned into.

“The pool was affectionately known as our little bathtub,” Morrison said. “Maureen held Maine state records for the 50, 100 and 200 freestyle at one point and the 200 individual medley. … She was the first Maine school girl to go under two minutes in the 200 freestyle, 1:57.38.”

Berube was given an invitation at the end of her high school career to train with the Olympic swim team, but declined.

David Morin was inducted as a 49-year coaching career came to a close last year, much of which was spent at Edward Little as the varsity boys soccer coach.

Morin started the program at EL in 1978 and thanked many people that helped him get to that point.

“Forty-nine years and eight months ago I drove into Auburn in my 1969 Chevelle convertible, firmly believing I would only be there a couple years,” Morin said. “I’m thinking, ‘I’m 22 years old, I’ll only be here a couple years.’ In the 1960’s and 70’s at Edward Little you had to wear a coat and tie and have short hair. I had long hair and didn’t wear a coat and tie. The principal and athletic director at the time took me under their wing and trusted me and I thought, ‘These guys really trust me, I think I might stay for a few more years.’”

Morin won 258 games as EL head coach and earned 60 ties during his tenure. Deshaies, his introductory speaker, presented Morin with a soccer ball with his wins and losses on one side as well as “The Best” front and center. He also spoke about how much he admires Morin’s coaching and the man that he is.

“If you’re a parent and you had an opportunity to have your son or daughter play for somebody, there’s no coach better to have them play for than coach Morin,” Deshaies said. “I would want my son or daughter to play for him.”

Morin said that seeing his former players succeeding made it all worth it.

“The biggest thing that I’ve found is the most rewarding thing for me is seeing some of your former players as adults,” Morin said. “Seeing them be successful, be good parents, outstanding role models for their kids.”

The second-to-last inductee, Mark Theriault, echoed this sentiment as he spoke about his time coaching men’s lacrosse at Keene State College, his current position.

“The gauge that I’ve done a good job is when the kids come back for alumni weekend, when I have 100 kids coming back, or when I have kids that have teammates that are best mans at their wedding or celebrating a birth of a child,” Theriault said. “These are amazing experiences and experiences that last a lifetime.”

An all-state hockey and soccer play at St. Dom’s, Theriault didn’t start playing lacrosse until his post-grad year at Hebron Academy. Then, four years later, he was drafted to the Boston Blazers after playing lacrosse at Springfield College.

Theriault’s assistant coach and former teammate, Tom Carmean, talked about how much passion the inductee has for the sport.

“We have an enjoyable day every time we have practice,” Carmean said. “Mark makes it that way with his demeanor and how he approaches life and how he interacts with 20-year-olds. I think this hall of fame is a great recognition of who he is.”

Jared Turcotte was the final inductee of the ceremony. A titan of Maine football, Turcotte tore up football fields for Lewiston and then for the Black Bears of the University of Maine.

Turcotte’s younger brother, Spencer Emerson, gave a speech to introduce Turcotte and spoke on what he meant to him growing up.

“The coolest thing that happened to me was when I was 13, my brother got his first tattoo,” Emerson said. “Across his back it read, ‘Desire. Dedication. Success.’ Those first two things are two things he taught me and is still teaching me. … Just having the ability to see things further than what is right in front of you. Now that I’m older and I’m fortunate enough to coach football, his biggest success has nothing to do with the game. … When you talk about desire, dedication and success, everything he’s set out to do he’s been successful at.”

Turcotte spoke about the people around him that helped him excel at football growing up and how, post-football, his wife and family are what makes him most proud now.

The “Flashback to Fame Team Award” honored the 1989 Edward Little High School state baseball championship team.

The Hall of Fame Pioneer Award was given out to honor the late Samuel Michael for his work in boxing and entertainment.

The following high school coaches and high school and college athletes received the Chamber of Commerce President’s awards for outstanding achievements over the past year:

• Coaches — Jodd Bowles, Mike McGraw, Andrew Morong, Robert Parker and Peter Steenstra.

• Collegiate — Isaiah Harris, Ian Mileikis, Olivia Paione and Brooke Reynolds.

•  High School — Henok Citenga, Brooke Cloutier, Paige Cote, Lauren DeBlois, Grace Fontaine, Isabelle Frenette, Avery Goulding, Alexandra Hammerton, Hunter Landry, Avery Lutrzkowski, Wol Maiwen, Jade Perry, Jillian Richardson, Alex Rivet and Emma Theriault.

Mark Ballard, Maureen Berube, Mark Theriault, David Morin and Jared Turcotte hold the collective plaque for the 2019 Auburn-Lewiston Sports Hall of Fame inductees on Sunday at Ramada Inn in Lewiston. Andree Kehn

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