Gorham High sophomore Wyatt Nadeau has verbally committed to accept an athletic scholarship to pitch for Vanderbilt University. Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer

GORHAM — It all happened fast.

In March 2022, Wyatt Nadeau was mistaken as a Vanderbilt University baseball recruit by an usher at Hawkins Field, home of the Commodores. By year’s end, he really was a Vandy recruit.

In November, the sophomore from Gorham High verbally committed to accept an athletic scholarship offer from Vanderbilt. He is in line to join a short but impressive list of Mainers who have played for a baseball program that has gone to 16 straight NCAA tournaments and won national titles in 2014 and 2019.

“We went down there for a vacation and I didn’t know I was going to have an opportunity to be recruited by them but it was really fun,” said Nadeau, a 6-foot-6 right-handed pitcher who throws nearly 90 mph. “Eight months later I was committed to them.”

Nadeau and his parents, Chuck and Victoria Nadeau, traveled to Nashville, Tennessee, to celebrate Victoria’s birthday. While there, Chuck Nadeau, who is Gorham’s varsity baseball coach, was able to get some seats for a Vanderbilt game through a friend.

“These were really good seats but they only had one available,” Chuck Nadeau recalled. “So my wife and I sat in the bleachers but Wyatt sat right on top of the (Vanderbilt) dugout. At the time he’s just a kid entering his freshman (season). But he’s a big, strong, athletic-looking kid. And the usher said, ‘Oh, you must be a recruit.’ We both laughed and Wyatt said something like, ‘Oh, I hope so someday.’ ”


Nadeau didn’t meet Coach Tim Corbin that day, but just a few months later Corbin saw him pitch at a showcase event. An invitation to a Vanderbilt camp followed and, eventually, a scholarship offer.

Nadeau, 16, won’t be able to sign a national letter of intent until November 2024 when he’s a high school senior but, as he puts it, “It’s Vanderbilt. Who wouldn’t want to play there?”

Assuming all goes as planned, Nadeau will follow current Vanderbilt starting pitcher Hunter Owen of South Portland on the Maine-to-Nashville path originally forged by former major league infielder and current San Diego Padres coach Ryan Flaherty and his Deering High teammate Andrew Giobbi.

Flaherty and Giobbi were Corbin’s first recruits from Maine, both arriving in 2006. Flaherty’s brother, Regan, started at Vanderbilt before finishing his college career at Western Kentucky. Tre Fletcher, a 2019 second-round draft pick by the St. Louis Cardinals, had committed to Vanderbilt but opted to go directly to the professional ranks.

Wyatt Nadeau pitched sparingly for Gorham High as a freshman last spring, but he caught the attention of college coaches last summer during a showcase event in Rhode Island. Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer

Nadeau’s transformation from wannabe to hotly pursued prospect happened quickly last summer. After Nadeau pitched sparingly for Gorham in the high school season. He took “a leap to another level,” his dad said, while playing for the Maine Lightning club program.

“His velocity last spring was probably sitting 82 to 84 with his fastball,” Chuck Nadeau said. “He was starting to go to these tournaments and prospect camps and was starting to show 88s and 89s.”


Wyatt Nadeau pointed to his performance at a showcase event at Bryant University in Rhode Island as a key day. He was added to one of the Lightning’s older teams that featured several other prospects.

Mike D’Andrea, the owner and director of Maine Lightning, and his staff had been working the phones to let their extensive list of college coaching contacts know that Nadeau and several of their other players were worth watching.

“I knew Vanderbilt was going to be there but I was kind of shocked to see Coach Corbin,” Nadeau said.

Gorham High sophomore Wyatt Nadeau allowed two hits and struck out nine in four innings during his season debut last week against Westbrook. Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer

“When I call Tim Corbin we also call Boston College, Northeastern, UConn, all our guys,” D’Andrea said. “And one thing that can’t be left out is the kids have to have the goods. I can call whoever I want to call. If the kid doesn’t have the goods, that’s going to be it.”

Apparently Nadeau delivered. According to Nadeau and his parents, Connecticut, Georgetown and the University of Maine all offered scholarships before Vanderbilt. College coaches cannot comment on a potential recruits until they have signed a letter of intent.

Committing to a top-tier program like Vanderbilt brings expectations.


“When people hear that you’ve committed to Vanderbilt they want to come see you pitch and they’re expecting to see a guy that pitches at Vanderbilt. And the truth is, he’s going to try to pitch at Vanderbilt three years from now,” Chuck Nadeau said. “That’s the growth that we need to let kids like Wyatt have. … You’ve got to let them compete and win and lose and struggle because it’s all part of the process. Because when he gets to Vanderbilt, it certainly doesn’t get easier.”

Both the promise and the process were on display last week in Nadeau’s first start this spring against Westbrook. He struck out three of the first four hitters. Westbrook hitters were noticeably late on his fastball and frozen by a tight slider that Nadeau thinks is his best pitch (he also throws a quality change-up).

Then came a walk and Nadeau’s good friend Zach Jalbert, another Maine Lightning player, fought off a fastball that had too much of the plate for an opposite-field triple over the right fielder’s head. Before long, Westbrook had three runs and still only one out. Nadeau took a few deep breaths and struck out the next two. He exited after four innings, having thrown 74 pitches, with nine strikeouts and two hits allowed.

“He’s already really good and he’s going to work to get better,” said Jalbert. “He’s got good off-speed (pitches). You can never really tell what’s coming. And there’s also that ‘he’s 6-6’ aspect. He’s intimidating and he throws good.”

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