Edward Little High School assistant baseball coach Lee May Jr. joined to the Red Eddies after a professional coaching career that included working in the Cleveland Guardians, Seattle Mariners and Boston Red Sox organizations. Most recently he spent three seasons with the Portland Sea Dogs. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal

AUBURN — Lee May Jr. has been surrounded by professional baseball his entire life. This season, he is Edward Little’s hitting coach.

“My co-worker’s son was coming down to Ingersoll (Park) to do some hitting, right up the hill, so he said, ‘Hey, come down and check him out.’ So I went down, and that’s where I met Coach,” May said, referring to Edward Little head coach Dave Jordan.

Edward Little High School assistant coach Lee May Jr. is looking forward to spending more time with his wife in the Auburn community rather than being on the road with minor league baseball teams. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal

Jordan asked May, who lives in Auburn, how he’d feel about helping out with the team’s hitting. Now, May is a Red Eddie.

“I live right there on Court Street, and I see these guys walk past my house all the time,” May said. “I hadn’t been to a baseball field (yet), but, I mean, to actually be out here and still feel like this; this is exactly where I’m supposed to be.

“The game just directs me and puts me in these places, with no agenda. I’ve just been very blessed, and the game has really given me a lot of joy. To be able to be here and to be building a home, building a life and to be a part of a community where you feel like you can make an impact.”

May’s father, the late Lee May Sr., hit 354 home runs during an 18-year Major League Baseball career highlighted by seven season (1965-71) with the Cincinnati Reds and six with the Baltimore Orioles (1975-80).

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Lee May Jr.’s professional baseball career started in 1986 in the New York Mets system. The Cincinnati native said his plan was to go to Oklahoma State on a full-ride scholarship, but that changed when he was selected in the first round of the MLB draft.

“When you get to go to work with your dad every day and see how they conduct themselves, going in the business of it, as well as the amount of work that goes into it … I had a pretty good idea as far as how to go about the work and how to prepare yourself,” May said.

May played eight seasons with various teams in the minor leagues before hanging up his uniform to begin a coaching career. He coached in the Mets organization, was a minor league manager in the Cleveland Guardians system and was the minor league hitting coordinator for the Seattle Mariners.

He joined the Boston Red Sox organization in 2016 and most recently served as the hitting coach for the Portland Seadogs from 2017-2019.

During the coronavirus pandemic, May decided to move to Maine from Arizona after meeting his now wife. He attributes his appreciation of nature and the changing seasons in Maine, coupled with the tight-knit community for his decision to plant his roots in Auburn.

“When I got finished with Portland, I was in a mode where, it was a great run, I really enjoyed it, I had a blast, but I wanted to settle down and not travel and be at home with my wife, and just kind of get out of the game,” May said. “I was satisfied, I was really happy and blessed to have had the time and the opportunity that I had. I thought I was done.”

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May laughed and said baseball remains an unpredictable, though steady constant in his life.

He grew up watching his dad play, had a career of his own, and saw his son, Jacob May, have a professional career that included 15 games with the Chicago White Sox in 2017.

‘CHANGED THE GAME’

May said the most rewarding part of coaching is giving young players the positive experience in baseball that he’s had.

“You know those times on and off the field, being with your friends, you don’t get this time back,” May said. “I know they don’t know how much they’re going to miss this, so you just want it to be a good experience for them and for them to have fun, learn things — disguised in the game of baseball — and have a good experience.”

Edward Little junior Ben DuBois said that on the first day of practice this spring, May casually showed up to the Red Eddies’ practice and was announced as a new coach.

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“It’s unbelievable,” DuBois said. “We came in the first day of practice, and Coach Jordan said we were going to have a guy who was like, drafted by the Mets.”

DuBois said May has been a “great addition” to the Edward Little coaching staff because he brings a different perspective to the game.

“Obviously, we didn’t start out the way we wanted to record wise, but it’s getting a lot better,” DuBois said. “We’re playing cleaner baseball, and he’s been a huge help.”

Edward Little High School assistant coach Lee May Jr. talks with Tyler Turcotte, right, during batting practice Tuesday at Central Maine Community College. Red Eddies head coach Dave Jordan is at left. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal

After a 1-5 start to the season, the Red Eddies have won three of their past four games to improve to 4-6.

More specifically, DuBois said May has been a tremendous help with adjusting players’ mindsets at the plate. DuBois said that in past seasons he’s been anxious, but May has helped him calm down and have a better approach. The result, DuBois said, is that he has become a better, stronger hitter.

Along with teaching the technical aspects of baseball, DuBois said May is also “just a super funny guy” and is always cracking jokes in the dugout.

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Junior TJ Kramarz said May has quickly made an impact for the Red Eddies.

“He just changed the game,” Kramarz said. “Emotions are high. It was like, coming into season, we’re going to learn a lot, we knew what we were getting into, and he’s just changing our approaches, knowing where to go with the ball and knowing where the runs are. It helps a lot.”

Kramarz added that the Red Eddies have an incredible leg up on other teams with the depth their coaching roster. With May joining the staff, there’s now a coach at every position, which Kramarz said is uncommon in high school baseball.

Edward Little High School assistant coach Lee May Jr., right, said that everything that he brings to the Red Eddies after many years of coaching minor league baseball teams has already been taught by head coach Dave Jordan, left. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal

May said he is grateful to wear an Edward Little uniform. He also credited Jordan for the program he’s built in Auburn, and said most of things he teaches the players only reinforce what Jordan has already taught.

“A lot of things that I say out there, that man has already said,” May said. “He’s very knowledgeable about baseball. … We look at each other sometimes because we complete each other’s sentences. A lot of the things that I’m throwing out there are things that he’s already been doing, especially because he’s done it for a long time.”

DuBois and Kramarz both said they already have their sights set on winter sessions with May after this season ends.

May said he will never force a player to put in the extra work outside of season — he is “not going to drag you to the cage,” or “force this on you” — but he will be all in for players who do want more help.

“If this is what you want to do, I want to be there for you,” May said. “I’ll throw as long as you want me to throw, and I’ll give you everything I got.”


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