Written by Jacob Ouellette
Director of Media Relations - Sanford Mainers
Baseball is filled with its ups and downs and its unpredictability. For the Sanford Mainers 2012 season, a lot of the same can be said.
Finishing the regular season with a 15-26 record, it could easily be assumed that playoffs were out of the question for this year’s team.
However, the team managed to hold on to a postseason appearance; facing the Newport Gulls in round one and forcing a game three after walking off in the bottom of the tenth inning in game two on a bases loaded single by Boston College catcher, Nate LaPointe.
Despite the final results of the season, the Mainers had many positives to take away with them.
It started with the return of Manager Aaron Izaryk to coach the Moose for his fourth straight season.
Alongside Izaryk, pitching coach Lee Jatkevicius and hitting coach Tim Atwood returned for their second season -- the first time a full coaching staff has stayed with the team for consecutive years in franchise history.
The returning members didn’t stop there. Pitchers Tripp Davis out of the New Jersey Institute of Technology and Nate Jones from Wake Forest University returned to the hill. Offensive players Jose Torralba from Canisius College and Paul Kronenfeld from Georgia Tech also came back to Sanford for their second seasons.
These players lead a team that put together results that, by most standards, seemed out of the ordinary.
Offensively the Mainers finished ninth out of a total ten teams in the entire league with a .268 batting average; however, the pitching staff held a cumulative 4.69 earned run average -- good enough for second in the league.
It was a year that most who followed the team knew not to judge by the stats in front of them, but the progress the team’s players made.
Jordan Betts, an infielder from Duke University, came to Sanford after playing fifty-five games for the Blue Devils, smacking only four home runs.
In less than forty-five games for the Mainers, Betts hit eleven home runs. This total broke the team’s previous home run record of seven set by Maryland outfielder Mike Montville in 2011. It also placed him third in the league.
Not only did Betts break the team’s individual home run record, he helped lead the Mainers to a total twenty-eight home runs, breaking the previous franchise record of twenty-one set back in 2004.
The power behind his bat gave him a spot in the home-run derby competition at the All-Star Game in which he finished second to Laconia’s Danny Collins who ended the season breaking the league home run record with nineteen.
However, the success at the plate for Betts didn’t stop there. He drove in thirty-six runners all summer -- six more than the previous franchise leader Ryan Crew of the 2004 squad.
It wasn’t just Betts who made an impact at the plate for the team though. Fairfield University’s Anthony Hajjar consistently stepped up, stringing together multiple hit streaks over the course of the summer, as well as earning himself a spot at All-Star Game.
Jordan Hagel came to the team in the later part of June, but quickly made his mark, keeping his batting average anywhere between .350-.450 all season long. This too helped him make his way to the All-Star Game.
These players contributions are only a brief sample of what was brought to the table this summer, offering a glimpse of the moments that went beyond the season’s final statistics.
Coach Izaryk continued his success with sending players to the All-Star game, placing six players on the Eastern Division’s roster.
By the end of the season the team struggled with injuries and other limitations, but other players stepped up to fill the void, especially in the playoffs.
Two-way player John Gorman from Boston College went from warming up in the bullpen to roaming the outfield grass come the start of the postseason.
One notable moment for Gorman was hitting a two-run towering blast to left field in game two against the Gulls.
Pitcher Matt Horan from Franklin pierce also went from the bullpen to the batter’s box as he was called on to fill the designated hitter slot in the line-up. Horan joined Gorman in providing the team with postseason heroics, hitting a shot of his own just afterward.
In game three, LaPointe was injured after a collision with a runner at the plate. Utility player Will Cooper out of Vanderbilt University moved from left field to the backstop, throwing on catcher’s gear in order to fill the team’s need until the end of the game.
Eastern Connecticut State’s Evan Chamberlain followed in the footsteps of Gorman and Horan before him, leaving the bullpen and stepping into the line-up to fill in the gaps.
These player situations are only a few examples of what this team was able to accomplish over the summer, leaving one important thing to be said about the 2012 Sanford Mainers. Though they may not have ended the season with the most impressive results on the field, the team came through for each other when they needed to most.
The 2013 season will be open to new opportunities for many new players as the search for a third franchise championship remains the ultimate summer goal.
For now though, Goodall Park in Sanford, Maine will remain quiet in regard to Sanford Mainers’ baseball. Not until the beginning of June will the Green and Yellow return, bringing with the near-guarantee of another unpredictable season.
For updates and information on the Sanford Mainers visit www.sanfordmainers.com.
All photos were taken by 2012 Sanford Mainers Photographer, Jillian Genereux