Greely ballplayers make college choices
CUMBERLAND—Jonah Normandeau and Bailey Train made up a pretty formidable 1-2 punch for the Greely baseball team the past three seasons and last week, the duo made even more noise, making official their college choices.
Normandeau, who graduated in June, will spend next year at Bridgton Academy, then will compete for the University of Maine in Orono.
Train, a rising senior at Greely, is taking his powerful arm (and possibly his potent bat as well) to the University of Massachusetts in Amherst.
"It's exciting," said longtime Greely coach Derek Soule. "Both called me last week (when I was on vacation in Washington D.C.). I'm happy for both of them. Scouts have watched them for a couple years now. I've talked to dozens of D1 college coaches over the years about them. Both guys made up their minds a long time ago that they wanted to play D1 baseball. I remember them as little kids coming to my skills and drills and they had live arms then. They were 1-2 on the Little League All-Star team which won the district."
Normandeau, Greely's 2012 Spring Athlete of the Year, was hindered by an elbow injury last spring, but still managed to 11-1 with a 0.82 earned run average during his varsity career. Normandeau was undefeated as a starter. His lone loss came in relief his sophomore year against Cape Elizabeth, in a game where the Capers didn't hit the ball out of the infield, yet took advantage of three Rangers' errors.
"(The school) felt right for me," said Normandeau, of U. Maine. "I like the coaches and the campus. It was my dream to play D1 since I was a little kid and I'm living the dream. Once I'm healthy, hopefully I'll get plenty of playing time."
Soule feels Normandeau has the ingredients to make a mark at the next level.
"He'll be very effective because he'll get stronger physically," Soule said. "(With us) he peaked at 91 (miles per hour). He's got natural movement on his fastball. Movement is more important than velocity and he throws hard with movement. He took a velocity leap his junior year and I was confident he could go D1."
Normandeau joins a select list of Greely players to attend the University of Maine. That list includes Soule, former head coach (and current assistant) Bob Anthoine and most recently Ryan Copp (Class of 2004), who played two years in Orono before transferring to Franklin Pierce (N.H.).
Train is coming off a tremendous junior season, which saw him go 5-2 on the mound (four of the wins were shutouts) with a 1.23 ERA. At the plate, Train hit .440 with 20 runs, 25 hits and 25 RBI. That included five doubles, five home runs and a pair of triples. Train was named a first-team league all-star and Greely's Spring Male Athlete of the Year.
Train said he was originally considering eight schools, narrowed that list to three, then decided on U. Mass.
"U. Mass was definitely my favorite," said Train. "The coaching staff is unbelievable. The school itself offers academic and athletic opportunities for me. I was recruited mainly to pitch, but they'll give me an opportunity to hit. I'm very excited. (The decision's) a big weight off my shoulders."
Train enters his senior season with a career record of 13-3 and an ERA of 1.55. He has a simple goal.
"I want to win the state championship," Train said.
Soule feels that Train will continue to improve.
"He shouldn't reach his peak for awhile," Soule said. "He hit 89 (mph) at one showcase this summer and he'll continue to get stronger. He's every bit as much of a prospect as a hitter as he is a pitcher. He's as good a hitter as we've ever had."
Soule added that a third Rangers player, rising senior Connor Russell, could be making a D1 commitment shortly and that rising junior Will Bryant is also on the radar of several top schools.
Suffice it to say, it's a good time to be a ballplayer from Cumberland/North Yarmouth.