One of the aspects of pitching Gardiner senior Spencer Allen most enjoys is being in control.

With a young team behind him this season, it was particularly important for Allen to be in control on the mound and in the dugout. He succeeded on both counts in leading the Tigers to the Class B tournament.

He finished 7-0 on the mound during the regular season while batting well over .400. When he wasn’t on the field, Allen encouraged his teammates to become better and in some cases taught them how.

“He had such a good season it’s hard to say you expected that,” Gardiner coach Jim Palmer said. “But I did.”

For his efforts, Allen has been selected Kennebec Journal Baseball Player of the Year. Erskine Academy shortstop Ryan Pulver was also considered.

Allen did lose a game this season, 1-0 to Hermon in the opening round of the Eastern B tournament. The run was unearned and the appearance lowered his earned run average to 1.31. In 48 innings, the right-hander struck out 57 and walked 11. He gained five to six miles per hour on his fastball this season, Palmer said.

“He velocity is deceiving because he throws so much off-speed stuff,” the Gardiner coach said. “He’s one of the only pitchers I’ve coached at Gardiner who really had control of three pitchers.”

In addtion to his fastball and an effective changeup, Allen improved his curve during the winter while working with Thomas College coach Greg King.

“In the past I haven’t had much of a curve, but I worked on it a lot over the winter,” Allen said.

He also developed a slider late in the season and has carried that pitch over to his American Legion games and has a knuckleball he can throw for strikes. Allen also made significant improvement at the plate, hitting .431 with 23 RBIs and 22 runs scored this season.

“In the past I considered myself more of a pitcher,” he said. “This year in high school and especially in Legion I’ve been hitting the ball great.”

Palmer attributes the improvement to hard work in the offseason as well as willingness to become more of a contact hitter, but even that improvement pales besides the contributions he made to the team as a leader.

“You can’t put numbers on that,” Palmer said. “I think his leadership was the most iportant to us. He did it without being asked to do it. He took some of the youmger players aside and worked with the pitchers.”

Palmer, who also coached the football team, selected Allen as his quarterback last fall despite the fact he hadn’t played the game since his sophomore year.

“It was a good way to go out,” Allen said.

This fall, Allen will attend Husson University where he plans to major in accounting and play baseball. Recruited as a pitcher he hopes to attract the attention of coaches in the fall with his ability to field and hit.

He played shortstop or second when he wasn’t pitching for the Tigers this seaosn, and Palmer thinks Allen would make a good college second baseman.

“It’s tough to take the bat out of his hands,” Palmer said. “I think he’s ready for that next level. I even think eventually he should look higher up.”

Allen, who also started for the basketball team, will miss his playing days at Gardiner.

“There’s a lot of support with all the sports,” he said. “Everyone knows each other, it’s a small community.”

Gary Hawkins — 621-5638

[email protected]

 


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