ORONO — A torn ulnar collateral ligament kept Scarborough High School’s Ben Wessel off the mound for the second half of the baseball season, but it didn’t lessen Wessel’s worth to the Red Storm.

“I was more concerned about him not being able to hit than not being able to pitch, because it left a big void in our lineup. It was good to get him back,” Scarborough coach Mike Coutts said.

Wessel missed two games, but returned as the designated hitter for the Red Storm, leading the team to the Western Maine Class A title.

On Friday, prior to the Senior All-Star Game at the University of Maine’s Mahaney Diamond, Wessel was named winner of the Dr. John Winkin Award, given annually to the top high school baseball player in the state.

“I wasn’t expecting it,” Wessel said. “All the finalists had a great season. It’s rewarding to have the hard work pay off, and it’s a privilege to receive this award.”

Wessel led the SMAA in batting average (.486), slugging percentage (.943), on-base percentage (.600), runs batted in (21), triples (four) and home runs (two).

“Whenever we needed a big hit, he got a big hit for us,” Coutts said.

When he injured his elbow, the right-handed Wessel was 6-0 with a 0.62 earned run average. In 34 innings pitched, Wessel struck out 45 batters.

“I’ll be needing Tommy John surgery in July, but I’m still able to hit,” Wessel, who will play college baseball at the University of Rhode Island next year, said. “I felt like I let the team down a bit, but I was able to come back with my bat and help the team that way.”

Among the finalists for the Winkin Award were a pair of central Maine athletes, Messalonskee High School’s Sam Dexter and J.T. Whitten of Waterville.

Dexter led Messalonskee to its first Class A state title and first championship since winning Class B in 1973. He hit .475 with 24 runs and 16 RBIs.

Waterville reached at least the Eastern B this season. Whitten finished with 28 runs and 28 RBIs. Whitten also led the Panthers with eight wins.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

 


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