The University of Maine baseball team has signed four players to National Letters of Intent for the 2009 season.

The quartet includes catcher/first baseman Francis Whitten of Westborough, Mass., shortstop Mike Fransoso of Portsmouth, N.H., outfielder and pitching prospect Carlos Ramirez of Trumbull, Conn., and catcher Tyler Patzalek of Burlington, Ontario.

“I think our goal was to go out with this recruiting class and plug holes and-or add depth for what we might be coming up on with graduation or potential draft kids,” said UMaine head coach Steve Trimper. “We did that by getting four guys, including some who can play multiple positions, and guys who hopefully contribute right away.”

The group of signees also is expected to be joined by walk-on pitcher Chris Bernard of Scarborough.

Whitten, a 6-foot-4, 180-pound lefthanded-hitting catcher and first baseman, has skills similar to those of UMaine junior Mickey Lugbauer, a power-hitting catcher with a good arm.

“Fran hits for both power and average and is very athletic for his size, which gives him great versatility in the field,” Black Bears assistant coach and recruiting coordinator Jared Holowaty.

Fransoso is a lefthanded-hitting shortstop who helped lead Portsmouth High to a 23-0 record and a state title last spring, when he batted .470.

“Mike is the top shortstop in New England and what makes him even more special is his desire to win and compete,” Holowaty said.

The versatile Ramirez has a strong arm. He throws 91 mph and may get a look on the mound.

“Carlos hits from both sides of the plate with power and has outstanding speed,” Holowaty said. “He is a ‘five-tool’ prospect with the ability to make an immediate impact.”

Patzalek, who bats from the right side, is a defensive standout and “a gritty hitter,” Holowaty said.

“Tyler has the ability to control a game with his leadership and toughness behind the plate.”

Bernard, a righthander, was a workhorse at Scarborough. He posted a 4-2 record with a 3.21 earned run average, allowing 43 hits with 37 strikeouts and 16 walks in 43ª innings.

Bernard also batted .365 with nine RBIs and six stolen bases.

The eligibility of the student-athletes is contingent upon admission to UMaine and compliance with NCAA initial eligibility guidelines.

UMaine’s Farkes out for season

UMaine sophomore quarterback Adam Farkes, who was injured in the Black Bears’ Oct. 11 game at Delaware, will miss the rest of the season with a shoulder injury.

Farkes, who recently saw the doctor who last spring performed surgery on his left A/C joint, was told he would need another procedure to repair torn cartilage in the shoulder.

Farkes completed 79 of 147 passes (54 percent) for 870 yards and nine touchdowns with six interceptions in 5½ games this season. He took over the starting job on Sept. 22, 2007.

UM’s LeDuc, Rickett honored

Kyle LeDuc and Alex Rickett of the UMaine men’s soccer team have been chosen for the 2008 America East Men’s Soccer All-Academic Team that was announced Thursday.

To be nominated, student-athletes must be a starter or important reserve who played in 50 percent of their team’s competitions. They must have a minimum grade point average of 3.30. Freshmen are not eligible.

LeDuc is a senior financial economics major with a minor in business who is on the Dean’s List. He started all 17 games and played 1,577 minutes, helping the Black Bears allow 19 fewer goals than last year.

Rickett, an economics major, was one of only two sophomores honored and had the highest GPA among all soccer selections at 3.79. He finished second on the team with two goals and one assist.

Lichterman to speak in Lewiston

UMaine women’s hockey coach Dan Lichterman will meet fans Nov. 25 during a pregame reception for the Bears’ 7 p.m. game against Vermont at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee.

The event will be held at 5 p.m. in the Shipyard Lounge at the Colisee. Tickets are $10 and include “sports bar munchies” and a cash bar. The RSVP deadline is Nov. 18.

To participate, call the UMaine Alumni Association at 1-800-934-2586, extension 1185.

Tickets to the game are $5 each and must be purchased separately at the Colisee (207-783-2009 or

Pete Warner

Pete graduated from Bangor High School in 1980 and earned a B.S. in Journalism (Advertising) from the University of Maine in 1986. He grew up fishing at his family's camp on Sebago Lake but didn't take...