Most high school athletes proceed from a fall sport to a winter sport and then to a spring sport each year, deriving varying degrees of personal satisfaction depending on which sport is their favorite.

But sometimes that procession isn’t as automatic.

Luke Morrill is a three-sport standout at Rockland District High School, where he has been a key contributor to the Tigers’ soccer, basketball and baseball teams since his freshman year.

But being already set to join the University of Maine baseball program next fall, and also coping with some tendinitis in his left knee — or jumper’s knee, in sports vernacular — Morrill has opted to forgo his senior season of basketball at Rockland in order to prepare for his short-term and long-term baseball futures.

“I’ve played basketball my whole life, so deciding not to play my senior season was pretty tough, but with the support of my family it made it an easier decision,” said Morrill. “It’s not an injury, I just wanted to be careful.”

Morrill is taking part in individual workouts most days this winter, often with his uncle Mark Lewis of Thomaston, who is serving as his personal trainer.

“I work out with him three or four days a week, and then I work out by myself on other days,” Morrill said. “I’ve never felt stronger than I do right now.”

At 6-foot-4, Morrill is projected as a corner infielder in college, but his workouts are geared in part toward helping him continue playing in the middle of the infield at the next level.

“Getting quicker and stronger are the two big things for me, especially for playing in the middle of the infield, which is where I want to play,” he said.

Already a three-year starter at shortstop for the Rockland baseball team, Morrill will play shortstop and pitch for the Tigers again next spring, then play American Legion baseball next summer for the Rockland-based Amato’s team coached by his father, Casey.

The lefthanded-hitting Morrill then will head off to the University of Maine in the fall of 2011, where he will be part of a talented in-state baseball recruiting class for Black Bears coach Steve Trimper that also includes Scott Heath of Westbrook, Sam Balzano of Deering of Portland and Luke Duncklee of Cony of Augusta.

“People look at me and see a corner infielder because of my height, but I’ve played shortstop all my life and I’d like to keep playing in the middle of the infield,” said Morrill, whose brother Dominic will be a senior pitcher and captain for the baseball team at Colby College of Waterville in the spring.

Cheverus in virtual grid tourney

Snow now blankets the football fields of Maine, but the season continues for Class A state champion Cheverus of Portland.

Cheverus is one of 64 teams — 50 state champions and 14 at-large squads — that have been selected to participate in the second annual Massey Virtual National Championship during January.

Gannett’s and USA Today have seeded the teams in the championship bracket, and they will square off in computer-simulated matchups programmed by mathematician Ken Massey, a professor at Carson-Newman College in Jefferson City, Tenn., whose computer models were used to create the BCS rankings for college football in 1999.

The first round of the tournament will be held Jan. 4, with the winner announced Jan. 11 at noon at the following website:

Cheverus won its first Class A state championship in 25 years this fall, emerging undefeated after topping Bangor in the state final. The Stags are seeded 57th in the 64-team Massey tournament field field and 15th in one of four 16-team brackets. Cheverus will face North Allegheny Senior High School of Pennsylvania in its first-round matchup.

Located in the Pittsburgh suburb of Wexford, Pa., North Allegheny is the reigning Pennsylvania Class AAAA champion. The Tigers are rated fifth in the 64-team Massey tournament field and second in the 16-team bracket that also includes Cheverus.

According with information released in conjunction with the virtual tournament, Cheverus is a 134,234,970-to-1 pick to win the national title, while North Allegheny is a 1,329.84-to-1 shot.

De La Salle High School of Concord, Calif., is the tournament’s top overall seed, while other No. 1 seeds are Don Bosco Prep of Ramsey, N.J.; Wheaton Warrensville High School of Wheaton, Ill.; and South Panola High School of Batesville, Miss.

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Ernie Clark

Ernie Clark is a veteran sportswriter who has worked with the Bangor Daily News for more than a decade. A four-time Maine Sportswriter of the Year as selected by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters...