Chris Morris of Hampden, who guided the Sanford Mainers to the New England Collegiate Baseball League championship series this summer, has been named recipient of the NECBL’s Joel Cooney Manager of the Year award.
In his first year as the Mainers’ manager, Morris led the Mainers to a 26-17 record good for first place in the Northern Division of the 13-team wooden-bat league, which has featured top collegiate players from around the country since its inception in 1994 and sent more than 100 alumni to the major leagues.
The Mainers, who play at historic Goodall Park in Sanford, then went on to defeat the Upper Valley Nighthawks of Hartford, Vermont, in a best-of-three playoff series to reach the championship round, where they fell in two straight games to the Mystic Schooners of Groton, Connecticut.
Sanford reached the finals for the second time in three years despite not having a player selected to the All-NECBL first or second team.
Morris, a Hampden Academy graduate, first became a head coach while still an undergraduate at Husson University in Bangor.
He replaced his uncle, Dave Morris, at the helm of the Brewer American Legion baseball team in 2009 and led the Falcons to back-to-back Zone 1 championships in 2010 and 2011.
Morris also was a four-year baseball player and a team captain at Husson as well as a two-year letterwinner in football for the Eagles.
After graduation he joined the university’s staff as an assistant football and baseball coach under head coaches Gabby Price and Jason Harvey.
Most recently he has been an assistant baseball coach at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he helped coach Andy Barlow’s Engineers win the 2016 ECAC Division III championship.
Morris also been active in the summer college baseball ranks, winning the 2013 Hamptons Collegiate Baseball League Championship as pitching coach for the North Fork Osprey and then taking the same job with the Mainers last year before being promoted to manager after former manager Aaron Izaryk was named Sanford’s general manager this spring.
Among other NECBL postseason awards, Jeff Mertzel of Winthrop was named the league’s umpire of the year.