Thanks to Dan Acheson, Director of Broadcasting/Media Relations of the Sanford Mainers for answering the following questions about the New England Summer League, the Sanford Mainers, and the two Hoosiers on the Mainers roster.
New England League/Sanford Mainers
Can you start things off by telling us a little about the Sanford Mainers organization as well as the New England summer league?
Founded in 1993 the New England Collegiate Baseball League ("The New England League") began its direction under former Cincinnati Reds and New York Mets All-Star, George Foster, as well as Emmy award-winning television producer/director, Joseph Consentino. Since then, the NECBL has become one of the premier wooden bat collegiate leagues in the nation. With a 42-game schedule and league playoffs over a nine-week span, the league offers the nation's top college players their first glimpse into the life of baseball beyond their college careers. Featuring 12 teams across all six New England states, the NECBL annually sees its top players advance to the world of professional baseball.
The Sanford Mainers, located in southern Maine, are the lone team representing the state of Maine in the NECBL. In the league since 2002, the Sanford Mainers have been very successful, bringing home the 2004 and 2008 titles. Sanford is a town that loves its baseball, surrounds and supports the players both on and off the field.
After missing nearly the entire IU season due to injury, Ethan has really struggled at the plate for you guys this summer. Do you think his struggles can be attributed to “knocking off the rust,” or is there something else at play here?
Ethan is a great kid on and off the diamond. In the clubhouse, he is a character guy that keeps the team loose, on the field he is a good player who has shown glimpses of greatness. He has struggled at the plate, but a lot of that needs to be attributed to the lack of AB's and time at the plate. With every game he is getting his timing back and getting great swings. He is always in the cage, getting more reps, trying to get back to the form he was in before his injury. He did recently foul a ball off his left ankle, causing some pain, but is sporting a protective brace at the plate and has become more aggressive as a result.
Where has Ethan been playing defensively for the Mainers? He is a guy who may be in the running for innings at shortstop next season. Has he gotten any action at short? If so, how has he played?
Wilson has made 14 starts at shortstop and five at second for the Mainers. He has committed eight errors on the season, most coming at the beginning of the season when he was tentative on that injured ankle. As he has become more sure footed, his range and overall defense have greatly improved. As he continues to get stronger physically, Ethan will definitely make a run at short for the Hoosiers next season.
Looking at his stats alone, it seems that Drew has pitched very well this summer, but he has only logged 13.1 innings on the mound. Is there a reason why he hasn’t pitched more?
Drew has been one of the Mainers middle/late inning relievers thus far in the season. In his eight appearances, Leininger has spotted all of his pitches, worked ahead in counts, and kept hitters off balance extremely effectively. Drew has made the most of the time he has been given on the mound, picking up three wins in relief for Sanford, on a pitching staff that is very congested with 14 pitchers, a number that limits everyone's innings.
What has impressed you most about Drew thus far?
Drew's ability to be ready all the time has impressed a lot of people. Pitching in only 8-of-31 games, he has had a lot of time in between appearances, but it is his aptitude to be ready whenever called upon that is remarkable.