Bates baseball coach Craig Vandersea is part of a new era at Bates. Vandersea is just the third Bates head baseball coach since 1955. He took over the Bobcat program after Bob Flynn's nine-year tenure ended in 1999. Flynn succeeded Bates legend Chick Leahey, who guided the team from 1955 to 1990. A 1952 Bates graduate, Leahey's name now adorns the Bobcats' home field. While Leahey's tenure included one of the watershed moments for the Bates program when the 1984 squad led NCAA Division III in batting average, Vandersea's first squad in 1999 boasted a Bates first, as Jason Coulie '99 was selected in the ninth round of the Major League Baseball draft by the Anaheim Angels.
The 2002 Bates line-up will look to replace the offensive production of All-NESCAC rightfielder Ben Bines '01 (Lexington, Mass.), the school's career leader in doubles and among the career top 10 in seven offensive categories. Senior catcher Ben Donaldson (Lamoine, Maine), a two-sport standout and the Bobcats' captain in 2002, is in line to help pick up the slack. He was second on the team in triples and third in hits and runs scored last year. Classmate John Merriman (Clinton, Mass.), who split time in the infield and at DH, is Bates' top returning power threat. He led the team in doubles and was second in RBI. Sophomore Nate Maxwell '04 (Newport, Vt.), a third baseman, was one of a number of impact first-year players. Maxwell, who started 26 of 31 games as a rookie, is the team's top returning batter at .310.
The Bobcats play their home games on Leahey Field, which boasts an outdoor batting cage, pro-style dugouts and a drainage system that allows the Bobcats to play outside as early as the last week in March. Indoor practices are held in the Clifton Daggett Gray Athletic Building, which has a batting cage and room for a full infield practice.
Craig Vandersea (email@example.com) is a 1990 graduate of
Brunswick (Maine) High School, where he was a three-sport standout, earning
All-State honors as a junior and senior. A 1995 graduate of the University
of Rhode Island, where he played varsity football for four years, Vandersea
was an assistant baseball and football coach at Norwich University and a football
assistant under his father, Howard, at Bowdoin before joining the Bates staff
as running backs coach and third base coach in 1998.