Hunter LaBossiere sets UMF Baseball career hit record

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Senior Hunter LaBossiere

FARMINGTON – The University of Farmington Baseball team wrapped up its season last weekend, before the flooding rains submerged the grounds of Hippach Field, with a final homestand doubleheader against Husson University on Saturday. With rain coming, the Sunday season ending doubleheader was moved to Bangor to again face the NAC East leading Eagles. The Beavers finished the season ten games out of first place. But, it was during that final home game that Senior Hunter LaBossiere made history by recording a University of Maine Farmington record 128th hit in his baseball career.   


“Watching [LaBossiere] break the record was the highlight of our season,” UMF Baseball Coach Chris Bessey said, noting that a couple other players also had a good year as well.




“It was successful,” Coach Bessey stated. “If you’re just looking at the wins and losses, maybe it wasn’t, but I think the grind that division three baseball is in the northeast, it is the reward. To be able to play college baseball and get a great education.”


Some early success came with the Beavers annual trip to Florida, but the team struggled to maintain momentum. Mid-March through Mid-April saw some longer stretches without a consistent slate of games to play, followed by a barrage of 17 games in the last fifteen days of April. 


“Overall I would say it was a pretty good season,” LaBossiere agreed. “I enjoyed playing with my teammates and I really wouldn’t trade it for the world.” 


Senior Danny Terhune

Two of those teammates were fellow Seniors, Will Cauchon and Danny Terhune. LaBossiere and Terhune spent five years at UMF, with one of those years lost to Covid. “It was great for us to have two veteran players that had started since their freshmen year,” said Bessey. “Two great human beings, they do everything you ask, they work hard.” Bessey added that they are never sitting in the dugout as established seniors and letting younger guys do the daily dirty work. “They’re the first to get out there and lead,” said Bessey.


Bessey also had high praise for Cauchon, who transferred in and played the last two years with the Beavers. “It’s actually a funny story, cause I recruited him (Cauchon) out of high school,” said Bessey. “Will is a very solid human being, a great student athlete, and a leader on campus.” 


Coach Bessey noted that Cauchon is the public announcer voice for UMF Athletics in fall and winter sport seasons and also won a MAHPERD (Maine Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance) Leadership Award. “I see him as somebody who’s going to lead a school somewhere,” Bessey added. “Maybe as a teacher to start, but I can see him being a principal, even a superintendent down the road.”

Senior Will Cauchon

“The bond I have with both of them is pretty special. It’s pretty much an honor to play with them and be captains with them.” Labossiere smiled as he reminisced about meeting Terhune. “Danny, from freshman year not knowing any of the older guys and creating that bond right away. When I said I was coming back for a fifth year, we were able to get him to come back, too. I knew it was going to be a special year for both of us.” 

Labossiere also spoke of his bond with Cauchon. “It immediately felt like family when he came in,” Labsossiere said. “Being able to see what they’ve also done for this program is also awesome.”

When asked what makes LaBossiere a great hitter? “I think he has a good approach, ” says Bessey, who is in the UMF Athletics Hall of Fame, and was once the record holder for career triples at UMF. Managers and hitters often use that ‘good approach’ phrase, highlighting the juxtaposition of lots of study, observation, and practice culminating into a strategy to squarely place the 2.5 inch thickness of a bat onto the slightly less than 3-inches of diameter of a baseball moving at speeds sometimes exceeding 80 miles per hour. “He doesn’t try to do too much, he stays up the middle,” says Bessey. “He’s pretty connected in his swing, so he doesn’t pull off a lot of baseballs, which is why he barrels up a lot of baseballs.” Bessey also commended Hunter’s preparation. “Knowledgeable about the sport. He studies it.”


LaBossiere takes a lot of input into his approach, observing his teammates at bats, studying pitching charts that show what pitchers throw in certain counts, even remembering what a pitcher may have thrown against the team last year. And then? 


“Go up there and not try to think too much,” says LaBossiere. The approach is just that – an approach. It’s all that leads up to the moment of the pitch, the swing or not to swing. All the mental and physical preparation culminates in the purity of action and reaction. “Trying to stay up the middle, go the other way, has really helped me become an overall hitter.”


UMF Baseball Coach Chris Bessey

“Hitting a baseball is the hardest thing to do in any sport,” says Bessey. “Hitting a baseball consistently is hard to do, which is why you’re going to fail more than you succeed.” For reference, the highest career batting average of a Major League Baseball Hall of Famer is Ty Cobb’s .366 average. That means that possibly the best to ever do it, didn’t do it 6 out of 10 times.   


And what to do when you’re not hitting? “When you get into a slump, it’s definitely difficult to get out of,” said LaBossiere, who recorded hits in 29 of 38 games this year and avoided any back to back games without a hit. “You gotta make sure your mind is clear when you step up to the plate. Coach a lot of times this year, he said, ‘when you step into the box remember your favorite moment of when you hit a homerun from Little League’ or just have positive thoughts when you step into the box.”


And when you do get a hit? “There’s nothing better than being able to barrel up a ball.  Especially when you do it quite a bit,” LaBossiere said. “Nothing like it.” He paused and smiled, looking for words to describe something that might be impossible to describe. “Your chest is stuck out a little bit further,” Bessey added, “after you barrel up a ball.” LaBossiere agreed.


In the Fifth Inning of game 2, LaBossiere came to the plate with two-out, a runner on first, and the Beavers trying to start a rally. “Johnny [Pruett], who actually went to my high school, got on in front of me and I was looking to move him over, I wasn’t looking to do much.” Labossiere had gone 0-4 with two strikeouts in the first game and was 0-2 going into the at-bat. After checking Pruett with a throw over to first, Husson Pitcher Connor Abood fired a called strike. After a ball low, Abood got LaBossiere to miss swinging, and the count was 1-2. Down in the count, Hunter recalled the next pitch. “I think it was a fast ball on the outer half of the plate.” And instead of the sound of a strike three pop of the glove, the ping of the bat rang out, followed by a cheer. “I hit it between the first and second basemen,” said LaBossiere, which he also recalled was the same spot on the field he hit his first career hit five years prior.      


As for the record breaking hit, LaBossiere admits he’d started to feel a little pressure, knowing he was one away from holding the record on his own. “The feeling of when I got it was really a sigh of relief. It was everything I’ve pretty much worked towards my whole career here. And even in High School and from when I was little. Being able to have that moment was really special, especially doing it with my teammates and looking around and seeing them, all of them supporting me throughout the year and my career here, it was great.”          


Hunter LaBossiere in the batter’s box waiting for a pitch, April 29th, 2023

For Hunter’s UMF career, after breaking the UMF hit record on Senior Day, he finished with two more hits in his last game of the season to push the record to 130 career hits. He finished with a career .288 average, batting .303 with 37 hits last season and career highs of .328 and 45 hits this season.


After the last home game, the team gathered on the field for a ceremonial moment to honor Cauchon, Terhune, and LaBossiere. This is a senior’s last trip around the bases. The members of the team line the base path and the seniors make their way around to greet each teammate as they make that trip home, one last time. A song is played over the team’s portable PA system. The seniors picked out the music, ’The Mighty Rio Grande’ by This Will Destroy You. 


“We picked the Moneyball song, pretty much to get everybody’s emotions flowing. All three of us decided on that within a minute of Coach asking what song we wanted to do,” said LaBossiere. First year and sophomore players were on the right side of the diamond and upperclassmen from there down the third base line to home plate.


 “Thought it went well. Lot of tears. Lot of tears. I think it was a good closing moment,” said Bessey.


“Knowing that it was the last game was kind of a surreal moment that it was all over,” said LaBossiere. “It was pretty emotional and I loved doing it. I think it was a great season wrap-up.”


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