Trevor LaBonte’s ties to the University of Maine run deep.
His father, Richard, was the quarterback for the Black Bears football team from 1981 to 1984. It was there that he met his wife and Trevor’s mom, Robin. Trevor’s older sister Addie was on the Maine soccer team from 2012-15.
For much of his life, Trevor dreamed of continuing his family’s legacy at the school. But he ultimately decided to pitch for Maryland baseball, and this weekend, the right-hander will be pitted against the Black Bears when they visit College Park.
“It’s definitely going to be a little strange, but I'm really looking forward to it,” he said. “I’m still a Maine fan, so I’ll be cheering for them the rest of the way, but just not this weekend.”
Trevor and his siblings all loved sports from a very young age — his first word was “ball,” Richard recalled. Everyone in the LaBonte family loved Maine sports, and even though they lived 181 miles away in York, they frequently attended games in Orono.
When Trevor was about six years old, Richard took him to a Maine hockey game. Future Detroit Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard was playing for the Black Bears, and Richard remembers seeing his son’s face dazzled in amazement at Howard’s incredible saves.
“I've been on campus so many times,” Trevor said. “We're just huge Maine sports fans."
At York High School, Trevor was a three-sport athlete. He threw for 1,056 yards and 10 touchdowns on the football team, and he was an all-conference selection for basketball and baseball.
But he didn’t get much attention from schools at that point, so he decided with his parents to take a prep year at Bridgton Academy. Trevor also joined a new summer baseball club in Portland, Maine, called the Maine Lightning, to further develop and gain attention from scouts.
“Once we got hooked up with them, Trevor started getting the exposure that was necessary,” Richard said. “And then one thing led to another, and Maryland called.”
Vaughn remembers talking with the LaBonte family about this very series when they came for his official recruiting visit. He joked that the Terps would be seeing him this weekend “one way or the other.”
At the time, Trevor was deciding whether he would bring his talents to Maine or Maryland. He was torn between his childhood favorite and a new experience awaiting in College Park.
But on that visit, Trevor and his family were impressed by Maryland’s coaching staff and the emphasis they placed on the mental aspect of the game. Trevor said it felt like home.
The freshman saw his first action in a Terps jersey last weekend, allowing two runs in 1 ⅓ innings against VCU on Sunday. Still, coach Rob Vaughn is certain he’ll play a big role in the team’s first home series.
“We're going to need him,” Vaughn said. “I don't know when we're going to use him, but he will be throwing some big innings for us this weekend. So hopefully he can use it as a positive and not let the moment kind of speed him up.”
Trevor’s family always joked that didn’t end up playing baseball at Maine, his father would show up to the opposing matchup fully decked out in Maine gear.
Even though he’s never rooted against Maine his entire life, Richard says he’ll have to put his alma mater aside for the day.
“That’s going to be really weird this weekend, to be in that situation where I’m going to want one of their guys to strike out or to drop a pop-fly or whatever,” Richard said. “But obviously when your kid is involved, you cheer against whoever they’re playing.”