By Jack Zinman (Sports Editor)
On Saturday night, Sharon High School junior Max Leblanc posted a picture on Instagram of the University of Massachusetts Amherst logo and captioned the picture “Blessed to announce my commitment to the University of Massachusetts to further my academic and athletic career.”
When UMass knocked on the door, Max said he knew it was a good fit. “It was the overall baseball program was the right fit for me, the campus felt like home and there are multiple paths I could take when it comes to academics,” says Leblanc.
Leblanc, a 6’6” right-handed pitcher, made the varsity baseball team at Sharon his sophomore year, performing as a key relief pitcher, starting a few games, as well. Max also played first base when needed.
It wasn’t until the summer of 2018 when Leblanc stepped up his game and really stood out from the rest of the crowd, posting a 9-0 record with a 0.85 ERA along with 66 Ks in 49 ⅔ innings pitched.
For Sharon High School in 2019 season, Leblanc had a rocky season but had more ups than downs. Max shined at the plate as he emerged as one of the best hitters on the rosters, earning a permanent spot as the fifth hitter in the lineup.
Max tops his fastball out at 85 mph with a changeup at around 75 mph and a curveball that varies from 70-74 mph, according to probaseballreport.com.
Keep in mind Max is a junior and has the whole summer of 2019 and his senior year to take that final push before stepping foot on the UMass campus.
Junior Jake Ross says that Max’s commitment is something special, but the fact that he still has a year left in high school makes it truly unique. He said, “It’s impressive to be scouted and then commit to a D1 school as a junior.”
Around Sharon, people are extremely proud of Max on his commitment to UMass.
Junior Kevin Simons that he’s elated that Max found a school that will nurture both his athletic ability, as well as his equally as important academics. “I’m so happy for him that he found a place that he’s gonna be happy pursuing his dream while getting a good education.”
“I’m very proud of Max, he worked hard for this and I’m glad he’s taking the next step and he will thrive at UMass and be the best player and man while there,” says junior Kyle Sullivan
Teammates of Leblanc are beyond excited for his next step and are excited for what his future has to come.
“He’s a great pitcher with a lot of potential,” says junior pitcher and third basemen Will Mayo.
Junior center fielder Alec Filipkowski articulated that he is excited to play with Max for another year and that he is happy for his friend’s achievement. He said, “Can’t wait to take the field with him next year, he’s the peanut butter to my jelly and I’m ecstatic about his commitment to UMass.”