Lapointe, Steve (2009)
Tenacity at the plate, on the mound and in the coach’s box has marked the stellar playing and coaching career of Steve Lapointe. A Pine Tree League veteran, high school coaching fixture for 28 years and a tireless advocate for fashioning baseball passion into organized teams at all levels, Steve Lapointe has been the pre-eminent influence in promoting baseball in the Rumford area for nearly three decades.
Growing up in the Strathglass Park neighborhood in Rumford, Steve daily honed his nascent baseball skills in the sandlot near the park or “The Pines”, even then demonstrating his “GM” skills by ensuring that pick-up games were always ongoing.
Lapointe had a solid playing career at Rumford High School, graduating in 1974, and went on to play at the University of Maine at Farmington while earning his teaching degree.
Steve first played for Rumford Pirates, the town’s entry in the storied Pine Tree League in 1976, the first of a 22-year association playing for, coaching and managing the team. Steve stepped up to fill a coaching vacancy when he was still quite young and became the bedrock of the Rumford town team, performing in All-Star fashion on the field while assuming the daunting responsibilities of fielding a competitive team each year.
Although not blessed with eye-popping baseball tools, Steve was a top defensive catcher who taught himself to switch-hit and became a top-flight “spray” hitter with an uncanny ability to drive in runs. Not content to simply call a ballgame from behind the plate, Steve became a crafty pitcher as well, using his intuitive knowledge to keep hitters off-balance with an assortment of pitches.
In 1981 Lapointe became head baseball coach at Rumford High School, later Mountain Valley High School and just concluded his 18th year as the Falcons’ skipper, winning over 250 games and a class B state title in 1993.
For Steve, the responsibilities of coaching have been a labor of love. Few coaches can combine the instillation of values and life lessons that come with discipline and team play with the paramount goal of playing a baseball game just because it’s fun. Steve Lapointe has done it effectively and naturally for three decades because, for him, it’s simply an extension of who he is and what he became as a ballplayer.
Two examples of the Lapointe philosophy in action:
Tough financial circumstances forced cancellation of the Mountain Valley JV team in 2003. As varsity coach Steve offered any and all players who would have made the JV team that year the chance to practice with the varsity and suit up for games as well as a promise that he should get each of them into a varsity game during the season. The promise was kept.
The demise of American Legion ball in the Rumford area created a void in playing opportunities and prompted Steve to form the River Valley League in 2005. Lapointe was instrumental in organizing the teams, ordering equipment, maintaining fields, umpiring and guiding the fledgling organization to stability.
Transforming an unquenchable love for baseball into a tireless crusade to play, coach, manage and promote the game for all ages has been the hallmark of Steve Lapointe’s career.
“I have played ball for many years and come into contact with thousands of ball players,” says Maine Baseball Hall of Famer Bitsy Ionta, himself a legendary figure in the Rumford area. “None of them loves the game any more that Steve Lapointe, and none has done more to help others share that love than Steve.”
A richly deserved honor for this true ambassador for Maine baseball. The Hall of Fame welcomes you, Steve Lapointe.
Posted May 21, 2018 Updated December 21, 2018
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