Baseball teams eye postseason

  • jaffrey, conant, baseball v bow
  • mascenic baseball v conval
  • mascenic baseball v conval
  • wlc boys baseball v derryfield
  • mascenic baseball v conval

In 2012, all four of the area high school baseball teams qualified for postseason play.

While only two made it past the first round — with one going all the way to the semifinals — it was one of the better seasons in recent history for all the teams in the region. The plan once again for each program this season is to contend for a playoff spot and hopefully go a little further than last year.

Each team will look a little different due to graduation and with call-ups from the junior varsity level, but the expectation to win has not changed.

Conant

Last year, the Orioles were just four outs away from playing in the program’s first baseball state championship game since 1986.

So the goal is to get back to that position and take the next step. Conant has the pieces to do it. The loss of four seniors that made up the majority of the infield along with four-year catcher Kole Duckworth will not be easy to replace, but he still feels the team will be one of the better groups in Division III.

“I think we’ll be very successful. That’s the plan,” said coach Brian Royal. “I think we have a very good shot at being back where we were.”

And it all starts with pitching. Conant returns three senior all-state starters in Josh LeBlanc, Devin Springfield and Eddie Clark.

“They’ve been my three pitchers for three years and I’m expecting them to just dominate,” said Royal.

Springfield and Clark will both see time at first and LeBlanc’s position will be third when he is not on the mound,

Senior Johnny Ciarcia will make the move to the infield to play shortstop, while freshman Kyle Dupuis is expected to battle with Ryan Aho for the second base spot. Seniors Devin Drouin and Jared LeBlanc return to the outfield, as does sophomore Ryan Carey. Drouin and Carey will also see some time on the mound in relief. Junior Isaac Ley will be Royal’s lefty coming out of the bullpen. Freshman CJ Bilodeau will be Conant’s catcher and handle the experienced pitching staff.

“Winning now is crucial,” said Royal.

The Orioles travel to Fall Mountain on Monday.

ConVal

The Cougars were 9-7 a year ago and got knocked out of the Division II tournament in the first round.

With the loss of seven seniors and only 12 players on the roster, it will be cause for every player, including the four returning starters, to be prepared for multiple positions.

“Kids are going to have to be flexible,” said coach Mike Marschok.

Junior Ivon Clough is not only the team’s best hitter, but will be one of the team’s top pitchers and likely play third when he isn’t on the mound. Senior Taylor Doyle is throwing hard and is expected to be a big part of ConVal’s starting rotation.

“I think we’ll be strong defensively and have strong pitching,” said Marschok. “Defense and pitching should help us through.”

Senior Zach Mackey will return to his shortstop position and senior Harrison LeFlem remains at second base, but the two could see time at the other position depending who is on the mound.

Senior Chris Queen, who had a very good first season at the varsity level last year, returns to the outfield and will be looked to help bring together the new outfield group. Junior Joe Edwards will take over at first base for Lou Salzberg and see some time on the mound in relief. Junior Tyler Aborn is the replacement behind the plate.

It will be a fight all season long, as all 16 playoff teams last year had at least seven wins.

“[Division II] is very tough. It’s right up there with Division I,” said Marschok.

ConVal is scheduled to play at Milford on Monday.

Mascenic

The Vikings were the 17th seed last year and fell to eventual champion Hopkinton in the preliminary round.

Mascenic lost four seniors from last year, but the expectation is that there will be players to adequately fill the voids.

Senior Jalen Rines earned five of the team’s six wins last year and will enter the season as the Vikings’ ace. In addition to his pitching roles, Rines will play shortstop and catch some.

“Last year was an unknown,” said coach Kevin Rines. “He had no idea he was going to be tossed into that role. This year he’s expecting it.”

Sophomores Shane Rautiola, shortstop, and Jared Stauffeneker, third base, will also pitch. Senior Brady Pittman will start at first and senior Cooper Wayrynen takes over full-time behind the plate.

Junior Matt Cyr returns to center field, while senior Richie Brassard is penciled in for left.

Freshman Roman Ojala is battling for the second base spot and freshman Chase Holombo and Justin Somero are in competition for the final outfield position.

The pitching will be solid, but the team will rely on its hitting and play in the field.

“We’re going to have to score some runs and play defense,” said Rines. “We should see more consistency in all aspects of the game, but our defense has to step up.”

Mascenic is scheduled to host Hinsdale on Wednesday.

WLC

After losing six seniors — all starters — from last year’s quarterfinal team, the Warriors will be very young this season.

There are no seniors and just three returning juniors.

“I know we are going to take some lumps this year,” said coach Paul Trombley. “We are so young.”

Junior Pat Martin will be the team’s ace after posting six wins in 2012. When he is not on the mound, Martin will patrol third and see some time at first.

“It’s huge to have Pat because he not only has leadership, but also ability,” said Trombley.

Junior Brendan Hussey returns behind the plate and will bring consistency to the position with a couple young pitchers.

But since WLC is so young and they have not been outside, it is hard for Trombley to figure out where players will fit.

“I’m going to have to move people around and see where they fit.”

Junior Kyle Pratt will play the infield, along with sophomores Connor Melrose and Drew Reid.

And with eight freshmen, Trombley will have to rely on players like Christian Seely and Nolan Steevens to help round on the starting team.

WLC is set to play at Hinsdale on Monday.

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