PITTSFIELD -- They played on the same youth baseball fields in Quincy and became high school rivals. Tom Conley and Glen Misho have been friends all that time, and after playing college baseball together, are together again at Wahconah Park.
Conley is in his first year of managing the Pittsfield Suns, and the former University of Massachusetts catcher said that when it came to a pitching coach, his former Minuteman battery mate was one of the first names on his list.
"We were roommates too," Conley said. "We know each other really well. We played baseball together since we were eight. We played on the same [youth] teams."
The pair split up in high school with Conley attending Boston College High and Misho going to Catholic Conference rival Catholic Memorial. Both played for Mike Stone at UMass, and graduated in 2012.
"We've known each other for a long time," said Conley. "There's a lot of trust there. That's why I wanted him with me. It's worked out that he's getting into coaching too."
"As an opponent, we always went back and forth," said Misho. "We always talk about it. I think we're even. He got his off me, and I got some off him. It was fun playing against each other."
Misho smiled and said that he's known Conley since they were seven years old. The Suns pitching coach said it was a little hard to believe that all those years later, they're still together on the baseball field.
"I never could have imagined this," Misho said. "Tom's a great guy. We've grown up together, played against each other in high school and played together at UMass. It's fun being out here."
Conley was the starting catcher at UMass for three seasons, and compiled a .297 career batting average. His best season average-wise was 2009, when he hit .312. He had a career-best five home runs in 2010.
Misho spent three years on Stone's pitching staff, working his way up from a reliever to a starter. In three years, the right-hander had a 6-7 record, but he was 5-4 for the Minutemen in his senior season.
After graduation, while many of their teammates and classmates hung up the caps and uniforms, both Conley and Misho have gone into coaching. Conley wrapped up his first season as an assistant at Bryant, while Misho was the video coordinator at the University of California-Santa Barbara. Both are Division I programs.
"He learned a lot out in California, a lot of new stuff," said Conley. "He's worked really hard with the guys on the pitching staff, giving them pointers on what he's learned and his own experiences pitching. He's brought a lot of energy for us."
As Conley recalls, Misho was a five-pitch guy at UMass, with a split-finger fastball his prime weapon of choice. Misho was also a guy who wanted the ball and could be counted on to pitch a good amount of innings.
Ask Conley and Misho for scouting reports on the other, and neither had to think long about it.
"He was a rock behind the plate," Misho said. "Pitchers are a little different. I think we'd both agree on that.
"I couldn't have asked for more out of a catcher. He did everything right."
"He had a really good demeanor about him. He was more on the slow side of working, but it was always the same thing," said Conley. "If he gave up a hit, it was the same guy. You could never see he was flustered on the mound."
Misho has not been flustered in his first full season as a coach. While Conley has seen first-hand the wrath of a Futures League umpire and has been tossed from a game, the first-year manager has tried to keep his team on an even keel.
And that's the way the two former Minutemen work together.
"I have a little more fire. He's a little more [there to] calm me down in different situations," the manager said. "So it's good."
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