Wednesday, April 19

Northern Division

Pittsfield

Coach: Bob Moynihan, 24th year.

Record: 14-7, lost to Taconic in Western Mass. Division 1 quarterfinals.

Key returnees: Jeff Fields, Sr. P/2B; Chad Brown, Sr. SS; Dan Haddad, Sr. 3B/P; David Glass, Sr. RF/P; John Skutnik, Sr. LF.

Outlook: Once again, the Generals have a solid lineup and quality pitching. The rotation will miss right-hander Clayton Pierce, who will be able to play but can't pitch after suffering a shoulder injury during football season. But Glass, Fields and Haddad are a solid top three and sophomore Jim Ostrikis will also see mound duties. The double-play combination of Fields and Brown were All-Eagle picks as was Haddad at third base. There isn't an easy out in the order.Pittsfield has its usual tough Division 1 slate against teams like Minnechaug, Agawam, Longmeadow and Westfield.

Taconic

Coach: Kevin Stannard, 15th year

Record: 16-6, lost to eventual state Division 1 champion West Springfield in Western Mass. semifinals.

Key returnees: Brian Barber, Sr. C/P; Dan Whalen, Sr. CF; Everett Kordana, Sr. LF; Devon Bushey, Sr. RF; Justin Rivelli, Sr. P/SS; Joe Bastow, Sr. P.

Outlook: Stannard has 11 seniors on this year's team, and he said the Braves should contend for the Northern Division title. Taconic's strength lies in its outfield as Kordana, Whalen and Bushey have lots of speed and cover plenty of ground. The Braves should have good hitting up and down the line, keyed by Barber in the middle of the order. Barber, All-Eagle at first base last year, will catch in 2006. The Braves don't have MVP Charly Bashara, who is red-shirting at Northeastern, but seniors Bastow, Rivelli, Barber and Brett Eksuzian will provide Stannard with a lot of options.

Drury

Coach: Al Marceau, third year

Record: 7-12

Key returnees: Johno Hinkell, Jr. C; Mike Racette, Sr. 1B; Mitch Maselli, Jr. SS; Mike Meaney, Jr. 3B; Mike Delisle, Sr. P; Larry Cariddi, Sr. P.

Outlook: The Blue Devils didn't make the Western Mass. tournament last year, and Marceau said getting back there is a realistic goal. He's got a lot of arms to put out on the mound, with Delisle and Cariddi at the top of the list. Hinkell is one of the better catchers in the league and Marceau considers him one of his top bats. Maselli, Mike Pitt and Nick Boyer can also swing the alumnimum. The Blue Devils were young last year, and Marceau said they grew as a team and he grew as a coach. He's hoping they grew enough to make the tournament.

Monument Mountain

Coach: Tom Hankey, sixth season

Record: 15-8, lost to Palmer in Western Mass. Division 2 final.

Key returnees: R.J. Condon, Sr. P/1B; Joe Errichetto, Sr. SS/P; Adam Zamberletti, Sr. OF; Pat Blanchard, Sr. OF.

Outlook: If, as is said in Seamhead Nation that pitching and defense wins, the Spartans could be in pretty good shape. Hankey said pitching and defense are strengths, while the offense will be a work in progress. Seniors Condon and Errichetto anchor the rotation with junior Nate Sermini the third starter. Errichetto is the starting shortstop, All-Eagle pick Condon plays first when not pitching and centerfielder Zamberletti anchors the outfield. The Spartans were six outs from a Western Mass. title last year, and would like to take the next step.

Wahconah Regional

Coach: Aaron Robb, third year

Record: 6-14

Key returnees: Matt Boudreau, Sr. C; Joe Albano, Sr. SS; Pat O'Connor, Sr. CF; Andrew Kelly, Sr. P/RF.

Outlook: Robb's rebuilding program may bear fruit this spring, as the third-year coach is optimistic about his team's fortunes, and said this team could make the Division 2 tournament. The Warriors are a veteran club that took its share of lumps in the past two seasons. Boudreau is in the middle of the lineup, and Robb said there are enough hitters around him to keep opposing pitchers honest. The Warriors have made, according to their coach, marked improvement in pitching and defense — and the team is "sick and tired of losing."


Southern Division

St. Joseph's

Coach: John Goodnow, fourth season

Record: 14-8, lost to Holyoke Catholic in WMass Division 3 semifinal.

Key returnees: T.J. Bowler, Sr. C; Mark Ferry, Sr. RF; Ryan Ricchi, Sr. P; Tim Burns, Sr. SS.

Outlook: Goodnow said this is the first time he hasn't had a lot of power to reach the trees at Deming Park, but the Crusader coach said that this might be the fastest team he's ever had. Bowler and freshman third baseman Brodie Quinn have some pop, but guys like Ricky Massey, Chris and Nick Bianchi and Mark Ferry can motor. Ricchi, Burns and Massey make up the rotation that Goodnow is looking to carry his team to UMass again this June.

Hoosac Valley

Coach: Bob Rivard, 13th year

Record: 13-9, lost in Western Mass. Division 2 quarterfinals

Key returnees: Brandon Crouse, Sr. P/2B; Jeff Burdick, Sr. 3B; Evan Sadlowski, Sr. CF; Adam Wright, Jr. 2B/P.

Outlook: Rivard got the best news when he learned that the 6-foot-4 Crouse was cleared to play. That gives Hoosac a hard-throwing pitcher and a second baseman with a good bat. Crouse is going to UMass in the fall. But he's not a one-man team. Junior Wright will be the No. 2 starter and play second when Crouse pitches. The Hurricanes are pretty strong up the middle with catcher Kyle Lamont, Crouse and shortstop Jack Demers and Sadlowski. Rivard said if the pitchers give the Hoosac defense a chance to field the ball, the Hurricanes can be a factor in the South and in the county.

Mount Greylock

Coach: Steve Messina, 15th year

Record: 13-11, lost to Palmer in Western Mass. Division 2 quarterfinals.

Top returnees: Andrew Agostini, Sr. RF/P; Matt England, Sr. SS; Phil Sullivan, Sr. CF; Preston Trites, Jr. LF.

Outlook: Messina said the ending to 2005 was great, but the beginning was tough. The Mounties lost eight straight, but roared back to earn a share of the Southern Division title with St. Joseph's. Any team that returns an All-Eagle pick starts off well, and the Mounties have Agostini in that role. He's a good hitter and will be in the starting rotation. The Mounties have a lot of experience in the outfield and are a pretty good defensive team. Agostini and Sullivan are good hitters, and if other Mounties continue to come on, this team could be very good. Spencer Kowitz takes over for All-Eagle pick Devin Rock behind the plate. Eric Rock, Agostini and Kael Woodyard can all pitch, but Messina said the Mounties aren't real deep there.

Lee

Coach: Tim Shepardson, third year

Last year: 8-13, lost in Western Mass. Division 3 semifinals.

Key returnees: Casey Hickey, Sr. 1B; Tyler Perry, Sr. SS; Justin Daley, Sr. P; Josh Herlihy, Jr. CF/P.

Outlook: Perry and Hickey are both three-year starters and Shepardson expects them to lead the way this year. Both of them hit more than .350 last year. Perry and senior Justin Mooney are a pretty good keystone combination. The outfield is athletic with Herlihy, rightfielder Chad Cummings and leftfielder Steve Demastrie starting. Daley, Herlihy and David Lewis are the top three in the rotation, and Shepardson said his team's goal is to return to the Division 3 tournament.

Lenox

Coach: Kevin Downer, first year

Record: 0-18

Key returnees: Seth Dixon, Jr. C; Kevin Lane, Sr. CF/P; Mike Duval, Sr. RF; Matt Overmyer, Jr. 2B/C.

Outlook: Things can only look up after last year's winless team. Downer's first Lenox team has only two seniors, and has called the 2006 season a learning process. He's been preaching defense to his team because Lenox is going to have to manufacture runs. Dixon and Lane are experienced multi-sport athletes, and will bring that to War Memorial Field every day. Lane will pitch as will sophomore shortstop Mark Millett and Dan Kleederman, who goes to Berkshire Country Day School. Downer said this team could contend in a couple of years, so small steps will be considered a success this year.


Tri-County League

McCann Tech

Coach: George Canales, seventh year.

Last year: 7-13.

Key returnees: Gary Munson, Jr. C; Clint Birch, Sr. SS; Adam Bethany, Sr. CF; Scott Mason, Sr. OF.

Outlook: The Hornets are going to be pretty good defensively, as Canales has had them working on defense a lot during pre-season camp. Sophomore righty Curtis Berard anchors the McCann rotation, and his coach says he throws strikes. Offensively, Bethany, Mason and Munson are key hitters for the Hornets. Canales said his club will play National League baseball — making other teams make mistakes and make things happen offensively. Canales has to hope that the NL team the Hornets imitate isn't the Pirates.


Non-League

Mount Everett

Coach: Jesse Carpenter, fourth year.

Last year: 10-10, lost in first game of Western Mass. Division 3 tournament.

Key returnees: Matt Dempsey, Jr. CF/P; Dusty Wheeler, Jr. 3B/P; Tavish Gallagher, Sr. 1B/P; Brandon Stubbs, So. 2B; Matt Warner, Sr. SS/P.

Outlook: Carpenter's Eagles have been to the last three Western Mass. tournaments, and want to make it 4-for-4 this year. He said the rotation with Wheeler, Gallagher, Warner and Dempsey will be good, and they'll be backed up by a veteran infield. Even though second baseman Stubbs is a sophomore, he started every game as a freshman. Pitching and defense are going to be important to the Eagles because they don't have a lineup that can score a lot of runs every game.