By John Orrell, Contributing Writer
Northborough/Southborough – The Algonquin Regional High School (ARHS) varsity baseball team has always had a strong program, including winning the state title in 2006. After losing 11 seniors from last year’s team, which made it to the District quarterfinals, no one was quite sure what to expect with this year’s squad. But the team, with only five seniors, got the season off to a great start, winning six of its first seven games.
To add emphasis to the achievement, things have come together in a manner some would find difficult, if not impossible to do, given the loss of a volume of key players from the 2014 team.
“We have just five seniors this year and they’re doing a great job making sure they keep everyone together,” said manager Mike Mocerino, who is in his second year as manager after six seasons as an assistant. “We have some first year players. They [seniors] have done a great job coming in early, making sure they stay together and practicing well and being prepared for each game.”
“We’re not really hitting the cover off the ball, but we’re pitching well and for the most part playing good defense,” explained Mocerino. “Timely hits with guys in scoring position is really big for us.”
“Good teams find a way to pull it out in the end,” added co-captain and catcher David Wrin. “Last year we were 10-3 at the start and slipped a little bit, but hopefully this year we just keep the intensity up and keep going.”
Algonquin baseball has had a history of success with teams advancing to state finals three times in the last nine years, and winning it all in 2006. That’s a tradition that Mocerino and his coaches would like to continue, but they know that there is much more to accomplish and way too soon to focus on long-range goals.
“I like where we’re at with our pitching, defense and timely hitting,” Mocerino said. “Our approach has to get a little better at the plate. We’re doing very, very well on the mound. There’s still a long way to go to the season and a lot of stuff we need to work on.”
“Going into the year not knowing what the schedule is going to be with teams staggered with the starts, we were lucky enough to get in some early games. It’s important that we got off to a good start because once everyone begins to hit their stride, you never know what’s going to happen. We don’t want to be fighting towards the middle or end of the season trying to get in to the playoffs. So, it’s very important for us to play good baseball coming out of the start,” he added.
“We’ve had timely hitting and great fielding so far which is important to our success,” said second baseman and co-captain Eric Hart. “It would be really great to make it really far being our [seniors] last year.”
Staying focused and preparing the team for each and every matchup is a responsibility team captains have embraced. Most players have known each other and competed for or against one another from as far back as Little League days allowing the team to foster good chemistry and camaraderie.
“This team works hard in practice and the coach has really found a way to mold us all together,” said team co-captain and third baseman Zach Foster. “We come together with good leadership and attitude. Chemistry is a big key to our success so far. Everyone’s friends and everyone gets along without any conflicting people.
“When we make mistakes we tend to get down on ourselves so we need to keep our heads up and make plays. We need to just have confidence in ourselves and we’ll be fine.”
Members of the 2015 ARHS varsity baseball team are seniors Nolan Kessinger, David Wrin, Eric Hart, Ryan Solomon and Zach Foster. Juniors include Connor Henderson, Ben Macchi, Alex Osetek, Charles Gallagher, Collin Mitchell, Justin O’Connell, Mike McCormack, Ross Grasso, Harrison Sandorfi and Matt Geoffrion.
Sophomores who have impressed are Alex Pappas, Adam Genga, Max Cerasoli, Jacob Kea and Andrew Tache.