By John Orrell , Contributing Writer
Hudson – 2015 and 2016 have been the brightest of seasons for the Hudson Legion Post 100 baseball teams who have managed to accomplish what had not been achieved in 14 prior years.
This year’s squad is playoff-bound like its predecessor team of one year ago that broke a long drought of post-season competition eligibility, and while oncoming opponents will prove tough, there is much to like and be optimistic about this team that concluded its regular season with a record of 10-6 and is eager to move forward.
“This team is so strong I thought we’d be even better than 10-6 but we play a lot of tough teams and that has a lot to do with it,” said pitcher/outfielder Kyle Sullivan. “Even though we play for different high schools (eight), we’ve all come together and that’s been great.”
“We had high hopes coming into the season,” said 10-year team manager Blair Brissette who awaits word on the commencement of playoffs. “We were 22-4 last year and we had a lot of returning players. We’ve added in a lot of new players this year. Prior to last season we had never done it in the program’s history so now we’ve done it two years in a row and that’s an accomplishment. The program’s moving in the right direction for sure.
“We have a very mature group of guys this year. They’ve accepted their responsibilities and their roles but at the same time, they’re all kind of interchangeable and I like the fact that these guys are willing to play whatever position is needed. They have a great attitude and that makes it easier on the coaches to have guys who are willing to do whatever the team needs them to do.”
Hudson concluded its 2016 regular season with a 10-1 rout over visiting Woburn on July 13. In that one, wildness plagued Woburn who issued five consecutive bases-on-balls to open the matchup. Four runs would score which would be more than enough to secure the win. A two-RBI triple in the fifth by Jack Seeto would add insurance runs to put this one away for keeps.
The team is a member of Zone 5 which consists of teams from Ashland, Billerica, Lowell, North Chelmsford, Natick, Newton, Sudbury, Tyngsboro and Woburn so that travel is a must for Post 100. No one is complaining as the camaraderie and chemistry is strong on this 2016 squad despite players being opponents in high school one moment and Legion teammates the next.
“In our case, athletes respect and appreciate other athletes and good ballplayers,” Brissette explains. “They all know each other. Even teams that are rivals in high school, when they come here they respect each other. They enjoy the chance to play baseball with new kids.”
“This team has good camaraderie and a lot of talent,” added fifth-year player Ben Palatino. “I think we can go far in the playoffs if we can pitch the way we know we can and swing the bats.”
Pitching is a strong suit for Hudson with a number of quality arms ready to jump in when needed. Brissette’s core that has carried the team this season consists of Sullivan, Luke Chiasson, Leo Coehlo, Jim Henry, Kevin Falve and Tyler Hudson with Sullivan and Chiasson as the squad’s mainstays logging most of the team’s innings. Evan Schmidlein and Sam Rosenfield have shared time behind the plate.
Around the horn, it has been Frankie Matos and Chiasson at first base, Palatino, Alex Borsari and Corey Thompson sharing middle infield while third base is anchored by Brendon Keady and Matos. Falvey, Sullivan, Hudson, Jack Seeto, Ben Seeto, and Coehlo all roam the outfield for Brissette covering the expansive territory of their home and opponents’ fields.
“We’ve tried for many years to run a first-class program regardless of how we did on the field because there were many years that we had a lean program as to performance on the field,” said Brissette of the Hudson program. “But we always wanted to put our best foot forward and that’s what we insist on.”
Members of the 2016 Hudson Post 100 American Legion U19 baseball team are Johan Asencio (INF/ P), Alex Borsari (INF/P), Luke Chiasson (INF/ P), Leo Coehlo (OF/P), Kevin Falvey (OF/ P), Ryan Grady (OF/P), Jim Henry (P), Tyler Hudson (OF/P), Brendon Keady (INF), Frankie Matos (INF), Ben Palatino (INF), Sam Rosenfield (OF/C), Evan Schmidlein (INF/C), Ben Seeto (INF/OF), Jack Seeto (OF), Nick Simonenko (INF/C), Kyle Sullivan (OF/P) and Corey Thompson (INF/P). The team is managed by Blair Brissette and coached by Jeff Ahearn, Neil Ahearn and Ryan Bowen.
Equally successful has been Hudson’s U17 team that recorded a regular season record of 11-9.
Because of a lack of similar age Legion teams in the area, Hudson competes in the South Shore Division playing squads from Franklin, Norwood, Newton, Needham, Westwood, Quincy, Braintree, Canton, Cohasset, Dedham, and Holbrook. As a result, similar to its U19 brethren, travel becomes an inherent aspect of competition.
Members of the 2016 Hudson Post 100 American Legion U17 baseball team are Ryan Grady, Johan Ascencio, Matt Delgenio, Jayden Dummett, Carter Dummett, James Allen, Tim Person, Sam Stout, Spencer Cullen, Kenny Sullivan, Nick Simonenko, Mike Chaves, George Kehn, Ian Hanson, Jackson Harrigan, Lance Jarosz, and Sam Bolinsky. Grady, Ascensio and Simonenko are considered “swing players” and are only allowed to compete at the higher level when there are no U17 games scheduled.
The U17 team is coached by Jeff Collette, Ryan and Jake Wardwell, as well as general manager Mark Ahearn.