Mass Maritime Baseball Season Opens Next Week
By: Dan Crowley
The start of another Massachusetts Maritime baseball season is right around the corner.
Buccaneer Head Coach Bob Corradi enters his 38th campaign with a boatload of experience, as 16 letter winners from last year’s squad that amassed 12 victories, including the venerable veteran mentor’s 500th career triumph, are back in the fold in 2010.
Corradi will look to four of his veterans to provide leadership for this year’s squad, as he has tabbed seniors Joe Albano, David Hike, and Tim Moore, along with junior Nick Levitre, as Massachusetts Maritime’s captains for the coming campaign. Corradi, who became the 29th active coach in NCAA Division III play to reach the 500-victory plateau (now with 505 overall) last April, describes this quartet as “hard-working, disciplined, and respectful of the game and how it should be played. I know they will instill all of the qualities that a Buccaneer baseball player needs to possess and demonstrate on a daily basis in all of their teammates.”
Three Buccaneers return to help anchor the infield spots, as juniors Corey Murphy, Wil Rodriguez, and Michael Vargas return at first, second, and third bases, respectively. Murphy batted .268 with three doubles and 10 RBIs in 2009, while Rodriguez hit at a .317 clip with six two-baggers and 16 RBIs. Vargas, who rotated between third and shortstop last spring, checked in at .269 with three doubles and seven RBIs, and fellow junior Brad Musk returns after being limited to seven games due to injury, as he will look to fill the void at shortstop left by the graduation of all-MASCAC and all-New England standout Mark Mozelak.
Junior Andrew Saari gained valuable experience in a reserve role last season for MMA, as he batted .368 in 13 contests, while sophomore Kyle Armstrong moves to the infield this spring after batting .333 with a pair of doubles and seven RBIs in 19 games as a catcher during his rookie campaign. A pair of newcomers will look to impact the Bucs’ fortunes in 2010, as freshmen Tyler Genereux and Zachary Sullivan will be vying for spots in the lineup.
Albano is back in the starting outfield lineup, as he batted .339 with six doubles, a triple, one homer, and 12 RBIs last spring. Junior Ross Hickey, who also serves in the designated hitter role with Levitre, will also be vying for a spot in the outfield after batting .310 with three doubles and 10 RBIs in 26 games, while freshmen Kyle Steek, Paul Furtado, and Aram Mulhern will be looking to fill the third outfield position that was vacated with the graduation of all-MASCAC performer Tyler Spofford.
The Bucs welcome back a pair of all-MASCAC lefties in Hike and Levitre to anchor the rotation in 2010, as Hike led the Buccaneers with four victories to go with a 4.12 ERA and 40 strikeouts in 54.2 innings of work. Levitre led the staff with a 3.86 ERA while posting three wins and 46 strikeouts in 42 innings, as he and Hike combined for five of the Bucs’ six saves last spring. Murphy notched a pair of victories in six starts while fanning 38 in 32.1 innings of work, while the tandem of junior Neil Patnaude and sophomore Jared Lowe lend additional experience after posting a victory each in 15 combined appearances. Moore, along with junior Greg Wiggin and sophomores Mark Backstrom and Louis Ottino III, combined for 22 appearances in 2009 and provide additional depth, while Genereux, Mulhern, and fellow freshmen Patrick Derrane and Jacob Gregg will be vying for spots in the rotation.
Sophomore William Shouldice is the top returning catcher for the Buccaneers, as he batted .237 in 17 games with a double, triple, home run, and 10 RBIs, while Rodriguez will be in the mix along with freshman Hunter Horton.
The Buccaneers play their home opener Saturday, March 20, when they will host Lyndon State in doubleheader action beginning at 1 PM.
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