Along the west wall in the Clean Harbors Athletic Complex at Massachusetts Maritime Academy is a phrase painted in Buccaneer blue and gold.
It reads, “Pride in our tradition and a tradition of excellence.” Longtime Bucs baseball coach Bob Corradi adopted the phrase and brought it with him while coaching the Sandwich Clark-Haddad Post 188 baseball team. From his days as a player, the phrase always resonated with current Post 188 head coach Brian Tomasini.
“We always heard it from coach Corradi and coach [Kevin] Conrad,” Tomasini said. “Even when [former players] get together today, it comes up a lot.”
It’s a rather straightforward idea: take pride in what we do here and what we do here is win. From 1992 to 2005 the team lived up to its mantra, winning 12 of 14 District 10 titles and won three state titles in the span (1993, 2002 and 2005). All the winning spawned a spin-off motto, “District 10 runs through 188.” That’s what Tomasini was looking to rebuild—and uphold—as he took the reins of the program.
“This really isn’t just a summer baseball program,” he said. “It’s is a homegrown grassroots, blue collar organization. We come down to the ball field after work to play. It’s nothing fancy, just baseball, but I think the tradition part of it separates itself from other programs. There’s such a winning tradition here and there’s so many who have gone on to play in the collegiate ranks.”
And over the last two years, Tomasini and his support group have lifted the 188 program back to the level of excellence in a part of the state that’s ripe with quality baseball.
“Think of just how outstanding of a year they had,” said Corradi, who added that as a superstitious man he watched from afar after their undefeated season began. “The senior team won its second-straight district title, went unbeaten through 20-something games and played in the state finals. The junior team placed third in New England. That not only speaks to the talent and efforts of both the coaches and players, but stands out in a region where a lot of good baseball is played.”
A baseball hotbed encased in a hockey region, the Cape is known for its play on the diamond from the collegiate ranks down through the high school level. It’s home of the preeminent amateur baseball summer league as well as the Martha’s Vineyard Sharks, which plays 25 home games in the Futures League.
Senior Babe Ruth powerhouse Team Cape Cod makes world series appearances with regularity. And at the high school level, at least 10 Cape teams have made the playoffs in seven out of the last eight years. And among all that talent, Post 188 produced stars.
“In baseball alone, I think the Cape has done a fantastic job in the last decade across all divisions in putting out quality baseball teams. Go find me another county that produces top-talent programs in the state like the Cape does,” said Chris Fitzgerald, former Post 188 GM and current Falmouth Commodores GM.
Steve Cishek, a reliever for the Chicago Cubs, came through the Post 188 ranks in 2003. Jason Smith, who was drafted by the Boston Red Sox out of Bourne High but now deceased, anchored the pitching staff along with Cishek. John Stanton, Luke Chevalier, Noah Holland and Joe Sullivan have all played stints in the Cape League during their collegiate careers.
And seven players on the senior roster, including District 10 MVP Tyler Wudyka, are furthering their baseball careers at the college level. So as much credit goes to Tomasini and his coaching staff for reigniting a once-dominant program, the same should be credited to the players.
“No matter how well you coach it or how organized you are, players win the game,” Corradi said. “You need players above it all.”
Tomasini and his junior legion head coach Larry Shell acknowledged just how good of a pool they draw from.
“The kids deserve most of the credit. The kids are talented, but also have a high work ethic and character. Having good kids has a lot to do with it,” Shell said.
Tomasini added, “They bought into the mentality the last two years. They’ve done all the little things, arrived on time and ready to work. It makes my life easier when we have players coming in with a wealth of knowledge from great programs and we can add a thing or two where needed.”
And as long as talented players continue to choose the path of Post 188, Tomasini will be there to keep the tradition alive.
“I think Brian has restored the program to the level coach Corradi had it as a dominant program,” Shell said. “It’s a top-notch program now.”