Sunday, April 7, 2013

Medford High baseball team gears up for Saturday's home opener

When it comes to reflecting on 2012, Medford High Baseball fans would like nothing more than to treat it as if it were the ninth season of the TV show, Dallas.

Bobby Ewing is alive. It was all a bad dream and last season never really happened.

That?s easier said and done, especially for Mustangs Coach Mike Nestor and his staff. But the reality of the situation is that Medford appears to be in much better shape as they prepare to throw out the first pitch of 2013.

"Last year was a tough to swallow," said Nestor, who is looking forward to finally putting the 6-14 campaign in the rearview mirror. "We never came together as a team. We lacked confidence and leadership and didn?t play up to our capabilities."

Saturday?s home opener, April 6, at Bill Monbouquette Field at Playstead Park, will be the first step in the rebuilding process, which could ultimately lead the squad back to post-season play.

"[We?re looking] to get back where we belong and that?s in the state tourney," Nestor said.

There?s nothing quite like opening day for Nestor, who is entering his third year at the helm, and 16th overall with the program.

"It?s a time where you get two months to make a impact on these student-athletes and hope you can teach them everything in such a short period to help them be successful," he said. "Memories these kids will have will last a lifetime."

Leading the way for the Mustangs this season is Captain Jake Porrazzo. A prototypical workhorse, the senior standout is a natural born leader. Porrazzo?s enthusiasm and unwavering work ethic is something his team can certainly use more of.

"[Jake brings] respectability, leads by example and is a hardnosed tough kid," Nestor said. "He?s a dirt dog."

Porrazzo fronts a large array of upperclassmen, which include senior pitcher John Lavoie, infielder/pitcher Sean Doncaster, infielder/pitcher Chris Hayes and infielder/catcher Nick Rocco. Other key returners such as junior pitcher Ryan Colbert, pitcher/infielder Tyler Mclean, junior outfielder Kevin Andrew and senior outfielder Jeff Fargo, gives the team plenty of experience.

Medford?s biggest off-season acquisition comes in the form of Ryan Covelle. The junior journeyman transferred over from Malden Catholic. The former Lancer is projected to be the Mustangs starting centerfielder and ace pitcher, giving the team an exciting new look.

"He loves the game," Nestor said.

A pair of relative newcomers have also impressed during training camp. Junior Eric Spinale has developed into a quality starter and is also vying for a starting spot in the outfield. Sophomore shortstop Dom Ramaschi is also pushing for prime time status. Both players provide plenty of depth.

Training camp has been a long and grueling process for the Mustangs. The inclement weather over the past month hasn?t helped, forcing the majority of baseball activities to be held indoors.

"It makes it difficult to evaluate fielders being inside," Nestor said. "Tufts University donated three days of their field house and that helped."

According to Nestor, the team?s strength will be its team chemistry and quality depth at every position.

"We have a strong blend of upperclassmen and underclassmen," Nestor said. "If everyone remains healthy we have decent numbers on the pitching staff. Most teams around don?t have the number of quality pitchers."

Nestor feels that the line-up will be crucial to the team?s ultimate success.

"Our hitting needs to be more consistent from one to nine," Nestor said. "We?re not aggressive enough at the plate."

The Greater Boston League appears as strong as ever, with each team posing possible problems for the Mustangs this season. Nestor remains confident that his team will be in the running for a pennant

"We should be able to compete for the league title," Nestor said. "For us to be successful we will need to be aggressive at the plate and our athletes need to understand that this team is one of the deepest we?ve had in a long time and could put ourselves back in the mix for the GBL title."

According to Nestor, the Mustangs could also benefit from a much needed history lesson.

This season marks the 30th anniversary of the Mustangs 1983 baseball team which went 20-0. Nestor hopes to have some of the alumni from that legendary team come down to the park to talk to the kids about the tradition of MHS Baseball.

"Medford?s most loyal Mustang supporter Hank Morse has been working the phones coming up with ideas to bring the older generation down to talk and support these athletes and let them know what Blue & White is all about," Nestor said.

Should they do that, Medford won?t have to resort to any Bobby Ewing-type resurrections in the near future.


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