Most cannot remember a time when the Old Saybrook baseball program did not produce a successful season, and after the 2012 campaign, people will have to continue to dig deeper into the past. Boasting a 10-10 mark this spring in which the Rams were seeded 18th going into the Class S State Tournament, and then lost in the first round to East Granby, Old Saybrook still met its goals despite having a somewhat inexperienced squad.
"Our preseason goals were to compete for the Shoreline and state titles despite being an inexperienced team," said co-coach Steve Woods, who along with Dan Driscoll, manned the Rams this season. "We were not as consistent as we needed to be to achieve those goals, but we were pleased with the overall development of the squad and the outstanding leadership of our six seniors. We returned only three starters and several bench players with some experience, but felt they had the ability to win if they executed the little things in the game that are so important, get good pitching, play solid defense, and get some timely hitting. High expectations for an inexperienced club, but nonetheless, our guys made great strides and came up just a little short in getting into position to achieve our lofty aspirations."
Leading the pack were senior co-captains Justin Beal and Max Alden. Beal threw a no-hitter versus Old Lyme this season and manned the shortstop position, batting .450 with 11 doubles, three triples, 15 RBI, and 24 runs scored, earning him MVP and First Team All-Shoreline and All-State honors, as well as the "No 'I' in Team" Award presented by the Southern Connecticut Diamond Club, and was also selected to play in the CCHSA District Senior All-Star Game. Alden played outfield and was key contributor for the Rams.
"Justin and Max are polar opposites," said Woods. "Justin was our vocal and inspirational leader from his shortstop position as he works all year on his baseball skills and has a burning desire to win that he wears on his sleeve. He was our MVP and one of-if not the best-all-around players in the conference at shortstop and he also pitched. Max Alden unselfishly moved from catcher to first base and eventually to the outfield in order to make us a better team and give us help where we needed it. He was more the strong silent type with a workman-type approach to the game and came back from a broken ankle during basketball season. Both were excellent players who brought game-tested leadership and the competitive edge that an inexperienced team so critically needs."
Also helping to lead the Rams were senior outfielders Steve Carlson, Jake Gadon, Shaun Sabia, and Max Tarbell.
"Stevie was a fiery competitor being our centerfielder who contributed a fine season at the plate and in the field," said Woods. "Jake gave valuable contributions when he was in the lineup or was backing up his teammates when he wasn't. Shaun filled a valuable role as a DH and was also always team focused regardless of his role. Max Tarbell was a student-athlete his teammates all admired for his dedication, energy, and love of the game."
Amongst the Rams' highlights was beating defending conference and state champion East Hampton at the Bellringers' field, and also, developing as a team and getting valuable experience for everyone, including junior pitchers/infielders Alex Cabral and Chris Liggio (Co-Coaches' Award), outfielder Dylan St. Pierre, catcher Bob Endrizzi, first baseman/pitcher Brendan McElhone, infielder James Condulis, and freshmen outfielder Ethan Casberg, and infielder Jacob Faulkingham, along with valuable reserves and infielders Jack Condulis, Adam Seegert, and catcher Sam Nochera.
Next season will see Driscoll assume head coaching duties, bringing back a solid core of experience players to call on to have a very competitive team.
"I have truly enjoyed coaching baseball at Old Saybrook and I'm proud we made the state tourney four of my five years as head coach, but more proud of the great young men I had the opportunity to work with," said Woods. "I'm also proud of bringing in Dan to take over as he brings all the best qualities in a coach, not only in his excellent knowledge of the game, but in his demeanor and positive disposition. Old Saybrook is very fortunate to have him."