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2021 H.S. baseball preview capsules

ECC Division I 

Bacon

Coach: John Shea (4th season)

Key returnees: P-CF Colton Vasseur, C-OF Terrence Gignac, P-3B Jack Novak, P-1B Andrew Navickas, SS Harry Snow.

Top newcomers: P-IF Steven Laliberte, P-OF Aidan Fritz, P-IF Daniel Shane, IF Alex Pulse, P-1B Ryan Claffey, P-IF Chris Lasigna, A.J. Blanchette, P-OF Dillon Rakowski.

Outlook: The Bobcats were built for success before the pandemic canceled the 2020 season and the bulk of their starting lineup graduated. Shea says Bacon has talent, but most of it is untested, so the development of his newcomers will determine the Bobcats' fate in 2021.

East Lyme

Coach: Jack Biggs (15th season)

Top newcomers: Sr. P Ben Orefice, Jr. P Jace Lillie, Jr. P Greg Morgan, Sr. C Harley Perreno, Sr. C Elijah Hyatt, Jr. OF Julian Baez, So. OF-P John Bureau, Sr. P Ty Chiasson, Jr. IF Chris Martin, So. IF Blake Biggs, Sr. IF-P Carter Chambers, So. IF-P Gavin O'Brien, Sr. P Ethan Vinelli, Sr. P-IF Nate Licitra, So. C Quinn Killoy, Sr. OF Ben Sartori, Jr. OF Matt Bradley, Sr. IF-P Aidan Ellis, Jr. IF-P, Jr. IF-P Chris Stevens, Sr. IF Marcus Orsini, So. IF-P Owen Elmer, Sr. IF Aiden Dowling.

Outlook: The Vikings have completely turned over their roster after graduating the bulk of a team Biggs felt was one of the best he was going to have during his tenure. The 2021 edition has no varsity experience, but there is talent. "The team has been working hard adapting to the philosophy and culture of the program," Bigg said, adding the Vikings "will rely on their seniors to establish positive practice habits that will create a competitive game experience."

Fitch

Coach: Brian McGugan (4th season)

Key returnees: Sr. 2B Alex DelCampo, Sr. P Ramiro Zavala, Jr. C Cam McGugan.

Top newcomers: Sr. P-OF Caleb Mewha, Sr. OF Justin Porter, Sr. P-OF Anthony Franco, Jr P Ethan Mireault, Jr. OF Ryan O'Connor, Jr. IF Luke Noreika, Jr. IF Tate Scherer, Jr. OF Luke McAlister, Jr. P Charlie MacPherson, Jr. IF Matt Robinson, So. P Dylan Meyer, So. OF Isaiah Anderson.

Outlook: The Falcons return three starters from the 2019 season, including Cam McGugan, who started as a freshman. Zavala is one of the most experienced pitchers in the ECC and helped Fitch share the ECC Division I title. Brian McGugan really likes his new varsity players and expects them to help keep the Falcons in the mix this spring.

Ledyard

Coach: Scott Chiasson (8th season)

Top newcomers: Jr. 3B Braydon Wuestner, So. P-CF Zion Fraser, Sr. 1B Julian Munitmuri, Sr. C Jake Viteritto, Jr. P Robert Moynihan, Jr. OF Cian Sullivan, Fr. IF Ethan Petrowski.

Outlook: The Colonels were deep in talent in 2019, but after going a full season with no baseball due to the pandemic, Chiasson's varsity roster will feature all newcomers. Moynihan and Fraser will lead the pitching staff and Viteritto will be key behind the plate. "I'm hoping they can gain confidence and experience early on," said Chiasson, who said offense will be Ledyard's strength led by Munitmuri, Wuestner, Fraser and Sullivan.

Montville

Coach: Stephen Stonoha (5th season)

Key returnees: Jr. C-P Chas Terni, Sr. P-OF Isaiah Gallagher, Sr. P-OF Chris Cullen, Jr. P-IF Justin Saad, Jr. P-IF Miles Sarmiento.

Top newcomers: So. P-IF Derrell Mitchell, So. IF Joe Wainwright.

Outlook: The Indians, as always, have talent and experience in 2021. One area of concern, however, is overall depth, but Stonoha believes Montville will be competitive after a year off. "As a team we all can't wait until that first game when the umpire says, 'Play ball,'" he said. "Our goal is to stay healthy and have fun playing the game we love."

New London

Coach: Matt Greene (1st season)

Key returnees: Sr. C-P Kenny Miller, Sr. P-OF C.J. Hamilton, Sr. IF Gio Galatioto, Sr. P-IF Garrett Matson, Sr. IF Anthony Rivera, Sr. P-1B Angel Ovalle, Sr. P-OF Ryan Gardiner, Sr. OF Anthony Germoso, Sr. OF Michael Garcia.

Top newcomers: Jr. IF-C Bebo Martinez, Jr. P-IF-OF Michael Germoso, Jr. P-1B Sean Raymond, Sr. IF Leuri Reyes, Jr. P-UTL Yanury Cardenales, Sr. UTL Justin Lamoureux, Jr. P Freilyn Guzman, Sr. UTL Andre Gomez.

Outlook: Greene takes over the head coaching reins at his alma mater and is excited about the Whalers' prospects this spring. "We have a lot of pitching depth that I'm very confident in," Greene said. "This is a fun group that has been working very hard."

NFA

Coach: Anthony Turgeon (1st season)

Key returnees: Sr. P Brian Miskiewicz.

Top newcomers: Sr. C Ryan Deshefy, Sr. P Elliott Johnson, Sr. P-IF Griffin Pontbriant, So. UTL Bryson Plante.

Outlook: Turgeon, an assistant under former coach Luke Gabordi, takes over the Wildcats this season. They are short on experience, but not talent. Miskiewicz is a returning starting pitcher while Pontbriant, a two-time ECC all-star at Montville, finally gets to make his NFA debut following last year's pause. "I'm excited about the opportunity to coach a hard-working group of players," said Turgeon.

Stonington

Coach: Bob Cahoone (5th season)

Key returnees: Sr. P Drew Champagne, Sr. 3B Bob Dimock.

Top newcomers: Fr. IF Dylan Cimini, So. Payton Neale, Fr. C Wyatt Verbridge, Sr. P Kyle Kelleher.

Outlook: The Bears, like most teams, missed out on an opportunity for growth with the cancellation of the 2020 season. Cahoone needs some of his younger players to step up and Stonington needs to develop some pitching depth. "We will be working some of (our newcomers) into the lineup and hopefully we can improve every day," Cahoone said.

Waterford

Coach: Art Peluso (11th season)

Key returnees: Sr. P-IF-OF Connor Podeszwa, Sr. IF Ryan Salvador, Sr. P Dan Driscoll.

Top newcomers: Sr. P-IF-OF Logan Avin, Sr. IF Will Rocchetti, Sr. OF Conner Rowe.

Outlook: After winning the 2019 Class L title with a 1-0 win over Berlin, the Lancers were primed to repeat before COVID-19 canceled the 2020 season. They graduated a large and talented senior class that included three Division I pitchers – Jared Burrows (Hartford), Ryan O'Connell (Central Connecticut) and Payton Sutman (Holy Cross). Peluso will rely on another solid senior class this spring, saying, "We will rely heavily on their leadership and ability ... we look forward to seeing the overall growth and development of the entire baseball program."

ECC Division II

Griswold

Coach: Mike Jamieson (3rd season)

Key returnees: Sr. OF Ryan Ganley, Sr. C Charlie Mikolajczak, Jr. P-OF Evan Gilgenbach, Jr. IF Zach Confer, Jr. P-IF A.J. Hamel, Jr. OF J.J. Bruno.

Top newcomers: Fr. P-IF Colin Mitchell, Fr. IF KinKade Rubino, Fr. C-IF Chris Tonucci, Fr. P-IF Sean Garvin, Fr. IF Jacob Hamel, So P-OF Cory Smith, So. P-C-IF Gavin Demicco, So. P-C-OF Evan Merchant, Jr. P Nolan Webster.

Outlook: Jamieson has a young team with plenty of potential. He believes Gilgenbach will emerge as one of the ECC's best pitchers and he's curious to see how his young players adjust to high school baseball. "I expect some growing pains and we will make some mistakes," Jamieson said, "but I love this group of kids. They compete every day in practice and are eager to learn."

Lyman Memorial

Coach: Marty Gomez (34th season)

Key returnees: Jr. P-C Joshua Person, Jr. P-OF Daylan Griffin, Sr. 1B Jason Cropley.

Top newcomers: So. SS Michael Incontro, So. P-3B Ben Darrow, Jr. IF Nick Ortiz, So. IF Jacob Citro, Fr. OF Jeremiah Bobbi, Fr. C-IF Jared Russo, Jr. OF Bennett Murphy, Sr. UTL Matt Damble, Fr. P-1B-OF Alex Ortiz, Jr. P-OF Ben Morin.

Outlook: The Bulldogs have consistently been one of the ECC's best programs under Gomez, but this year could be a challenge. Lyman is really young, and how quickly it develops with the help of veterans Person and Griffin will be the key. "Many sophomores and freshmen will be counted on to develop and perform at the varsity level," Gomez said. "All have played a lot of baseball, but not at the varsity level. It will be very interesting to see how they handle the big step up."

St. Bernard

Coach: Grant Livingston (2nd season)

Key returnees: Sr. P Kyle Egan, Sr. IF Ryan Proulx, Sr. OF Walker Baillargeon, Jr. P-IF Aiden Whitten, Jr. IF-P Guiseppie Satti.

Top newcomers: So. C Joe Basso, Fr. OF-P Martin Light, So. P-OF Luca Muscarella, So. IF Ethan Chavez, Fr. IF Bryce Morrissette, So. P Ryan Ziegler, So. IF Kolby Quinn, Fr. OF-P Lucas Dellacono.

Outlook: Livingston returns for his second year as head coach, but first on the field following the cancellation of the 2020 season. Egan will anchor the Saints; pitching staff while sophomore Basso and freshman Light will step into prominent roles. "Overall," Livingston said, "we have a deeper roster than years past and will look to reestablish ourselves as a top program in the ECC."

Others

Grasso Tech

Coach: Carlos Flores (11th season)

Key returnee: Jr. C Randy Vidal Ventura.

Top newcomers: So. SS Tito Arias, Fr. IF Jesus Sanchez.

Outlook: The Eagles will enter the 2021 Connecticut Technical Conference season with a young team, but Flores is happy underclassmen like Arias and Sanchez can follow Vida Ventura's lead. He expects all three to have productive seasons during a rebuilding year.

Old Lyme

Coach: Randy St. Germain (17th season)

Key returnees: Sr. 3B-SS-P Colbe Andrews, Sr. P-3B-1B-RF Sr. Tait Sawden, Sr. CF Jesper Silberberg, Jr. C Alex Roth, Jr. 1B-P Maverick Swaney, Jr. SS Riley Warecke.

Top newcomers: Jr. OF Aidan Ward, Jr. OF Nick Adelleti, Jr. 2B Liam Fallon, So. C Jaden Reyes, Jr. OF Jimmy Creagan, So. IF Casey Hurtgen, Fr. IF Grady Lacorciere.

Outlook: The Wildcats, despite missing out on the 2020 season, return a talented lineup and an experienced pitching staff led by Sawden, one of the Shoreline Conference's top returning pitchers. St. Germain also has confidence handing the ball to Andrews and Swaney and feels like Old Lyme will be strong defensively. "We should have enough pitching to compete all year," St. Germain said.

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