South Boston Saints 2015 Season Preview

SaintsSouth Boston Saints

2014 Record: 19-11-1

Carl Yastrzemski Division 3rd place

The 2014 Saints team finished the year exactly like the previous years squad, dropping a winner goes on/loser goes home game 5 to the Revere Rockies at St. Peters field. The 2014 squad started out as one of the hottest teams in the league but slumped a little after top of the rotation starters Dylan Joyce and Rob Cahill moved to NYC during the season. The team finished up at 19-11-1, a two game improvement from the year before.

In 2015 the Saints will bring back much the same team as they had last year. Their biggest loss will be losing David Lightbody to free agency. Lights has decided to takes his talents north of the city to join the Somerville Allibrandis.

Reports from Saints spring training (Extra Innings, Watertown) say the team’s leading hitter Kent Graham is in the proverbial “best shape of his life” and looking to have a monster year after injuries limited him to 21 games in 2014. The Babson triplets, Jeff Wojnar, Trevor Boyce and Bryan Evans, along with team rbi leader Jim McLaughlin will provide punch in the middle of the Saints order.

Pete McCauliffe returns at SS and will be joined in the middle infield by newcomer Dylan Katz-Wicks (Union 2014). Johnny Hayes returns in his quest to play all 9 positions in a game and then crush karaoke at the Banshee the same night.

Pitching – The team that threw 4 combined pitchers in a 5 game series remains a bit thin in the rotation. Rubber armed veterans Steve Hueston and Lucas Gheoghegan will head up the rotation, with Chris Dupay filling the “one start every 10 days” role. New faces Matt Bertuch (Swarthmore 2014) and Ben Oliva (Williams 2012) should provide depth. The Saints are also hoping their veteran pitchers Jon Miarecki and Jon Tenney can provide some quality innings on the hill as both deal with the same arm injury (old)

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Brighton Braves 2015 Season Preview

Braves

With the dawn of the 2015 season, the Brighton Braves are entering their 50th summer of baseball, all played at their beloved Rogers Park. They are also expecting to put a tough 2014 campaign behind them and return to the form that saw them reach the playoffs in 2012 and 2013.

Perhaps the most notable addition will be the installment of Ed Lee as manager. Lee has coached in Newton for many years, and is the father of former Bravos short stop, Alex Lee, who is currently playing pro ball in the Czech Republic after spending the winter playing pro ball in Australia.

There are two key losses from the roster this season. After seven seasons in the YBL, Evan Hudson will no longer be patrolling center field and hosing runners who dared test the Huddy Cannon. The Bravos will also be without the services of short stop Hector Coscione, who has signed with the Pittsfield Suns of the Futures Collegiate Baseball League.

Other than that, the veteran core of the Bravos is returning. Billy Uberti will once again lead the Bravos offense after tying for the league-lead in 2014 with a ridiculous .507 average. Outfielder Steve Robb, who has batted .375 over his first two seasons with the club, and infielder Ari Glantz, who posted a .338 average and .962 OPS in his rookie season last year, will both be cornerstones of the lineup. Super utility man Teddy Ballgame Tracy is entering his 19th season in the YBL, and Steve DeFusco, the man they call StevieD, who entertained thoughts of retirement for a week or two, is back for another round as well.

The Bravos pitching staff will once again be led by former big leaguer Mike Smith. Behind him are veteran righties Pete Lankarge, James Greeley, and Joe Schlesinger. The Bravos also received some strong work on the mound from youngsters Brendan Ryan and Richard Arms last season and hope that that trend continues. One of the biggest keys to a rebound by the Bravos will be a rebound by their pitching staff to the form they showed in 2013 when Smitty, Lank, and Greels combined for 17 wins.

With their strong veteran presence and a savvy Lee at the helm, the Bravos think their 50th summer in Brighton will be a winning one.

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Brighton Black Sox 2015 Season Preview

BlackSoxBrighton Black Sox

2014 Record: 15-16-1

Ted Williams Division 4th place

2014 Season Review:

The 2014 season brought several new faces to the Brighton Black Sox. While there was some level of uncertainty surrounding the amount of turnover, there was still a great deal of optimism in the promise of what could potentially be there.   Inconsistency reigned in the early months of the season.

While the Sox struggled early to beat the teams at the standings, the Sox were able to find enough wins to make it back to the playoffs for the first time since 2011. In the playoffs, the Sox would face off with the eventual champion Somerville Alibrandis. Despite solid albeit losing efforts in Games 1 and 2, the Sox would end up being swept in three games.

2015 Season Preview:

Losses –

Despite efforts to change his mind, it appears that Sox will enter the 2015 season without the services of Billy Reichmann.     Billy was often the driving force behind much of the team’s success over the years.

Billy’s leadership will be missed both on and off the field.

Additions –

While the Sox are still working to add some depth to the roster, there have been a couple of off season additions.

Joe Loynd has returned to Massachusetts from Tennessee and will be joining the Sox.   Joe played college baseball at Brandeis and has been playing in Memphis area league while living in Tennessee.

While technically an addition, the return of the Kevin Hopwood can be seen more of a homecoming. Hopwood played for the Sox in 2013.   When a few of the Sox players became coaches on the Lesley University coaching staff, Hopwood was forced to find another team for the 2014.   After playing the 2014 season with the West Roxbury Nationals and finishing his senior year at Lesley, Hopwood returns to the Sox where he belongs.

Season Outlook:

The Black Sox enter the 2015 season with a great deal of optimism, as they return the core group of players from the last year’s playoff team.

Pitching will once again be the strength of the Sox.   The rotation will again be anchored by veterans J.T. Ross, Matt Nicholson and Jared Rooney, with Joe Shebertes and Collin Geagan providing much needed depth.

The Sox offense will look to build on the solid first seasons of Kurt Beulke, Adam Sudbeck, Billy Cather and Will Cousins while looking for bounce back years from veterans Cam Owens, Tim Varakis, Aqib Shah and Will Baker.

 

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East Boston Knights 2015 Season Preview

KnightsEast Boston Knights

2014 Record: 21-10-1

Carl Yastrzemski Division 2nd place

2014 Season Review:

Coming into the 2014 YBL season the East Boston Knights felt this was their best team on the field and they did not disappoint. Although they fell short of their goal to win the YBL it was a season in which they had overcome lots of injuries and adversity. Season ending injuries to Brad Monroe, Kenny Luongo and Mikey Oliveria were thought of as devastating but this team somehow found a way to keep on and be a threat in the playoffs. It was a season in which they won their first playoff series in their short history and exercised the demons against the Stoneham Sabers in dramatic style. The season ended abruptly in a hard fought series vs the Somerville Alibrandis, getting swept by the eventual champs 3 games to none that saw historic games that one had to be there to appreciate. All in all a successful season for EBK, one to build off of and apply to 2015.

2015 Season Preview:

Once again the Knights believe that this is their most talented team in their 6 year history. Mostly all of the roster will return in 2015 to try and take care of unfinished business. The pitching staff remains intact with the exception of hard throwing righty John Tangherlini. Tango was scooped up by the Southern Illinois Miners in the Frontier League in the offseason. Jeff (Jeffy) Allison will return to the bump along with Jon Shepard, Everyday Max Ockner and Billy Riggieri. EBK veteran Branden Eaton will be returning for his 4th season along with a rejuvenated Sean Hannon the cannon. Field captain Jose Paulino will be returning to lead the troops to the Promised Land along with most of last year’s roster still intact.

Key Losses:

The Knights suffered some losses as most good teams do. As mentioned John Tangherlini will be moving on to the Frontier League. Also moving on will be Victor LeBron. LeBron, last year’s ROY and the best leadoff hitter in the game has also signed a contract to play in independent ball for the 2015 season. Victor shattered a YBL record last year with 47 steals and was top 5 in almost every offensive category. His speed at the top of the order will surely be missed as well as him patrolling CF and tracking down anything hit near or around him. Brad Tardugno a sure HOF’r has retired after a great YBL career that sees him as the all-time single season RBI record holder with 47 back in 2010 for the Malden Bulldogs. Also moving on is Omar Ortiz, an original East Boston Knight who had a tough year for EBK nursing a leg injury that limited him last season. Also moving on another original Knight Josh Valerio who played a key role for the Knights in 2015. Another huge loss for the Knights will be veteran Kenny Luongo. The heart and soul of EBK, Kenny has an elbow injury that will require surgery and he will miss the entire 2015 season. He will be back!!!!

Season Outlook:

The Knights have lofty goals for 2015 as they always do. This team is built for the playoffs with a pitching staff that has professional talent and lots of experience. Although the team has suffered some key losses they also have added to their roster. Key veterans Wilson Mercado, Jose Paulino, Kenny Polanco and Geoff Harris will all be returning. Catchers Marty Dunlap and Brett Remon also return to form a great 1-2 punch behind the dish. The Knights welcome back senior and captain of Curry College, Kyle Connors to the squad after missing last year with Tommy John surgery. Also returning super utility man, pitcher and 2014 All Star Justin Wojcik. Wojcik spent last season with the West Roxbury Nationals. Another former Nat joining the team will be Johan Villalona. Johan is a welcome addition who will deepen the already tough EBK line-up and play DH, 1B and catch. The Knights also have Mikey Oliveria returning from his ACL surgery returning to 2B for the home town team. Bench coach Richard Soohoo will also be returning for his 6th season. The Knights have added some depth to the roster and have a strong bench and bullpen. Another signing is former Houston Astro product Kilby Pena. Pena a hard throwing lefty is 2 and ½ years removed from Tommy John surgery and ready to return to the mound in hopes of helping EBK and hopefully returning to the professional baseball ranks. All in all the Knights are ready for the 2015 season to start after an offseason of hard work and dedication.

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McKay Club Beacons 2015 Season Preview

Beacons

McKay Club Beacons

2014 Record: 5-23-2

After winning the Yaz Division and #1 seed to make the playoffs in 2012, the McKay Club has struggled to maintain consistency since. The team has suffered the loss of one top player after another. 2014 was a very difficult season for the Beacons. It seems that once some momentum was reached each of the last 3 seasons – rain came and people evaporated.

There are no excuses in baseball. Flat out this Franchise has not performed well on the mound or defensively for 3 seasons. Both of those areas must improve if the Beacons are to contend in 2015.

Pitching is the key to the success of any franchise in baseball and it is hoped that 2015 will see the addition of quality arms to bring the Beacons back to a play-off caliber team.

New Coach Brian Mylett has worked very hard to establish a solid connection with Wheaton College in Norton and 7 current and former Wheaton College players will be joining the McKay Club this season. Here are some great additions that are hoped to boost the starting lineup and starting/relief pitching staff.

Key Departures: 

The Beacons will be without the on and off field antics of LF Drew Tambling. Drew has been not only been one of the best hitters in the Yawkey League over the last 7 seasons but one of the best in the history of the league. He is, however, contemplating commuting from Singapore so stay tuned on that.

Key Additions:

The Beacons will be adding a host of players from Wheaton College. Pitchers Eric Dumas, Jared Clement, Mike Baryski, and Brady Furdon will help a pitching staff that finished at the bottom of the league in most categories last season. RF Matt Lavanchy, LF Kevin Foley, and 2B Justin Peluso have all spent the past 3 seasons in the FCBL and will look to have an impact this season. The Beacons will also welcome back RHP Paul Fahey back after a season in the NYCBL and a solid career at Franklin Pierce.

Key Returners:

The Beacons captain Jack Owens returns in CF for his 12th season. Kyle McKay hopes to return behind the plate and help the young pitching staff with his tremendous game calling talents. Robbie Lerro can play any position on the field and will be a fixture in the middle of the Beacon lineup. Lionel Danielson OF was a silver bat winner in 2014. He is a five tool talent who came up short in the voting for YBL – Rookie of the Year honors. He plans to return to the Beacons and do his thing. Steady and solid in the field and at the plate. Dan Brien will help as a solid veteran on this young team. There is a strong wind blowing rumors of a return by Connor Reinfurt to the YBL. Connor is back in the Boston area and plans to play ball.

Dark Horses: Adam Woodhead has a big bat and a strong arm. This young man is looked upon to work at 3rd base and toss in relief. Luke Barkowski was ill most of last season and we hope he can bounce back and contribute on the bump with a strong showing. C – Reza Javaheri & P/1B – John Thomsen of Roxbury Latin are expected back. These 2 youngsters will be bigger and better in ‘15. Rookie Prospect, P – Matt Kerin of Quincy comes with a solid reputation out of Archbishop Williams.

We plan to stress “commitment and dedication to goals” this spring and summer.We fail to call this a rebuilding year. This is a year in which the McKay Club plans to WIN!

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Stoneham Sabers 2015 Season Preview

SabersStoneham Sabers

2014 Record: 22-10

Ted Williams Division 3rd place

2014 Season Review:

2014 was a season where aspirations for the first playoff seed were realistic up until the last week of the season where the Sabers fell short. The mix of an injury to star rookie pitcher Corey McNamara and the Sabers losing a few close games down the stretch made the difference in the end. However, they found themselves back in familiar territory facing the East Boston Knights for a third straight year in the first round of the playoffs. At the defeat of two previous playoff sweeps against the Sabers it was a long time since the Knights were able to overcome the royal blue.

2015 Season Preview:

The Stoneham Sabers are no longer the new kids on the block. Entering their fifth season in the Yawkey Baseball League, the “Stals” enter with a veteran presence hungry for a YBL championship and remain a league powerhouse. Player/Manager Angelo Colucci, Captain Ryan Flanagan, 3 time YBL All-Star Mike Robinson, and Sam Cummings who currently holds a career 1.19 ERA, good enough for an all-time YBL’s 7th best, are the original Sabers entering their 5th season. Lefty specialist Chris Dion, the foundation of the pitching staff catcher Travis Adams, unsung hero Jon Chapman, and the best double leadoff hitter in amateur baseball Joe Parlow will enter their 4th season in the league. The bread and butter of the Sabers’ infield, All-Star shortstop Stefan Botarelli will enter his third full year in the league to round up the veteran presence. Coach Joe Laurina who has been part of the Sabers’ program since day one will be back in uniform. Coach Papa, as all the Sabers know him by, is leaning towards watching from the sidelines to stay more relaxed. However, as the season nears the Sabers hope Papa cannot resist suiting up in his number 36 jersey on game days and keeping the Italian born duo coaching the bases.

Key Losses:

The Sabers will have to go once again without original Saber Jake Zelnick as he comes off his best season in the Yawkey League. Zelnick obtained his Master’s degree in counseling from Lesley University and has landed a job back home in Jersey. Peter “Moose” Creamer’s work has taken him to the Texas sun for this season and will be missed in the heart of the Sabers’ lineup. Original Saber and veteran pitcher Greg Dubela will also be missed as he makes his way to Ohio in April. Dubela signed a professional contract with the Lake Erie Crushers from his success in the California Winter League. The Sabers wish Dubela the best of luck while he pursues his professional baseball career. The East Boston Knights will be glad to hear that Saber veteran outfielder Nick Schauwecker, who has been a big part of every Sabers’ playoff campaign has tied the knot and is set not to play this season. However, Saber management is hoping Schauwecker will make an appearance this season to patrol right field to keep the original air marshals together.

Season Outlook:

With the losses of key players, the Sabers will have a new look to their roster this season. The Sabers hope to rely on pitching, defense and timely hitting to stay sharp again this year as they look to make their way to the YBL finals. Manager Colucci has recruited a handful of new collegiate stars that will be competing for a starting job in the Sabers’ lineup, along with the Sabers’ veterans. Former Bunker Hill and Intercity League All-Star Tommy Lenane will replace Zelnick’s All-Star presence as a new addition to the infield. Tommy’s teammate, Derek Pizarro currently playing at Curry College, Anna Maria’s Shawn Callahan, Patrick Henry’s Curtis Tirone and Merrimack’s Dionys Quezada will also be new additions to the Sabers’ roster.

The strongest point of the Sabers is their pitching staff. Every hurler is back with the exception of Dubela, and the Sabers are hoping to have a healthy McNamara back from St. Joes. Syed Ali who made an appearance last year to help out the Sabers is returning full time this year. Let’s not forget to check out Ali’s LoveYaLifeStyle clothing line! Former Clark ace Andrew Leblanc, Dowling’s Dave Monteverdi and American International’s Joey Zampell will be three more additions to round up the Sabers’ pitching staff.

Last but not least let’s not forget the Sabers’ tenth man, “The Beach.” Known as one of the hardest fields to play and win on for the opposition. The Sabers will continue to play their home games at Recreation Park, where on sunny weekend afternoons Daniela Colucci and Julie Dabenigno will continue to compete with the pool party next door to play Sabers’ walk up music. Once again, veteran outfielders Flanagan and Robinson will continue to patrol their waters at the sandy shore.

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