Baseball coach leans on experience, talent in championship goal
Old Rochester Regional Varsity boys' baseball coach Steve Carvalho is as active as any of his players. During an indoor practice, he's all over the gymnasium, demonstrating pitching technique, hitting technique, catching technique. He crouches next to a pitcher, demonstrating the right stance.
He's working with what he calls a "split team." About half the players on the team are veterans, returning players who've been to the Massachusetts state tournament before. The other half are younger players, joining the team for the first time. They've put in hard work already, Carvalho said, but they've yet to start in a game.
The team's first game, on April 2, was cancelled due to unseasonal snow. The next game, scheduled for April 4, is against Bourne. "It'll be a trial by fire for some of them," Carvalho joked. "But it's hard to tell how Bourne's team will be. They've lost some good kids too. Baseball is less predictable than basketball or football."
His goal for the team, he said, is to qualify for the state tournament this year. The team qualified in 2014 and 2015, and missed out with a 10-11 overall record in 2017. Now he says, it's time for them to return. "The sooner we can qualify, the better."
Carvalho is confident that the team can get there. "The offensive side needs a little work, but we'll get there. We need to get into a scrappy play style, and pitch well."
Pitching well is not much of a problem—the team has two solid pitchers, Mike Kennefick and David Arruda, as well as a number of other pitching options. One is versatile player Noah Maxwell, who can play infield, outfield or pitch.
Other talented members of the team include returning players Jake Asiaf, Chris Labelle, Bryce Afonso, and Jack Mann.
"I'm really excited, we have a good returning team," said Asiaf.
Fellow players Nick Dextrader, Isaiah Ostigui and James Dwyer are moving up to the varsity team from the junior varsity team.
The team is scheduled to face off against Bourne in a home game at Washburn Park on April 5, beginning at 3:45 p.m. The next day, they'll face Fairhaven at Fairhaven High School, beginning at 3:45 p.m.