In a world that brings constant change on a seemingly minute-by-minute basis, it’s comforting to know that there are some things that have remained consistent over the years.
Included on that list would be the excitement, optimism and enthusiasm that Bob Corradi has brought to the Massachusetts Maritime baseball program for nearly four decades. And as Mother Nature prepares to change the seasonal calendar from winter to spring, the Big Buc continues to provide the same vibrant leadership that he had in his first season in 1973 to this, his 39th campaign, in 2011.
The Buccaneers welcome back 17 letterwinners into the fold from last year’s squad whose highlights included victories over perennial regional powers Worcester State and Bridgewater State, and Corradi is looking to blend in 13 newcomers to create a mix that will have Massachusetts Maritime in the thick of the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference race throughout the spring.
A key ingredient in creating that mix will be leadership, and Corradi will look to seniors Nick Levitre (Grafton, Mass./Grafton), Corey Murphy (East Wareham, Mass./Wareham), Neil Patnaude (North Andover, Mass./North Andover) and Michael Vargas (Framingham, Mass./Marian) to set that example as team captains this season. Corradi calls this quartet “experienced in the core values of what this program stands for—integrity, character and pride.”
Here are look at how things are shaping up on the diamond for the Buccaneers in 2011:
INFIELD. Vargas and fellow senior Brad Musk (Dania, Fla./South Broward) form a solid combination up the middle for Massachusetts Maritime, as Vargas batted .300 with 27 hits and 16 RBI at shortstop while Musk batted .286 with 24 hits, including four doubles, at second base. Levitre, who earned all-MASCAC accolades once again in 2010, paced the Buccaneer attack with a .403 batting average that included five doubles and three triples as a part of a team-leading 31 hits, and he will look to alternate time at first base with Murphy, who batted .271 with three doubles and four RBI, once again this spring.
Senior Andrew Saari (Framingham, Mass./Marian) enjoyed a solid campaign for Corradi last spring by batting .316 with five extra-base hits and six RBI, as he looks to take over on a full-time basis at third base, while fellow senior Sarkis Nahigian (North Falmouth, Mass./Falmouth) returns to the program after spending last spring in China on a semester abroad and will lend additional veteran experience in the infield. Sophomore Zachary Sullivan (Barnstable, Mass./Barnstable) saw most of his time as the designated hitter during his rookie campaign, and he will join Levitre and Murphy for time at first base for the Bucs, while junior Andrew DiNisco (Malden, Mass./Malden) and freshman William Cooksey (Richmond, Tex./Strake Jesuit Prep) will be vying for playing time as well this spring.
OUTFIELD. Senior Greg Wiggin (Marshfield, Mass./Marshfield) is the lone returning starter for Massachusetts Maritime in the outfield, as he batted .254 with a team-leading three homers to go with 12 RBI, as half of his hits on the year went for extra bases. Sophomore Aram Mulhern (Taunton, Mass./Taunton) gained experience as a rookie last season by appearing in 12 contests for Corradi, who will look to fill the other spot from the freshman quartet of Jonathan Moffitt (Lake Mary, Fla./Lake Mary), Devin Rudolph (Carver, Mass./Carver), Brendan O’Kane (Pocasset, Mass./Bourne) and Stephen Paine (Attleboro, Mass./Attleboro).
CATCHER. Junior William Shouldice (Rutland, Vt./Mount Saint Joseph) leads the way behind the plate for Massachusetts Maritime, as he batted .333 with 18 hits, including a homer, and four RBI last season. Sophomore Hunter Horton (Wareham, Mass./Wareham) appeared in five contests during his first campaign a year ago, while the freshmen trio of Matt Pelletier (Bradford, Mass./Central Catholic), Ben Maher (Plymouth, Mass./Plymouth South) and Luke Kondrotas (Barre, Mass./Gardner) will be vying for backstopping time for the Buccaneers as rookies.
PITCHER. Murphy was the top performer on the mound for the Buccaneers in 2010, as he posted three victories to go with a 5.08 ERA while fanning 31 and holding opponents to a .245 batting average, and he looks to pair with 2008 MASCAC Rookie of the Year Levitre at the top of the rotation. Senior Eric Moreschi (Quincy, Mass./North Quincy) returns from a one-year hiatus to lend additional experience from the left side for Corradi, while sophomore Tyler Genereux (Duxbury, Mass./Duxbury) emerged as a solid starter during his inaugural season by posting a pair of victories in six appearances. Patnaude, junior Jared Lowe (Brimfield, Mass./Tantasqua Regional) and sophomore Patrick Derrane (Utica, N.Y./New Hartford) combined for 18 appearances out of the bullpen last spring, while freshmen Nick Thomas (Brockton, Mass./Brockton), Chris Gallagher (East Sandwich, Mass./Sandwich), Keith Sanchez (Monroe Township, N.J./Monroe Township), Bryan Sweeney (Dennisport, Mass./Dennis-Yarmouth) and Steve Ellershaw (Chester, Mass./Gateway Regional) will look to make an impact for Massachusetts Maritime on the mound as rookies.
SCHEDULE. As always, the Buccaneers venture south for the first week of practice while also playing three games in Fort Pierce, Fla. in late February before returning to Buzzards Bay for a nine-game homestand during the month of March. In fact, Corradi’s crew will be looking to make headway at Commodore Hendy Field throughout the spring, as Massachusetts Maritime will only leave the Cape five times during the course of the regular season in playing 21 of its 29 Northern contests on Taylor’s Point.
A new season brings the same enthusiasm and passion that Bob Corradi has exuded throughout his career at Massachusetts Maritime, as he brings a career total of 513 victories into his 39th campaign, which begins on Friday, February 25th when the Buccaneers take on Cornell (Iowa) in a non-league match-up in Fort Pierce, Fla. that begins at 2:00 p.m. EST. After a three-week layoff, Corradi’s crew begins its Northern slate on Saturday, March 19th by entertaining Lyndon State in a non-league doubleheader at Commodore Hendy Field beginning at 1:00 p.m. EST.