Pitchers and catchers report for Vermont schools
BENNINGTON — Believe it or not, spring is just around the corner and that means baseball isn't too far off either.
High school teams across the state started practices Monday, with pitchers and catchers reporting for duty.
Monday afternoon, the Mount Anthony baseball team was stuck in Kates Gym for its first day of practice.
MAU had mounds set up across the gym and prospective pitchers took their turns getting their arms going again.
"It's been a long winter just waiting to get here," said Patriots coach Walt Parmenter, who enters his seventh year at the helm of the team. "These kids are hungry to get going, just like all of the coaches. Hopefully, we have a decent spring, so we can get outside."
MAU will be a team filled with youth this year, having graduated 11 seniors from last season's squad that finished at 5-11.
On the pitching side, the Patriots only return a pair of players in senior Cole Bushee and junior Tanner King.
Parmenter expects some strong work from the younger crop of pitchers set to join the varsity ranks and expects Bushee and King to continue to be important pieces.
"We have some of the new kids, who are pretty well-experienced and will be able to pick up the slack," Parmenter said. "With [Bushee and King's] guidance, I think we'll be okay."
MAU starts the season on April 13 on the road against Bellows Falls. The Patriots' home opener is April 25 against Fair Haven.
Burr and Burton comes off a season where they finished at 12-6, falling to South Burlington in a close Division I quarterfinal game.
Much like their local rivals, BBA is excited to get back for this season.
Bulldogs assistant coach Eddie Lewicki, son of head coach Ed Lewicki, was leading practice Monday night. Lewicki pitched at Siena College after graduating from BBA, so pitchers and catchers week always has a special place in his heart.
"It's great to be back with the guys and seeing the younger kids coming up. This is just pitchers and catchers week, but it's nice to see that we have a bunch of guys coming out and getting their arms ready to go," Eddie Lewicki said. "Myself and my dad are looking forward to the group we have. We have a mixture of older guys and younger guys that will contribute. This is one of my favorite weeks."
BBA lost one of its best pitchers, Jay McCoy, to graduation last year, along with Beckett Weir, but the Bulldogs return a stable of high upside arms that figure to make BBA's rotation one of the better in the state.
The Bulldogs have John Rodriguez, Joey McCoy, Ethan Senecal, Daniel Hatheway, John Morgantini and multiple others, as options on the mound.
Eddie Lewicki is hoping to see this group of pitchers take their game to the next level this year. He noted how that transition happened for Jay McCoy from his sophomore year to his junior year and is hoping to see a similar jump from the group they have.
"The important thing for the guys that are returning is getting to the next level," Eddie Lewicki said. "For these guys that are returning, they all have had great games and they've all had rough games. It's a matter of getting on the mound and throwing strikes. In high school ball, that's the most important thing, but I have confidence in them to do so. We may even have some surprises of younger guys that can offer some innings, which will be huge."
Catching that stable of pitchers will be senior Owen King, who is coming off a strong season behind the plate in 2018.
BBA begins its season on April 10 when they play Mill River at home.
Adam Aucoin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and followed at @AAucoin_Banner on Twitter.
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