Picture this, the number one starter just graduated, the man who pitched over half the games last year. The second baseman with a solid bat and one of the most reliable defensive players on team, also graduated. The first baseman with the most amount of power on the team, has also moved on to college. These seniors were Tyler Boisvert, Matt Butterworth, and Jared Grillo. With these three key players gone, how can you expect the Woodland Hawks to move forward?
To start off, Jarrett Allen will be looking to pick up where he left off last season. Allen came to Woodland as a second baseman his freshman year. However, like all dedicated players, Allen adapted to what the team needed instead of what he wanted to play. At the time, Matt Butterworth, sophomore at the time, was the locked in second baseman for the future. Allen was then forced to learn different positions if he wanted to have success in the program. Allen saw his first time at the varsity level during the state tournament when the rosters can be extended. Last year, Allen developed into a utility player, playing positions like left field, catcher, and third base. However, with Butterworth gone, Allen may have a spot at his original position, second base.
Matt Hicks, one of the senior pitchers this year, saw his first varsity action last year. Hicks was called on top pitch as a reliever and provided a solid amount of innings when the team needed him. Hicks has also played some left field during his time as a junior varsity player. He will be looking to make more of an impact this season and become a leader on the team.
Isaiah Cotto and Brendan Rowley are the two other seniors that will be looking to make an impact on the team this year. Cotto saw playing time in varsity last year and can play third base and catcher. Rowley also found a way into the lineup last year and will add some depth to the outfield this year.
The Hawks will take on the season with only our seniors. They will be looking to their underclassmen to eat up some playing time on the field, just like the basketball and football team. With a lot of young talent, the Hawks are confident that they can make a run for the NVL championship this year.
One of the key young stars for this years success with be shortstop Zach Bedryzcuk. Bedryzcuk, one of the top scorers on the basketball team, is most passionate about baseball. Bedryzcuk began his varsity career as a freshman. During that season, he played the entire season and was in the lineup every game. Not only was he the go to shortstop with Sam Merriman just graduating, but he also saw some time on the mound. Bedryzcuk will continue to eat up some innings on the mound and be one of the stars in the lineup.
After recovering from arm surgery last season, Zach Graveline will be looking to have a bounce back season. Before having surgery, Graveline saw the majority of his playing time as a JV player. During his sophomore year, he made his way to Varsity as an outfielder and a reliever. However, due to arm soreness, his season came to an end when he needed surgery. Graveline will look to add some depth into the Hawks bullpen this season and fight for a spot in the outfield.
Last season, senior Mike Tuohy saw an early end to his senior year when he collided with first baseman Jared Grillo. Following the impact, Tuohy needed knee surgery which ended his baseball career with the Hawks. The Hawks then needed a catcher to fill in. While Jarrett Allen did see some time behind the dish, sophomore Colby Linnell flourished as a player and became the Hawks’ catcher. As a freshman, Linnell quickly worked through the Hawks program where he ended the season as the Hawks’ starting catcher. To top that off, Linnell also showed some pop with his bat. Linnell had a 16-game hitting streak with the Hawks last year.
“It just seemed like every time he came to bat he was going to get a hit,” commented Matt Hicks.
After a 9-11 season last year, the Hawks will be looking to improve that record. The Hawks will be relying on their young talent to carry them through the season. Unfortunately, they do not have that one big power hitter on their team since Grillo and Boisvert graduated. Instead, the Hawks will look to be more of a contact team. The Hawks took a 1-0 loss in the state tournament qualifies last year. They have qualified for states the past four seasons.They will look to keep the streak going when they play Ansonia on opening day.