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My name is Jamie Pote, and welcome to my new website and blog. If you don't know me already, I have been the Sports Editor of the Wilmington and Tewksbury Town Crier newspaper since 1994. I'll be using this site to share my most recent sports stories, as well as play by play updates from games in Wilmington and Tewksbury. Please feel free to take a look around, and enjoy!

TMHS Baseball team has tough road ahead

Last year was a very trying season for the Tewksbury Memorial High School Baseball team. Relatively young and inexperienced, the Redmen had the daunting task of playing all 21 of their games on the road. The team went through its share of ups-and-downs, and ended up finishing 7-14 overall which included a first round state tournament loss to Danvers, after qualifying by the Sullivan Rule.
This year’s team brings back a lot of those players form last year, thus you would think the optimism would be off the charts especially since the team will return home for half of its games.
But the problem is, like any other year, Tewksbury plays in the Merrimack Valley Conference. Last year the league was down a bit, but this year that doesn’t seem to be the case.
The league is loaded from top to bottom, whether in the large school conference or in the small school conference. On Monday, the Boston Herald released its pre-season rankings and three of the top six teams in the Division 1 rankings come from the MVC, while the small school conference favorites are right behind whether it’s Billerica, Dracut or Lawrence.
“The league is strong and there won’t be any pushovers whatsoever,” said coach Ron Drouin, now in his 21st season. “Every team has very good pitching. Billerica, Lawrence and Dracut will all be very good in the small school conference and in the large division there’s Central Catholic, Lowell, Andover and Chelmsford – every team we’re going to face this year is going to be good and have very good pitching.”
So here lies the question, can Tewksbury hit and hit consistently when facing such a large vast of quality arms? Last year the team didn’t, and struck out too much.
“Right now I’ve seen some good things with the bats but it’s just been a little bit inconsistent,” said Drouin. “I think we can be pretty good offensively with a handful of veteran guys coming back but we’re going to need to produce and execute.”
Tewksbury will rely on seven returning starters as well as two transfer players, who will see most of the action. Seniors Dominic Rosado, Alex Hamilton, John Cave and Nick Bain bring back most of the experience, while, juniors Alex DiRocco and Joe Csokmay return as does sophomore pitcher Brett Morris, who won five of the team’s seven games last year as a ninth grader.
Around the infield, Bain is at catcher, while junior transfer Rob Cutone will back him up as well as see time in the outfield. He’s one of two players who came over from Malden Catholic along with Brandon Imonti, who went to TMHS as a freshman, before going to MC and is now back. Hamilton will be at first, with DiRocco at second, Rosado at shortstop and Csokmay at third.
The outfield will consist of Cutone as well as returning lettermen junior Ryan Meade and sophomore Jack Theriault, while Morris and Cave will see time there as well when they aren’t pitching.
As for the batting order, it would seem as if Rosado will lead-off with any combination of Cutone, Hamilton, Csokmay and Morris to follow.
“Our team speed is OK,” said Drouin. “But we have to hit the ball. We have to put the ball in play against some good pitching in this conference.”
Newcomers to the team include senior Ron Mallach, juniors Imonti, Andrew Wallace, Jim Doran and Cam Gahagan as well as sophomores Theriault and Steve Hamel.
Mallach plays the outfield, Gahagan is an infielder, while, Imonti, Wallace, Doran, Theriault and Hamel are reserve pitchers, who will follow the team’s top three starters of Morris, Cave and Hamilton.
“I feel like the pitching staff is pretty solid,” said Drouin. “We have two-thirds of our staff back from last year. I think the Theriault kid can be a good contributor for us this year. We have three starters and we also have a few options after that with guys like Imonti, Csokmay, Wallace and Hamilton who will be able to get us some outs. I think our pitching is deeper than it has been. We can run out five or six guys who are pretty solid.”
OPENER
Tewksbury opened its season with a 8-3 loss to Gloucester on Monday. The game was tied at 3-3 in the sixth when the Fishermen scored five runs. Csokmay had a hit and scored two runs, and Imonti added a RBI. Morris went the first four innings, giving up two earned runs on six hits, while walking three and striking out four.