By KEN MORSE
The Plainville Post 33 American Legion baseball team will move from Zone 7 to Zone 1 this season and head coach Brian McCarthy feels his team will be up for the challenge.
“We faced some pretty tough competition in Zone 7,” said McCarthy. “RCP, West Hartford, Berlin and New Britain gave us some battles night in and night out.”
“Looking forward to a new start in Zone 1 and I know the team works hard and will be ready to leave it all on the field.”
Post 33 will be going up against Avon and Simsbury, two teams that have won the Zone in back-to-back seasons over the past four years. Bristol has been the Zone runner-up the past three years after stringing together a run of six Zone titles in seven years.
“Our numbers have dwindled a bit over the years,” said McCarthy entering his third year at the helm. “The last couple of years we’ve had younger guys playing but every year we continue to get better.
Plainville went 2-20 and 5-18 over the past two seasons but bring back a solid nucleus from the Plainville High School team.
“The best thing I like about our Legion program over the past two years is the guys are a real close knit group,” said McCarthy. “I think all of these guys are more than ready to take a step forward this season.”
Brady Callahan was a productive bat in the Blue Devils lineup this spring and will be a leader in the outfield for Post 33 at center and left. Juan Camacho turned into a real versatile defensive catcher for the high school team and really came into his own at the plate. He will be behind the plate and play third base for Post 33.
“We are looking to Brady to be a leader in the field and in the batting order,” said McCarthy. “He is a hard worker and a good influence on the team.”
Nate Michalek was one of the top two pitchers with the Blue Devils and is coming back from a standout season last year for Post 33. Tyler Mandeville worked himself into a steady role on the high school staff and will be looked on to take on a bigger role with the Legion team.
“Nate had such a great season for us last year,” said McCarthy. “He will be our leader on the mound and we are looking for him to take the next step.”
Post 33 will also have two other Blue Devil players in pitcher-first baseman Alec Karol and pitcher-outfielder Ryan Snyder.
“We are still finalizing the roster and seeing who will fill in the different roles,” said McCarthy. “There will be a few more practices before we get the season underway on Friday.”
Post 33 will begin the season on Friday at 5:45 p.m. against Winsted Post 43 at Walker Field. Plainville will then take on Zone 1 back-to-back champion Avon Post 201 at Trumbull Park for a 1 p.m. Sunday showdown.