By KEN MORSE
The Plainville baseball team struggled out of the gate standing at 1-4 two weeks into the season. The Blue Devils used the experience and camaraderie from a group of eight seniors to build a team chemistry that carried them back to prominence.
“To start the way we did and finish where we ended up was a testament to the chemistry that this team built through the season,” said Plainville head coach Lou Mandeville. “I can’t say enough about what this group of seniors brought to the team. They were very unselfish and very supportive of the team as a whole. They played a huge part in having a successful season.”
Led by senior captains and All-Conference outfielders Brady Callahan at .389, 17 runs scored an 8 RBI and Tyler St. Onge who led the team in all four categories .419, 26 hits, 15 RBI and 21 runs scored the Blue Devils began to hit their stride winning 10 of 11 games.
St. Onge was also named to the Class M All-State team and will go on to play baseball in the fall at Inspiration Baseball Academy in Florida.
Senior catcher Juan Camacho threw out 9 base runners from behind the plate and drove in 13 runs with his bat scoring 9 times to aid the offensive output. Seniors Riley Millete 6 runs along with Tyler Davis and Tyler Miller also scoring runs the Blue Devils offense thrived.
Senior pitchers Ryan Snyder 1-0 with 3 saves and a 2.56 ERA along with Alec Karal with 3 games pitched after coming back from an injury put the Blue Devils on target to get back in the state tournament.
“We put together a fantastic run winning 10 of 11 and it really showed the ability of this team,” said Mandeville. “It was a real fun part of the season and it was great to watch them enjoy that kind of success.”
Plainville 12-8 ranked 12th ran into a hot hitting Lewis Mills team ranked 21st at 9-11 in the opening round of the Class M state tournament and saw their season come to an end following a 12-4 loss.
Two first inning errors opened the door to a five run uprising giving the Spartans the early lead. Plainville wasted no time getting back into it with Callahan, Tyler Bonney and St. Onge belting singles and coming around to score on a two run single from Mason Sarra cutting the deficit at 5-3.
“We got a call that could have gone either way in that first inning,” said Mandeville. “But I have to give Lewis Mills credit they really hit the ball.”
Alex Grabowski (1.27 ERA) took the hill in relief of Nate Johnson (3-4 on the season) and shutdown the Spartans going four and a third allowing just two hits and surrendering a run.
That gave the Blue Devils a fighting chance and it was a 7-4 game heading into the final inning. A couple of more miscues in the field hampered the efforts as Lewis Mills put the game away with another five run outburst.
Plainville will not return next year empty handed even with eight seniors graduating. They do return four starting pitchers in juniors Johnson and Grabowski along with Tyler Dufour (2-2 in 25 innings) and Tyler Mandeville (1-3 in 18 innings).
“We are losing eight seniors but we are excited about the kids we have coming back,” said Mandeville. “We definitely have a solid group to build with and have another successful year.”
Leading the way in the batting order will be All-Conference shortstop-pitcher sophomore Alec Couture (4-0 in 13 innings) and a .339 clip on 21 hits, 11 RBI and 8 runs scored.
Junior Mason Sarra also worked out of the bullpen in four games and put up a productive 12 runs and 7 RBI stat line at the plate. Mandeville hit at a .275 clip with 6 runs and 9 RBI along with junior Wyatt Lacombe 7 runs and 9 RBI.
Juniors Christian Collin, Louis Passaretti and Brady Beausoleil will be in the mix along with first-year starters sophomore Tyler Bonney .353, 15 runs, 7 RBI and freshman Brennan Staubley .324, 8 runs, 9 RBI.
NEXT WEEK—We will take a final look at the girls softball season. On May 29, the Blue Devils lost, 8-0, to Notre Dame-Fairfield in a first round road contest in the Class M tournament.