Joel Levine’s connection to Greater Boston League baseball goes back to high school and there was plenty of success in those years.
The new Everett High School head baseball coach, Levine was a three-time GBL All-Star second baseman at Peabody High School in the early 2000s. Levine excelled for three GBL championship Peabody teams with his senior-year club regarded as one of the best in school history.
The Salem News voted Peabody’s 2-1 victory over rival St. John’s Prep (Danvers) in the State Tournament as one of the greatest games in North Shore history. Levine had a clutch basehit and scored Peabody’s game-tying run in the eighth inning. Future Major League first-round draft pick Jeff Allison stole home for the second run in the top of the ninth inning and then pitched the bottom of the inning to claim the victory.
Levine also played on a Peabody Babe Ruth team that won the Babe Ruth 14-Year-old World Series, his second of three straight appearances in the national tournament.
His debut as head coach
Levine, who has served as an EHS assistant coach on Joe Lento’s staff for the past seven seasons, is set to lead his first official practice on May 4, but that date depends on Gov. Charlie Baker’s decision about re-opening the schools in respect to the ongoing COVID-19 global pandemic.
“I worked some summers as a coach at a baseball skills camp at St. John’s Prep,” said Levine, noting that the camp was run by his grandfather and uncle, John Barbati and Mike Barbati. “Joe Lento Jr. gave me the opportunity to coach in Everett and it was great.”
Levine, 35, had been directing his players through pre-seasons indoor workouts before the school was closed due to the current crisis.
“We were ready for tryouts and ready to begin practice and begin practice and then all this happened,” said Levine, who teaches physical education at the school.
Though the team has only two returning seniors and is relatively inexperienced at the varsity level, Levin said a run at a State Tournament berth is a possibility.
“It will be a lot of learning and lot of coaching this year,” said Levine.
He is happy to be in the thick of GBL competiton. “Back then it’s a really strong league,” said Levine. “I’m just familiar with all those fields, Trum Field in Somerville, Playstead in Medford, and Pine Banks IN Malden – we played on the old dirt field back in 2003 and now they have a new field. It’s familiar territory and the bus rides aren’t too long.”
Levine has reached out to Everett Little League coach Oscar Vega and visited schools to create interest in the program.
“We got a waiver for seventh and eighth graders to try out for the freshman baseball team and we have 40-50 kids to sign up for tryouts,” said Levine. “We have varsity, junior varsity, and freshman teams.”
Levin has selected his assistant coaching staff. Steve Gallagher returns as an assistant varsity coach. Chris Miller is the JV coach while Mike Minucci is the freshman coach. “I look forward to leading the team on to the field whenever that time might be,” said a hopeful Levine.