“Rain, rain, — and cold, wind, and snow — go away…” has been the common refrain of coaches and athletes thus far in the spring sports season of 2017.
For the Everett High baseball team, the unseasonably unspring-like weather (even by the low standards for us hardy Eastern Massachusetts natives) has meant no pre-season scrimmages and a dearth of outdoor practice sessions.
“It’s been a difficult spring for us,” said EHS head coach Joe Lento. “However, one fortunate aspect for us is that we have a lot of returning players who have been with the program for two or three years, so we know what we have and what to expect.”
Lento and his crew enjoyed a successful 11-9 record in 2016 and captured the Greater Boston League championship, a milestone in more ways than one because it now stands as the last GBL title of all time.
The four last-standing schools — Everett, Malden, Medford, and Somerville — of the once-glorious GBL will merge with the Northeastern Conference starting this spring. The EHS baseball team will play all 15 of its NEC rivals once in the inaugural season of the enlarged NEC.
“There are a lot of good teams in the NEC and we’re looking forward to the challenge of playing in a new conference,” said Lento. “We’ve regularly played many of the NEC teams over the years for our non-league games when we were with the GBL, so we will know what to expect in terms of competitiveness. We know we’ll have to be ready to play every game, because there are no off-days in the NEC.”
Among the key returnees for the Crimson Tide are the GBL Player of the Year, junior Jalil Marinez, one of the Crimson Tide’s top two pitchers who does double-duty as an outstanding center fielder. He also is Everett’s lead-off man, a role he plays to perfection as the most annoying — and most dangerous — Everett player on the basepaths for the Crimson Tide’s opponents.
Fellow junior hurler Jason Hennessey also returns on the mound, providing Lento with as solid a 1-2 pitching duo as any in the area.
Senior catcher Evan Reynolds will provide solid experience behind the plate. First baseman Monty Mack, second baseman Bryan Bessler, shortstop Marc Faia (who also will see a lot of duty on the mound), and third baseman/pitcher/outfielder Chris Bouche round out a talented and veteran infield.
Lento and his crew are set to open the season Monday at Saugus and then will host Gloucester next Wednesday — subject of course, to the whims of Mother Nature.