Gloucester: 2013 Baseball
Season accolades: Northeastern Conference South Champions... Tied for most single season wins in program history... Division 2 North Finalists... NEC South MVP Peter Clark... NEC South Coach of the Year Bryan Lafata.
The skinny: Bryan Lafata's first year as head coach ended up being a memorable one as the Fishermen were an absolute juggernaut and ended up finishing two wins shy of a state title. Gloucester's recipe for success a combination of rock solid pitching and one of the most powerful batting lineups the program has seen during its recent run of success. No fence was too deep for Gloucester's power as it could hit home runs in bunches. Gloucester rolled to the NEC South championship and turned in the best record in the entire NEC and entered the state tournament as the top seed in Division 2 North with a record of 18-2. Gloucester got a game from upset minded, No. 9 seed Belmont in the quarterfinals, but walked off with a 2-1 win on a pinch-hit base knock from Tyler Favaloro. Gloucester then took care of North Andover in the semifinals before falling to eventual state champ Masconomet in the Division 2 North Finals, 5-1.
On the field, Gloucester was led by conference MVP Peter Clark, who was not only the team's staff ace but its top run producer in the middle of the batting order. Clark was dominant in every facet of the game and led a team that is known for the long ball in homers. Senior catcher Jordan Pallazola, another big time power bat, was a first team All Conference selection for his work at the plate and in the field. Senior Curtis Quinn was an All-Star selection as he was Gloucester's table setter at the top of the batting order and possessed a slick glove at shortstop. Senior Drew Shairs, a first baseman, was a lefty power bat and a NEC All-Star. Senior Conor Harris got an All-Star nod as he was the team's No. 2 pitcher and a reliable bat. Junior Bart Margiotta was also a conference All-Star as he also brought some serious pop to the middle of the Gloucester batting order.
Rockport: 2017 Baseball
Season accolades: Deepest tournament run for program in the decade... Most wins for program in the decade... Cape Ann League Baker MVP Danny Ryan... CAL Baker Coach of the Year John Parisi.
The skinny: Whenever head coach John Parisi has a senior laden squad, it is usually a serious contender in the Cape Ann League and in Division 4 North. The 2017 team was just another example of that. A talented and experienced Vikings squad had players all over the lineup with three and even four previous years of varsity experience and that experience paid serious dividends as the team turned in its highest win total and matched its deepest postseason run of the decade. The team finished 11-7 in the regular season and earned the No. 5 seed in Division 4 North highlighted by impressive wins over Masconomet, Triton, Pentucket, North Reading and Hamilton-Wenham. In the postseason, Rockport pounded on Matignon in the opening round and then got past a scrappy New Mission team, 6-1 in the quarters. That set up a showdown with Manchester Essex in the semifinals, and while the Vikings took an early lead, the Hornets came away with a 6-3 win in a contest that could have gone either way.
Senior captain and current Northeastern University right handed pitcher Danny Ryan led the Vikings as he was the CAL Baker MVP. Not only was he a dominant, heavy arm on the hill, he was Rockport's leadig hitter and run producers. Rockport also had a deep rotation behind Ryan with seniors Ethan Tanson, a righty who pounded the strike zone, and James Parisi, a lefty with a tricky curve. Both were also elite bats in the middle of the lineup and Cape Ann League All-Star selections. Sean Cloherty, Brett Bouchie and Jameson Kamm were all key bats and brought speed to the base paths. Shortstop Hadden Roller was a defensive standout.
Manchester Essex: 2019 Baseball
Season accolades: Division 4 State champs... Most successful season in program history... Cape Ann League Baker Division Player of the Year Harry Painter... CAL Baker Coach of the Year BJ Weed.
The skinny: This past spring, head coach BJ Weed and company turned in the most successful season in Manchester Essex baseball history by bringing home the Division 4 State championships, the program's first ever state crown. As is the case with most state champs, the 2019 Hornets did not have any weaknesses and that balance between elite pitching, elite hitting and elite defense won out over every other Division 4 program in the state. The road to the state title was no easy one as the team really earned its state title. The Hornets were second in the Cape Ann League and earned the No. 3 seed in the section at 15-5. It turned out that they had to play their toughest opponents right off the bat and they survived a 4-2 win over Lowell Catholic and a 3-2 win over Snowden to reach the sectional final, where they buried Boston English, 16-0 to capture the program's first ever sectional championship. A win over St. John Paul the second got Manchester Essex into the Division 4 State Finals, where it took out Central Mass. champ Tahanto, 5-2 to clinch the state title.
On the field, a loaded Hornets roster was led by senior captain Harry Painter. The CAL Baker MVP and UMass Lowell bound pitcher was dominant on the mound one year removed from an elbow injury. But he may have been even better at the dish, hitting .544 with seven home runs. Senior Dylan Wilson was an All League selection for his work on the mound and at the plate. Wilson was the team's No. 2 starter in the regular season and carved out an important role out of the bullpen late in the tournament. Senior shortstop Bennett O'Leary was second on the team in hitting and a first team All CAL selection. Senior outfielder Luke Leavitt was a CAL All-Star and a table setter at the top of the order while junior catcher Mike Quill was also a CAL All-Star and key run producer. Freshman Kellen Heney earned the win on the mound in the state title game.