BROCKTON, Mass. ---- The Massasoit baseball team is set to begin the 2018 campaign as the Warriors take their annual spring break trip, scheduled for eight games at the Cal Ripken Baseball Experience Complex in Myrtle Beach, S.C. from March 9-15.
NJCAA and Massasoit Hall of Fame head coach Tom Frizzell is back for his 28th season with the Warriors roster that boasts plenty of arms and experienced sophomores in the lineup. Frizzell will be assisted this season by Massasoit alums Ken Lalli and Greg Zackrison.
In total, Massasoit returns nine student-athletes from last season's squad that went 17-14 overall and 12-3 in league play as the Warriors open up the season vs Illinois Valley CC on Saturday at 6 PM.
Frizzell's pitching staff returns over 60 percent of its innings from a season ago with six arms back that threw double digit innings as freshmen. Leading the rotation will be southpaw Luke Lewando (Brockton). A two-way player, Lewando flourished on the mound in 2017, going 3-0 with a miniscule 1.29 ERA, striking out 20 and walking only six in 28 innings of work spanning over five appearances.
Standing at 6-foot-4, big right-hander Kasey Kirby (Dedham) is a front of the rotation pitcher back for the Warriors. After battling injuries during the first-half of the season, Kirby bounced back and finishing 3-2 with a 3.91 ERA and 25 punch outs in 23 innings.
Another returning righty with the most innings back from 2017 is John Tinker (Weymouth). Totaling 31.2 innings a year ago, Tinker went 3-2 with two complete games and tallied a 3.69 ERA.
Newcomers to the staff include freshmen righties Tyler Horton (New Bedford), James Sneyd (Scituate), Luke DiTondo (Marshfield), Nick Steele (Dartmouth), Bobby Belezos (Holbrook) and lefty Dylan Edes (Holbrook).
Andrews makes the shift over from third to short, and will be a middle of the order bat for the Warriors. Last season, Andrews hit .326 with three homers, nine extra-base hits, 20 RBI and 25 runs scored.
After a slow start, Ramirez ended up hitting .360, including a .449 batting average in the month of April, with nine extra-base hits, including two homers, 22 RBI and scoring 22 runs. Defensively, Ramirez was a rock, making only six errors and being a part of 17 double plays.
At the corners, returnee Preston Rankin is expected to start at third, with newcomer Dylan Edes (Holbrook) and Jon Tinker seeing time at first base. Noah Martin (Freetown) should provide depth up-the-middle and at third for the Warriors, as well.
Behind the dish, Ricky Sherlock (Whitman) is back for his second season with freshman Jonathan O'Donnell (Hull) is slated as the backup. Sherlock provided plenty of pop in the middle of the Warrior lineup, slugging a team-high five bombs and drawing a team-best 17 walks for a .449 on-base percentage.
When he is not pitching, Lewando will roam centerfield for Massasoit. The speedy leadoff man hit .359, leading the team in runs scored (37) and stolen bases (11). He also clubbed nine extra-base hits and knocked in 23.
Freshman Aiden O'Neill (Halifax) will handle duties in right field and move over to center when Lewando is pitching.
Others that will see time in the outfield include DiTondo, Bobby Belezos (Holbrook) and Martin.