Defending FCIAC champs prepare to reload
When a team loses more than three starters from the previous season, it's troubling.
The Staples baseball team didn't lose three, or even five. Staples bid adieu to eight starters.
Although the defending FCIAC champion Wreckers lost most of their starting lineup, they remain optimistic and believe they can win their fourth league title in five years.
"As [Staples] coach [Jack] McFarland continues to preach, the Staples baseball program is never rebuilding," senior outfielder Nick Kiedaisch said. "What we do is reload."
To reload, the Wreckers must look to many players who have never even started a varsity game because of the players in front of them. In addition to Gau, Staples will also miss shortstop Tyler Jacobs, center fielder Ben Lipper and first baseman Colin McCarthy, who are all playing collegiately. Left fielder Brendan Bernstein and All-State second baseman Mikey Scott are also missed.
Junior Bryan Terzian was last year's FCIAC tournament co-MVP and is the only returning starter from the every day lineup.
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Terzian batted .380 with 31 RBI and had three saves out of the bullpen. He moves from third base to first base.
Classmate Eli Andrew takes over as the starting third baseman.
Also returning is last year's No. 2 starter and this year's ace, senior captain righty Jimmy Kopack. Kopack was 7-1 with a 2.69 era last year.
"It's certainly no secret that we lost a ton of talent from last year, but this years team can definitely do some damage as well," Greenberg said. "Our senior class plays a very gritty, heads-up style of baseball."
Greenberg takes over at second base, a position Staples has recently thrived at. Greenberg was on the bench behind Scott. However, Scott saw little time during his junior year because of Jack Hennessey.
Sophomore Sam Ellinwood is this year's squad's youngest member and will be the starting shortstop. Ellinwood is already receiving high praise from his teammates.
"He's starting at shortstop as a sophomore, and yet he handles himself like a veteran player," Greenberg said. "I find myself learning from him just as much as he learns from me, even though I'm a senior."
For Ellinwood, the chance to get so much playing time is one he will not be quick to pass up.
"Being able to play on the Staples baseball team has always been a dream of mine, and now i have that opportunity as a sophomore, something that I never would have dreamed of," he said.
According to Kiedaisch, what this year's squad lacks in experience, it makes up for it with heart and countless hours of hard work that goes unseen. He said, "Our team has no weak link. Every position is stacked and ready to take on some of the best teams in the CIAC."
Greenberg, meanwhile, has his sights set on another ring for his finger.
"Like every year, our main goal is to win an FCIAC championship," said Greenberg. "To be honest, that is my only individual and team goal, and we are all willing to work as hard as necessary to achieve it."