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GHS baseball team primed to face the challenges of facing its ultra-competitive FCIAC foes

From left to right: Michael Bocchino, Wyatt Gibson and Nathan Jones are senior captains of the Greenwich High School varsity baseball team. The Cardinals opened their season on April 3 against Notre Dame-West Haven. Photo by David Fierro

By David Fierro

The 2023 season began April 3 for Greenwich High School’s baseball team, which has the components in place to make its mark in the ultra-competitive FCIAC and reestablish itself as a contender in the state tournament.

“We always have lofty goals,” said Greenwich coach Adrian Arango, who is starting his fourth season at the helm of the varsity team. “We have a tradition here the way I see it. Qualify for FCIACs, qualify for states and expect to make deep runs – those are among some of our goals.”

After registering an impressive 19-5 record, while advancing to the championship game of the FCIAC Tournament and the Class LL Tournament semifinals in 2021, the Cardinals finished with a 9-12 mark (9-11 regular season) in 2022, though their record was a bit deceiving.

Greenwich lost three one-run games and was defeated by two runs four times, so close defeats was an issue for the squad last spring, an area it would, obviously like to improve upon this year.

“It was a good season, but I know we didn’t reach the goals that we wanted to,” Arango said of last season. “Our record did not indicate what we could have done and we lost 13 or 14 great seniors from last year.”

Greenwich opens its season on the road against Notre Dame-West Haven today at 3:45 p.m. The Cardinals’ 2023 captains are seniors Michael Bocchino, Wyatt Gibson and Nathan Jones. The trio are filling the leadership roles vacated by 2022 captains Tyler Cusimano, Tommy Healey, Ryan Perez and Justin Zych.

“I think we have a lot of potential,” Jones said. “We have a lot of returning talent and a lot of new guys ready to step up. I’m excited to see how they fill their new roles.”

A pitcher and second baseman, Jones will be looked upon to help anchor the Cards’ pitching staff, a role he has fulfilled in previous seasons. Jones earned All-FCIAC West Team honors a season ago.

“Pitching across the FCIAC and state is super deep, so I think we have a real good shot to keep our opponents to low scoring games,” Jones said. “We just need our offense to do the trick.”

Junior right-hander Troy Goodwin, Tommy Passamano, a junior right-hander and Gibson, will be among the athletes pacing the Cardinals’ starting pitching rotation.

“I really like our pitching staff this year, I feel like we have a lot of depth,” Gibson noted. “With Nathan leading the way, he’s been an All-FCIAC pitcher the last two years, I’m really excited for the season.”

Senior Owen Lanzarone, junior John Junius and senior Tyler Senft should also help solidify the GHS pitching staff.

“We all want to throw strikes, strikes are key in this league,” Gibson said. “And, we have to limit our walks.”

Catching is Cody Baker, a junior, who could spark the squad’s lineup and from behind the plate. Bocchino is also a catcher and will see plenty of time in the outfield.

Bocchino produced several key hits last season, one of which was a game-winning, walk-off hit in Greenwich’s season-opener against Newtown.

“I think we can make some noise,” Bocchino said of the team’s prospects. “This year, we have the talent to make some noise and make a run. Our offense last year was definitely a struggle for us, so this year improving our offense is going to be our main goal. We’ve been putting in the work.”

John McHugh, a junior, is a first baseman, who will be looked upon to help bolster the lineup. Passamano will also see action at first base, while T.J. Messina, a senior and Jones will each play second base and Goodwin will bring his glove to third and second base.

Senior Sam Manos is a shortstop and junior Gavyn Gennarelli and senior Teddy Flinn are also among some of the Cards’ infielders.

“We don’t have a lot of experience,” Arango noted. “We are not young in age, but we are young in playing at this level. They want to show what they got and win spots.”

Gibson is slated to play center field when he doesn’t pitch and Andrew Walko (senior), Miles Trager (senior), Nick D’Andrea (sophomore), Tyler Senft (senior) and Alex Palmer (senior) are outfielders. Juniors Brandon Boone and Michael Orrico are juniors joining the varsity squad.

The Cardinals know they have to perform at a high level each game and be focused to successfully compete in the FCIAC, which is regarded as one of the strongest baseball conferences in the state.

“The FCIAC is a monster – it’s fun,” Arango said. “For a high school coach to be able to coach at the level of baseball being played at this part of the country, it’s great. This is good baseball, we have good baseball players here. Every game is going to be a battle and the kids know that. An easy part of the schedule doesn’t exist and the kids are embracing the challenge.”

Greenwich’s home-opener is tomorrow (April 4) against rival Staples.

“We have a great group of guys and I think we’re going to make some noise,” Gibson said. “We have a lot of potential and we’re ready to go. Last year, we kind of struggled on the offensive side of the ball. If we hit our potential is limitless.”

“Like any year, our goals consist of winning the FCIAC and state tourney,” Jones said. “On a personal side, I want to go for my third All-FCIAC and give the team a chance to win every time I’m on the mound.”

UPDATE: GHS lost their first two games on April 3 and April 4. Their next game is set for April 11 against Xavier, Middletown giving them a chance to regroup.

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