E.O. Smith hopes to continue their momentum
By Melanie Savage -Staff Writer
Region - posted Tue., Apr. 5, 2011
This is the first time that the seniors on the E.O. Smith baseball team will have the same coach for two years in a row. "We've had a new coach every year until this year," said senior pitcher Dave Keplesky. The players are hoping that head coach Nick Wheelock will settle in and stay for awhile. "He's the best coach we've had, in my opinion," said Keplesky. "You can see the work he's done in terms of our record."
Last year, it had been five years since the Panthers made it to post season. "Last year, our goal was to come together as a better team," said Wheelock. The result of a lot of hard work and focus was an 8-12 record, which earned the Panthers a spot in the state tourney. Unfortunately, the number 29-seeded Panthers were paired against number four RHAM for the first round, and were knocked out of the tourney. But Wheelock has high hopes for 2011. "We've set our goal really high this year," he said, "and that's to win a state championship." The goal to success will be to keep up their energy level. "If we keep our energy level up, I think we'll be successful," said Wheelock. The team will also need to work on hitting.
At their second scrimmage of the season, against Bolton, the Panthers were still learning about their offensive capabilities. "We haven't had a lot of opportunities to face live pitchers yet," said junior Alex LeFevre. "Hopefully, with being outside more and having the opportunity to face pitchers, the hitting will come naturally."
"The kids are putting in the work," said Wheelock, "so eventually it will come."
Alex LeFevre, Dave Keplesky and Ryan Ouimette are all returning starters, and the leaders of this year's E.O. Smith varsity baseball team. Keplesky is a senior co-captain, and will be the starting pitcher for the Panthers. He also plays first base.
Ouimette is also a senior co-captain, and plays short stop for the team.
LeFevre is a junior, and is the team's catcher. "He's a very strong catcher," said head coach Nick Wheelock.
There are three promising freshmen who will most likely be moving up from JV as the season progresses. Cody Kozin is a pitcher, Hunter Hamlin plays third base, and Mark Tamosa is a second-baseman. "They are going to have to work their way up," said Wheelock.
This is Nick Wheelock's second year as head coach of the E.O. Smith varsity baseball team. He said that he plans to follow in the footsteps of his dad, Art, who has been the head coach in Rockville for 38 years. "I'd like to really become involved with the community," said Wheelock. "It runs in the family, the loyalty to a team. I would like to see the program become one of the top programs in the state."