New coach, young team for Griswold JV baseball

By Janice Steinhagen - Staff Writer
Griswold - posted Tue., Apr. 19, 2011
Shortstop Ryan Lewicki fields a grounder at Wolverine JV baseball practice. Photos by Janice Steinhagen.
Shortstop Ryan Lewicki fields a grounder at Wolverine JV baseball practice. Photos by Janice Steinhagen.

It’s all new on the Griswold High School junior varsity baseball team this year. Head coach Rob Morano is new at the helm this year, and four-fifths of his team members are freshmen.

But his players aren’t neophytes, by any means. Many of them have played Little League and youth baseball together for 10 years or more. “The tier system in Griswold has really provided an excellent freshman class this year,” Morano said. “I do feel we have a legitimate shot to impact some of the bigger schools.”

Morano had two weeks’ practice with his team before a medical issue sidelined him. He rejoined his team this week, for their game at Norwich Free Academy on Tuesday. But even in his abbreviated introduction, “I had an opportunity to see our talent base,” he said.

“Definitely our strength is offense,” said Morano. “From top to bottom, every kid is capable of hitting.” The fielding could use a little work, he said. “That’s my job, to develop that as the year goes on.”

On his pitching staff, Morano counts freshmen Jesus Garcia and Harrison Bernard, a left-hander, as “the two most reliable arms we have.” When not on the mound, Garcia plays shortstop and Bernard works right and center field. The pitching staff is rounded out by sophomore Ryan Lewicki and freshman Bill Mossberg.

Apart from his involuntary hiatus from practice, Morano has had the usual early-season coaching trials to contend with. “At the start of the year the kids are not really stretched out,” he said. Weather is always an issue, along with practice time. “We’re really restricted with field time, because we do share the field with the varsity team.”

He sees his task as “to get them ready to play [varsity] with Coach [Chip] Rourke. If we can steal a few wins along the way, that’s just gravy.”

 

Coach’s Corner:

Griswold High School Junior Varsity Baseball Coach Rob Morano

First year as head coach.

For the past four years, Morano has served as now-retired varsity GHS coach Kevin Trahan’s assistant. He had to take a hiatus for medical reasons two weeks into the season, but with help from Trahan and assistant JV coach Chris Olszewski, his team is geared up to play out the rest of the season under his leadership.

 

Players to Watch:

Jesus Garcia - Freshman pitcher/shortstop.

Garcia, who’s hitting .363, is the second batter in the JV lineup. Morano calls him "the one really quality starter we have." He’s played baseball for at least a decade, like many of his teammates.

 

Harrison Bernard - Freshman pitcher/outfielder

Bernard, who pitches left-handed and also plays outfield, is also a stellar batter and “an all-around great player,” said assistant JV coach Chris Olszewski. "He's really developing a quality arm," added Morano.

 


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