Fresh bullpen, solid batting fuels Norwich Tech Warriors
By Janice Steinhagen - Staff Witer
Norwich - posted Tue., Apr. 26, 2011
Commencement 2010 was really tough on the Norwich Tech Warrior baseball team.
“Last year we lost four of our best players who'd helped build our program,” said Norwich Tech head baseball coach Anthony DiFilippo. The Class of 2010's record over their four years tells the tale: “Freshman year they won five games – last year [their senior year] they won 17.”
Adding to the losses from graduation, two veteran pitchers who still attend Norwich Tech failed to return to the team this season – one decided not to play, the other had surgery, said DiFilippo.
Freshman Eddie Santiago has “stepped in big-time” to help fill the gap, he said. Other new pitchers on the roster include Mike McKeon, Sam Blanchette and Lewis Camby.
“I think the guys pitching now don't have a lot of experience, but as the season goes along they'll get better and better,” DiFilippo said.
By contrast, Norwich Tech has a strong batting line-up, the coach said. “A couple of our guys are off to a good start, including Tyler Miner, Mike McKeon and Brian Rude” (who scored a three-run homer in April 20's game against Parish Hill). DiFilippo hopes that strong hitting by team leaders will rub off on the rest of the team. “When a couple of guys are doing well, the rest of them do well,” he said.
Longtime rivals Windham Tech and Cheney Tech should provide a challenge for the Warriors again this year, said DiFilippo. “They're good every single year, and when we play them it's a really important game,” he said. The Warriors also play three ECC schools this season: Killingly (whom they've already defeated), Tourtellotte and Wheeler.
Norwich Tech Head Baseball Coach Anthony DiFilippo
Number of years coaching: 4
Formerly JV baseball coach at Norwich Free Academy
The season ahead: “Our strength is in hitting and putting the ball in play,” said DiFilippo. The team demonstrated that skill in a big way April 20, with a 28-3 romp over Parish Hill's Pirates. “If we can keep at it, we should be pretty strong.”
Sports Spotlight: Players to Watch-
Tyler Miner, #17, Junior, Catcher: “Tyler bats third in our batting order. He does everything well,” said DiFilippo “He plays defense well and he's becoming a team leader.”
Mike McKeon, #5, Junior, Pitcher/Second Base: “Mike's off to a good start this year,” said DiFilippo. “He's batting almost .600 and he's hit seven doubles in the first six games. He's kind of our hot bat in the lineup.”