SWHS baseball team has strong senior leadership

By Felicia Whatley - Staff Writer
South Windsor - posted Wed., Apr. 18, 2012
This is the 2012 South Windsor varsity baseball team line up. Photos by Felicia Whatley.
This is the 2012 South Windsor varsity baseball team line up. Photos by Felicia Whatley.

A new South Windsor High School coach inherited a veteran varsity baseball team with strong leadership. Ten out of the 15 players are experienced seniors who have what it takes to win games.

“I am evaluating and getting to know the guys as we work to stay healthy,” said coach Jim Abbott. “Our strength is our senior leadership. I inherited this team. It is their team, not mine. I just need to get out of the way to let them be successful.” It is also Abbott’s first year teaching business at SWHS.

“We have a veteran team. Some of these kids have been playing together since they were 8 years old,” said assistant coach Bob Linnell. “They have a good chemistry and get along great. For goals this year, we want to win the CC North League and get a home state tournament game. We need to work on staying injury-free. We already had a few arm and elbow injuries. There are some hard teams to beat. I think our league is the best in the state. This is Linnell’s second year coaching the Bobcats.

The team has three senior team captains: star pitcher Brian Finnegan, catcher and third-year starter Derek Pike, and first baseman and second-to-bat Robbie Linnell.

Finnegan weighed in on this year’s team. “It's been really fun so far. We have a good group of kids. I will be roommates with Robbie next year at UConn. I have made a lot of friendships through the years. I have been on the varsity team three years and one year JV. I look forward to winning some more games,” he said.

Pike, playing the important but under-rated position of catcher, said, “We have a good, solid group, probably one of the most talented teams. I want us to get eight wins so we can make it into the playoffs and then make it past the first round in state so we have a chance to win the division. We just need to stay focused.”

One of their key hitters, Linnell, also works first base. “I bat second, so I guess I am a good hitter,” he said. “I like how there is no tension among us. We all get along. We have strong leadership.”

They all hope for a local state game with the opportunity to draw in a huge crowd at home.

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