Boys' baseball teams finds commonality, motivation

By Felicia Whatley - Staff Writer
Bolton - posted Fri., May. 4, 2012
Bolton High School baseball coach Greg Gunn and Tomas Cassello train in the batting cage. Photos by Felicia Whatley.
Bolton High School baseball coach Greg Gunn and Tomas Cassello train in the batting cage. Photos by Felicia Whatley.

The members of the Bolton High School baseball team find commonality in their love of the sport, their coaches and even their birthdays. Four of the players were born on June 4, and coach Greg Gunn was born on June 5. What drives them is their love of the sport and the camaraderie with one another.

“A goal at the beginning of the season was to make the state tournament. I feel like this is a team that is capable of getting eight wins. They play good baseball," said Gunn. "The last game went 12 innings. They lost at the bottom of the 12th.”

Bolton High School's baseball team is recognized for its solid leadership and a very enthusiastic head coach. Gunn said, “We have good senior leadership and four starters that were starters all four years on the team. They are Liam Christ, Thomas Cassello, Sam Marshall and Max Pagan. Our baseball players are fundamentally sound, but they are not only good baseball players, but good students that lead by example.”

Senior Max Pagan plays catcher. “These are my best friends here. I have been playing baseball for as long as I can remember. I will be heading to High Point University in North Carolina to study business in the fall. I will maybe play intramural baseball at the school,” he said.

Senior Liam Christ reminisced about the time he spent playing baseball with BHS's team. “It has been so much fun. I really enjoy playing the game. I pitch and play shortstop. I will be going to Clemson soon and may play a little in college, too,” said Christ.

First baseman and outfielder senior Sam Marshall likes this year's team the best. “This is my favorite team. I have had the most fun this year. We can do a lot of damage in our league. I always loved baseball since I was a little kid. I like that we cheer each other on and the coaches know what they are talking about,” said Marshall. He will be attending UConn in the fall and wants to play on Gunn's men's softball team.

Tomas Cassello, also a senior, plays first base and outfield. He admits he is a big Mets fan. “I like everything about baseball. I grew up watching it on TV. Coach Gunn has had a big impact on me. We work hard in school and stay on the right path,” he said. “We have been having a good year with a solid line-up. Every kid here is a good player. I wouldn't want to play on any other team. I will be going to South Connecticut University and I do want to try out for the school baseball team in the spring,” said Cassello.

Junior short stop Matt Zawislinski says it is all about enjoying the game. “Playing for Bolton and working with these coaches is a lot of fun. I have been playing baseball my whole life and these are the guys I grew up with. I would like to continue to play in college and later in life,” he said.

Junior Jason Maulucci plays second base and likes the small team, small school atmosphere Bolton has to offer. “It's fantastic having such a small team. We have positive and constructive baseball coaches. We can go to them for advice if we have problems in school or life. There is great chemistry on this team; we know what each other's moves are and where the ball is going,” said Maulucci. He is the president of Future Business Leaders of America, Latin Club, VP for the junior class and on the Student Council.

“Both of those juniors, Matt and Jason, are honor students and they are a couple of my favorite players since I have been coaching here," said Gunn. "Rob Munroe is another example of what we strive for - good baseball and top tier academics.”

“Academics is my main focus," said Monroe. "I am in the top 10 percent in my class. I want to go to either Georgetown University or the University of Maryland at College Park. It is important to balance academics and baseball. Coach says school comes first. He fostered a love for the game in this community, and the talent surpasses many other towns. We have the capability to be a top team in the state,” he said. Monroe is involved with 15 extracurricular activities including National Honors Society, Spanish and Latin clubs. He is one of the few students to learn two languages at Bolton High School.

Junior Michael Strasser is a pitcher and plays outfield. “I grew up playing baseball and play it every chance I get. Everyone on the team motivates one another,” he said.

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