Baseball team on deck for start of season

Charlie Sachs comes home to score and is high-fived by Matt Mahan. Photo by Spenser Hasak

LYNN — The baseball regular season is almost here. Marblehead and St. Mary’s (Lynn) met on a cold Monday evening at Fraser Field to get a scrimmage in ahead of Opening Day.

Both head coaches, Mike Giardi (Marblehead) and Derek Dana (St. Mary’s), believed the scrimmage was beneficial to get a look at live pitching and competition.

“It’s good to compete against another team. Getting on the field, seeing some base runners and seeing who wants to be here to compete,” said Dana, whose Spartans reached the Final 4 of the division last spring. 

“We learned some things,” Giardi said. “Just seeing live pitching is good for the guys and we saw some things we liked from players – and things we need to work on.”

Giardi stated that he couldn’t turn down the opportunity to play St. Mary’s, that was, once his old teammate gave him a phone call. 

“Derek and I have known each other for years. We played with each other on a summer league team back in college,” Giardi said. “He said he could get Fraser Field for a scrimmage and even though it’s cold out, we have to get our work in.” 

The scrimmage saw both teams rotate players to help coaches determine everyone’s best position. 

The Spartans are coming off a great playoff run. This year, however, Dana said the team is starting at “square one” after losing a few key players.

Although, some of that tournament experience returns, too.

“We’ve got a lot of kids coming back. They’re young in age, but they were around last season and have state tournament experience,” Dana said. “Last year’s team is gone. We are starting back at square one. We’ve got to get everyone back up to speed, but we have a couple more weeks to do that.”

Fourteen returners, to be exact.

“We have Michael DeMaino at shortstop, Shea Newhall at first, and Jaiden Driscoll at second base,” Dana said. “On the mound, we have Josh Doney and Jake Peterson. We’re expecting junior Jack Zimmerman to be in the mix along with sophomore Brady Crawford.”

For the Magicians, hitting will be the key for them this spring. 

“We’ve got a lot of athletes, so we just need to find spots for them. Our biggest thing is, who’s going to hit? If you can hit, you can crack the lineup. If you crack the lineup, it’s going to be big for us,” Giardi said. “We have some guys who are a little raw and a couple of guys we haven’t seen much yet, but we’ll get there.” 

Marblehead lost some solid pitchers in Drew Whitman and Ian Maude, but Giardi is hopeful others will step up. 

“Last year, Whitman was good for us and pitched well for us. Ian Maude, also, was on the mound and chewed up a lot of innings for us, which was huge,” Giardi said. “(Chris) Cannuscio did a great job last year for us, and, this year, we’re expecting big things from him. He started today and did a really nice job.” 

Giardi also highlighted Brooks Keefe and Bodie Bartram as players he expects to step up. 

“Brooks Keefe has been kind of all over the place for us. We had him at shortstop, we had him at third, and the outfield,” Giardi said. “The same thing with Bodie Bartram – he’ll be everywhere. Bodie is going to be a solid player with us. Jacob Scogland played a little bit of first and third. Hopefully, we’ll find a good mix for everyone.” 

  • Mark Aboyoun is a New Jersey born sports writer at The Daily Item. Aboyoun is a graduate of Saint Joseph's University '18 and went on to earn his Juris Doctor at Western New England School of Law in 2021.