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Injuries helped derail season for Coventry baseball team

6/13/2013 - South Side Leader
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By Sean Patrick

COVENTRY — Coventry High School baseball head coach Wilmer Caraballo said key injuries to the team’s top pitcher and one of its top hitters proved hard to overcome for the team this season.

The Comets finished 10-19 overall and 3-11 in the Suburban League.

“I expected to be over .500 and I also expected to be a contender for the league,” Caraballo said. “But when you get two of your top players hurt, it’s tough.”

According to the coach, Vince Woicehovich and Jake Mazak both finished with solid careers for Coventry, but suffered though injury-plagued senior seasons.

“Vince played four years for us — three of them in varsity — and in the previous two years he hit .325, .330. But this year, because he was injured, he only hit like .280 and his power numbers were down. But he is a very good first baseman, and he did the best he could with his injury this year,” Caraballo said. “Last year, Mazak hit .359, was named second-team (all-Suburban League), but this year he only hit like .279. As a pitcher, he won his first three games, but then he got hurt.”

Two senior outfielders who played key roles for Coventry this season were Andrew Agner and Nick Cerpak.

“Andrew hit around .280 and he has some speed. He played well in the outfield for us. He scored a lot of runs,” the coach said. “Nick played on the junior varsity team as a freshman, but he stopped playing baseball for his sophomore and junior years. This year, he came out and he made the team. He pitched a little bit and he also played outfield. He ended up hitting .305. He did well for us, especially with only playing one year of varsity baseball.”

The team’s leading hitter this season, Caraballo said, was junior Devin Elekes.

“He had a great season. I think he’s a player who is going to end up playing college ball. He’s a good shortstop, but I think his best position will end up being third base or second base,” the coach said. “He has some power and he makes good contact.”

According to Caraballo, the biggest surprise this season was senior Matt Ketler.

“He played for us last year and didn’t pitch that much,” the coach said. “But this year, he went 3-5 and his ERA was .275. In the five games he lost, we didn’t score more than two runs per game. It was pretty sad that he lost those games, because I think he should have won seven or eight games this year for us.”

Caraballo said generating offense ended up being a season-long concern.

“It was a down year for us on offense,” he said. “I thought we were going to hit around .300 this year. We worked on a lot of things in the offseason on hitting, but we only ended up at around .245 or .250. That led to us losing a lot of tough games — especially in the middle of the season, where we lost a lot of games by one or two runs.”

This year’s team lost nine seniors to graduation.

“It’s going to be tough next season. We’re going to start to rebuild again next season,” he stated. “I told all of the [returning] kids that they’re going to need to play baseball in the offseason.”

One player Caraballo said he is eager to watch as he continues to improve is sophomore catcher Jimmy Farkas.

“When we started this year, he had trouble throwing the ball to second base. But we worked with him and he ended up, from the middle of the season to the end, throwing out something like 10 out of 15 runners,” the coach said. “He’s a left-handed hitter and I’m telling you, you’re going to hear from him in his junior and senior years. He hit like .305 this past year. He’s one of those kids who loves baseball, and I know he’ll really work on his game.”

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