Coventry baseball team looking to build on youthful season
COVENTRY — Going into the season, Coventry High School baseball head coach Wilmer Caraballo said he knew 2014 would be a tough one for a young team in the difficult Portage Trail Conference.
“Being too young — in a league filled with teams with a lot of juniors and seniors — was pretty tough for us this year,” he said. “A lot of things didn’t fall in place. The weather didn’t help us a lot. We were trying to get the younger kids a lot of work in on defense, and we didn’t get to practice a lot outside. That hurt us a bit. We made 110 errors, and if you play 25 games and you average more than four errors a game, it’s impossible to win. And that’s especially true when you only score 84 runs all year.”
This year’s squad featured only one senior, Devin Elekes, but Caraballo said the third baseman had an “outstanding season.”
“He was first-team all league and he hit .377 with a home run, seven doubles and 24 RBIs,” the coach said. “I mean, he had a really good year. Devin was our most valuable player this year. It’s going to be hard to replace him.”
The team’s most improved player this season, Caraballo said, was sophomore catcher Aric Roberts.
“We didn’t know what to expect from Aric, and he was a big surprise for us,” the coach said. “He hit .360 and he did a good job behind the plate. He threw 12 runners out at second base out of 42 chances. He is one of those guys that has unbelievable hand-eye coordination. It’s unreal what we saw this year from him.”
The team’s strength this year, Caraballo said, was its pitching.
“Our top pitcher was sophomore Nick Cortel. He won the only two games we won all year. He was 2-5 with a 4.60 ERA. All he throws are fastballs, but he threw the ball very well,” the coach said. “We’re working with him on adding a breaking pitch, and if he can figure that out by the end of the summer, I think he will be a great pitcher for us next year.”
According to Caraballo, sophomore Dominic Pegley is a player who should have received more attention for the season he had.
“It was hard for me to see him not make second-team all league,” the coach said. “The kid hit .372 with 24 stolen bases, two home runs, 18 RBIs and 17 runs scored. And in the outfield, he only made one error all year. He had a great season, and I really wanted to see him honored by the league.”
Overall, Coventry finished with a 2-23 record, but Caraballo said the team can build upon the experience gained by all of the young players this season. In fact, the coach said he is already looking forward to seeing what other up-and-coming players have to offer the program.
“Every school has 10 days to work with the kids in the summertime,” he said. “I want to use some of those days to bring some of the kids from the seventh- and eighth-grade up to the baseball field to see what we’ve got and go from there.”
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