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Milford Baseball Set For Another Spring

On Monday, the calendar turned to March 21, the first official day of spring. While the Milford area was greeted with snow showers, Milford high's baseball team went indoors for its first practice and try out of the season.
It's a season that head coach Steve Manguso hopes will continue the tradition of success for the program. "We have been in the tournament and in the district finals over the past six seasons, it's been a while since we've won one," he said. "We take it one game at a time, I'm cautiously optimistic."
Manguso lost a few starters from last year's team, which posted a 15-5 regular-season record and captured the Mid-Wach League title with an 11-1 mark. Ace left-hander Jack Murray and three-year starter Michael Spates headline the group of seniors who graduated last spring. Designated hitter Jeff Brown, shortstop Tommy O'Rourke, and infielder Jimmy Hayes were also lost to graduation.
Junior Jarrod Casey is expected to be the Scarlett Hawks top pitcher this season after emerging last year as a sophomore. His 2010 campaign was highlighted by a regular-season win over Wachusett, the team that ended up knocking Milford out of the district tournament and went on to capture the Central Mass championship. "Casey was a key for us last season," said Manguso. "He stepped in as the second guy and should be the ace this year."
Casey is not the only returning starter. Manguso expects Matt Gerard to be the center fielder, while Tim Hulyk should see time at third base as well as in the outfield. Junior Chris Casey is projected to be the starting shortstop and Matt Ferrelli is the likely starter at first base.
Milford's pitching staff should see contributions from JJ Branch, and Andy Baranowskis and Chris Manguso, Jimmy Malnati, and Ryan Sanchioni should all be in the mix when it comes to the starting lineup. Even with this depth, Milford expects a tough road when it comes to repeating as league champion.
"(The league) is always strong," said Manguso. "Leominster won 15 games last year, although we beat them twice, Shrewsbury and Wachusett are strong and Algonquin has won a title and got to another final recently, they are having a great run of good players. I feel our league is one of the best in the state."
The high school baseball season in Massachusetts is 20 games long, a far cry from the 162 played at the major-league level. The sprint like nature of the season is something Manguso sees as a challenge for his team.
"To me, baseball is not meant to be played for 20 games, it's a long haul sport," he said. "It can be a good thing or bad thing, sometimes kids get hot and can continue it over a 20 game season. But everyone is in the same boat, so we need attention to detail and to be ready to play every day."




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