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Beavers Strength Comes From Depth

First-year head coach Anthony Leonelli had at least one word to describe his first day on the job at Valley Tech. "Overwhelming," he said. "We were in the gym for the first day and there were 60 kids that I had never seen before. It was a little daunting but the kids got right down to work and the ones that love to play really separated themselves right away."
Headed into the season, the Beavers will look to draw upon a wealth of arms in the pitching rotation and bullpen. Sophomore Dan Avery is expected to be a strong presence on the mound, as well as in the infield. Tim Ensko, Cam Fiorentino, and Greg Morin should also all compete for time on a staff that Leonelli feels will be seven or eight deep. Depth seems to be the buzzword for the entire Valley Tech squad. "We have a good amount of arms, but also a good amount of guys who can swing the bat," said the head coach. "There will absolutely be a lot of competition for starting spots, but our bench should be good enough that it will be able to contribute as well."
Leonelli noted that a couple of players did manage to separate themselves within the first week including senior captain Izzy King, who is projected as the team's starting left fielder. "He is really aggressive and attacks the ball defensively," said Leonelli. "Plus he can move on the base paths and should be a very good leader."
Eddie Moran will be the starting catcher and a left-handed bat in the middle of the order. Upton native Julian Picard is projected to start in center field and provide some speed at either the top or bottom of the line-up. After the top few, there will be a number of players competing for playing time, including three sophomores and freshmen as well as five seniors who have been in the program.
Leonelli said newcomers and veterans alike should expect a few changes. "I told the new guys 'welcome' and told the returners to forget everything they knew about Valley Tech baseball because we are going to hit the reset button," he said. "Of course, that is no disrespect to the previous coaching staff, but we want to do things our own way."
Doing things differently may also present the team's biggest challenge early in the year. "It's going to take a little time to get to know the way we are going to do things, we are changing some things defensively and getting everyone on the same page might take a little while," said Leonelli. The real measuring stick will come when the games begin, with the season opener set for April 8 against Blackstone-Millville. "I am really excited to get someone in another color out there with us," said Leonelli. "When I see them as a group, I am struck by their energy and enthusiasm, but now I want to see how we stack up."




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