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‘Enjoyable’ Nipmuc Baseball Team Reaches Semis

Nipmuc baseball head coach Steve DellaRovere had made no secret of the fact that his senior class was the driving force behind this year's team, and he had effusive praise for his older players following the Warriors' season coming to a close with an impressive 15-6 record.
"This was one of the more enjoyable groups I have ever had, they all just love baseball," the head coach said. "You get a lot of kids where baseball might be their second or third sport, with these guys it was their primary sport and it rubbed off on the younger guys."
DellaRovere said the senior leadership on the roster made his job as a head coach much easier.
"Their determination to be successful was unmatched," he said. "That group will be missed, but they left their mark as well."
The senior star power was on full display during the district tournament. Senior Tom Sperino shut out Grafton in the quarterfinal round in an economical 62-pitch effort. Izaiah Wadsworth, another senior, went 4-for-5 with three doubles and four runs batted in the 9-0 victory. In the second game of the postseason, a 4-2 loss to Groton-Dunstable (GD) in the semifinal round, Kyle Nocera struck out 11 while allowing just one earned run.
"GD took advantage of the runners they had, but it was a great game and a great atmosphere," DellaRovere said. "It was one of those that could have gone either way, they just capitalized better than we did."
Even though the team fell just shy of a spot in the Division 3 district title game, DellaRovere said the 2016 season was "definitely a success. We won the league, we went 8-0 in the Dual Valley. That's a great testament to the depth we had to win that consistently. We made the tournament, got to the district semis, you can't chalk it up as a negative. We were one of the last four teams left in the district, that's where you want to be."
Senior catcher Pete Schiloski finished the year with a .341 batting average, and DellaRovere praised the play and leadership of Jack Ernst and James Rogan.
Nipmuc will return sophomore Cole Alibozek next season after he was among the league leading hitters this spring. Junior Ryan Burke and sophomore Kyle Downing are also among those slated to return.
"It goes without saying, losing the three pitches [Sperino, Wadsworth, and Nocera] is huge," DellaRovere said. "It is something we will need to build from the younger guys. We have some capable underclassmen behind the plate who could fill in as well next year [to replace Schiloski]."
The same three players who stood out on the mound also sparked the offense.
"Those are the guys we need to replace," DellaRovere said. "We definitely need some younger guys to step up next year, but between the backups on the varsity and our JV team, we will be alright."




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