BERLIN - It hasnâ€™t been the season Berlinâ€™s baseball team imagined so far. The team is just 6-6 and has yet to accumulate a winning streak of more than two games.
Coming off of a loss in the second round of the Class M state tournament last year, a largely returning roster has yet to meet high expectations going into the season.
Despite several players returning from last year, Berlin still has a fairly young team with just five seniors listed on its roster. Infielder Nicholas Carroll stands out as the heart and soul of the team.
Carroll is coming off of a decent game against New Britain, one which the Redcoats lost, 6-1. The senior got on base twice, walking once and also picking up a single. He also scored the teamâ€™s only run. But his individual performance means little to him. He cares more about what he can do as a leader to help his team start winning consistently.
â€śI definitely donâ€™t feel like I struggle to be a leader or anything like that,â€ť he said. â€śI just feel like we need to work more as a team. Weâ€™ve been struggling with that since the beginning. I feel like itâ€™s my job to step up as a leader to help us improve that and start winning some games.â€ť
Berlin head coach Leo Veleas doesnâ€™t see the teamâ€™s youth as a reason for the struggles in 2018. He noted that the team has a plethora of players who have played on the team for years, including nine juniors listed on the roster.
â€śSo what? Thatâ€™s an excuse,â€ť he said. â€śI donâ€™t see us as a young team. We have guys that have a lot of varsity experience. Thatâ€™s an excuse.â€ť
Veleas thinks the reasons for the teamâ€™s struggles have more to do with simply playing better on the field, something he and Carroll both stressed after the teamâ€™s most recent loss to New Britain. In that game, the team committed two errors and also walked seven batters, which ultimately led to four of the six runs the Hurricanes scored.
â€śItâ€™s a matter of pitching and playing defense,â€ť Veleas said. â€śIf we can do that well, we will be in all of the games we play. But when we donâ€™t do that well, this is the result. Itâ€™s a matter of execution. You canâ€™t give teams extra outs like we did today.â€ť
The Redcoats have just seven games left on their schedule this year. If theyâ€™re going to make another run into the playoffs, they will have to rely on Carroll to not only continue to play well on the field, but also lead the team.