PLAINVILLE - Plainvilleâ€™s Legion baseball team faced plenty of challenges and adjustments this season and at times it showed. Whether it was inexperience or bringing in a number of new players, the team had an uphill battle throughout a four-win summer and have to wait another year to get back out on the diamond.
Plainville head coach Brian McCarthy admitted one of the teamâ€™s biggest struggles was its youth. Of the 16 players listed on the teamâ€™s roster, it has just one college freshman (Jonathan Olson) and one high school senior (Nate Michalek). Even still, McCarthy was proud of the effort the young players showed this season.
â€śItâ€™s obviously pretty tough with the age gap between the older guys and the younger guys,â€ť McCarthy said. â€śBut every single kid here showed up wanting to play. I know it didnâ€™t show at times, but they really enjoy the game. They want to learn. They want to get better.â€ť
Plainvilleâ€™s inexperience was evident in its 12-0 loss to Bristol in the season finale Monday. The team made four errors on defense, two of which came in Bristolâ€™s nine-run sixth inning. There were also two times throughout the game where easy popups dropped due to miscommunication between fielders.
â€ś[Bristol] just rolled over on us,â€ť Plainvilleâ€™s Ryan Rodriguez said. â€śThen people got lazy in the field. We got tired. The inning took a long time. It just fell apart.â€ť
Plainville also faced the challenge of bringing in some new faces this season. Peyton Clark, Jaylen Dias and Rodriguez came over from Bristol Central due to the Bristol team having too many players.
â€śThey fit right in,â€ť McCarthy said. â€śThey meshed with us perfectly all year and they really contributed. They did an amazing job all year.â€ť
Clark left the team in the middle of the season, according to McCarthy, but Rodriguez and Dias stayed despite the struggles. Rodriguez became one of the teamâ€™s biggest impact players as the starting third baseman and middle-of-the-order hitter. Rodriguez said it was a transition at first, but ultimately he grew to feel like an important part of the team.
â€śEarly on, I didnâ€™t really talk to anyone because, obviously, I didnâ€™t really know them,â€ť Rodriguez said. â€śBut once I started talking to them, I grew really close with them. The catcher, Juan [Camacho], is one of my closest friends now. Iâ€™m happy I came over here. They all welcomed me with open arms. The environment was positive and everyone here loves baseball. It was a great team to play for.â€ť
Despite all of the obstacles Plainville faced this season there is an excitement about the future of the program.
â€śI have to give it to these guys,â€ť Rodriguez said. â€śA lot of these guys stepped up all season and held their own. No one player got bullied by pitchers or anything like that. The younger guys are going to be very good. Plainville is going to have a very good team down the line.â€ť
Tyler Roaix can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org