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Baseball preview capsules: North Division

Posted by Zolan Kanno-Youngs  April 2, 2013 02:30 PM

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NORTH DIVISION

Brighton:

Coach: William Mahoney (13th year)

Last year: 9-9

Strengths: Brighton will be relying on their batting power this season because of their inexperience on the mound. Mahoney said the combined score of some games might get as high as 27 runs.

Concern: Mahoney noted pitching as Brighton’s Achilles heel.

Outlook: Even though Brighton finished with just a .500 record last season, the squad has high expectations going in to this season.

“As usual we want to get into the city tournament, that’s number 1. Number 2 we want to win it and number 3 we’d like to go really deep in to the state tournament,” Mahoney said.

The coach went on describe how priority No. 1 is his players and how far they can go in the tournament.

Returning starters: senior pitcher Michael Marte, senior pitcher Joe Marte, outfielder Jose Valenzuela, pitcher Jefferson Guerrero, junior shortstop Jesus Soto.

English

Coach: Ricardo Figueroa (first year)

Last year: 13-6

Strengths: In the words of coach Ricardo Figueroa, the defending city champions’ defense is going to be “awesome.” The first year coach is especially exited about the versatile sophomore Miguel Lorenzo, who has the ability to play any position on the field.

Concerns: Even though English will have two senior pitchers to lead the rotation, Figueroa is concerned with the team’s lack of depth forcing him to start position players on the mound.

Outlook: The former O’Bryant coach said he has much higher expectations for his English squad this year and rightfully so -- the defending city champions' experienced defense should have the Blue and Blue as one of the top contenders in the city once again.

“I don’t think it will be too much to represent the championship they won but I think they have the talent to be successful,” Figueroa said.

Successful, for this team, means competing for another a second straight championship.

“I was thinking the other day about the big picture but I think we’re going to be a top contender at the end,” Figueroa said. “Watch out.”

Returning starters: Senior pitcher Nelson Barreiro, senior shortstop Frankly Gonzales, sophomore outfielder/infielder Miguel Lorenzo.

Latin Academy

Coach: Anthony Bernazzani (third year)

Last year: 11-10

Strengths: The Dragons returned five starters from their defense last year, including the catcher and shortstop position so they should go through most games without many defensive mistakes.

Concerns: Bernazzani has spent the first few weeks of practice trying guys out for the much-needed vacant pitching positions on his roster. Latin Academy only has one returning pitcher.

Outlook: A huge factor in a successful Latin Academy season will be the transition from junior varsity to varsity for the many young players on the squad.

While coach Bernazzani will have his ace Vincent Lopriori to work with he hopes that one of last year’s JV players will be able to help the senior out.

“There’s a couple guys with some decent arms but they’re really inexperienced,” Bernazzani said. “The speed of a varsity game is so much different then the JV.”

The team also doesn’t have a lot of power in their lineup, so a lot of bunts can be expected with their speed.

“As long as everyone’s getting better on a consistent basis, that’s kind of the goal right now,” Bernazzani said.

Returning starters: senior pitcher Vincent Lopriori, senior catcher Dan O’Connell, senior shortstop Nick Hicks, junior outfielder Eddy Funes, junior infielder Mark Guerard.

Madison Park

Coach: Michael Viggiano (seventh season)

Last year: 9-9

Strengths: Both the varsity and JV players within Madison Park’s programs are very versatile. Most players can play multiple positions. Viggiano also noted his infield as being solid going into the season.

Concern: In addition to the six seniors that Viggiano graduated last season, the coach may lose three more returning starters to do scheduling conflicts with their jobs. Viggiano is currently trying to work out a schedule with their employers.

However, it is likely the coach will have to begin the season with only three varsity players from last season.

Outlook: Viggiano’s expectation is always to have a winning record for the sake of the morale of his team.

“It promotes a good spirit. When you have a losing season, the dugout gets a little bit quiet, the locker room gets quiet, the bus ride gets quiet. To have a winning season, there’s a lot more cheerfulness,” Viggiano said.

Returning starters: Garric Garcia, Jonathan Soto.

West Roxbury

Coach: Clifton Wilson (third year)

Last year: 7-10

Strength: While they’re only returning four players, Wilson just added a new catcher to his roster and is excited about the depth in that position.

He added that there are also very promising pitchers in the freshman and sophomore class.

Concern: While there is excitement around the freshman and sophomore class, Wilson is concerned that about who will emerge as the leaders of this team with a lack of upperclassmen presence.

Outlook: Wilson will hope that his team can learn a lot from this season given the talent in his incoming freshman class and the fact that he will be returning about 80 percent of his team next year.

Simultaneously, his goal in terms of his team’s record is very clear.

“My goal is very simple; win more than we lose,” Wilson said.

Returning starters: senior pitcher Chris Moreta, senior pitcher Elvin Florentino, senior captain Allejandro Lopez.

Zolan Kanno-Youngs covers Boston Public school athletics. He can be reached at kannoyoungs.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @KannoYoungs.

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