Steve Buitkus had turned in a stellar season, batting .340 while pacing the Salem State baseball team with 42 runs scored. The Reading High graduate was a first team all-conference pick in the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference, but the 2012 season was soured with a 10-1 loss to Bridgewater State in the championship game of the MASCAC tourney.
“We all took that loss and built upon that and saw what we wanted to achieve,” recalled the senior outfielder. “We used that as motivation to get us where we are now.”
What he wanted to achieve was a conference championship and a bid to the NCAA Division 3 tournament.
Buitkus returned to the leadoff spot this spring, batted .308 with a conference-best 39 runs scored, capturing MASCAC Player of the Year honors. Full story for BostonGlobe.com subscribers.
Anthony Gulizia can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.