Carey still leading the way for North Reading
At the end of each inning in a North Reading baseball game, coach Frank Carey brings his team together in a huddle. The purpose is not for motivation, but for learning. Teaching kids how to play the game is Carey’s favorite part of coaching.
Carey has been teaching physical education at North Reading for 48 years and brings the mentality of a teacher to the diamond. During each game, Carey will turn around multiple times and inform the players on the bench about something that happened on the field.
“I try to tell them we made a mistake or what we didn’t do correct or what we should have done. It’s always constant teaching,’’ he said.
Carey constantly yells encouragement to his players, points out mistakes, and gives orders about strategy.
“You’ve got to constantly make [the players] aware of situations that might arise that they would not be familiar with. I’m constantly trying to communicate with them,’’ said Carey.
During one huddle in a 7-6 win over North Andover on Saturday, Carey told the team that an infielder should have thrown sidearm instead over the top on what turned out to be infield hit. Teaching such details has helped Carey collect 684 wins for North Reading.
This group of Hornets has been a joy for Carey to coach. North Reading has a 9-2 record with a team that starts four sophomores and only two seniors, compared with the 13 seniors last year’s team.
“It has been pleasure to coach them,’’ said Carey. “If this team was 2-9, I would say the same thing because they have all been willing to get a little better each day. We have convinced them that every day at practice we are going to get a little bit better, and they have bought into it.’’
Carey enjoys the strategy involved in baseball. New BBCOR aluminum bats, which diminish the speed of the ball off the bat, and therefore limit hits and run production, have forced Carey to play more small ball.
“When I started coaching, this is how we played,’’ he said. “I was kind of familiar with [small ball] and I was aware that we had to do things like bunt, double steals, and first and third steals, and defensively you have got to be able to stop those sort of things.’’
Off the field, Carey also has had an influence on baseball. He helped start the Massachusetts-Connecticut all-star game and was one of 13 original members of the National High School Baseball Coaches Association. On Nov. 30, he will be inducted into its Hall of Fame.
“Going to the national clinic for as many years as I have and being surrounded by these guys, in my opinion I’m humbled to be in that category,’’ Carey said. “I’ve met the best coaches in the United States by being a member of this organization. I’ve met the very best, not only in terms of wins but they have done so much for high school baseball. It’s an honor and a pleasure to be in that group of guys.’’
Although Carey is retiring from teaching physical education in June, he plans to continue coaching for another two or three years.
Games of the week
No. 13 Danvers at Lynn Classical, Mon., 7 p.m. - The Rams (8-3) are just outside the Top 20 and a win against Danvers would be the first step toward making the list next week.
No. 1 BC High at No. 6 St. John’s Prep, Wed., 3:30 p.m. - BC High won the last matchup between the Catholic Conference powers, 7-2, April 27.
No. 2 Walpole at Wellesley, Wed., 3:45 p.m. - The Rebels (12-1) are on a six-game winning streak and will look to keep it up in Bay State Herget play.
No. 20. New Bedford at No. 19 Oliver Ames, Thurs., 4 p.m. - The Whalers (9-2) have won five in a row and will take on the Tigers (8-3) in their only game this week.
No. 17 Catholic Memorial at No. 3 Franklin, Thurs., 4 p.m. - The Panthers (10-1) haven’t lost since the first game of the season, while the Knights (7-4) look to rebound after losing their only game last week.