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The canceled 2020 season robbed Manchester of the chance to give a worthy group of seniors a proper sendoff but it was also a missed opportunity to unleash some exciting up-and-coming talent on the Shore Conference Class B South division. The result is a junior-heavy 2021 team without a lot of experience but with some potential to surprise the rest of the field after a run of years in the middle of the pack.

Right-hander and rightfielder Logan Duffy top junior and, likely, overall player for the Hawks heading into the spring. He is already committed to pitch at Old Dominion University despite not yet throwing a varsity inning, giving Manchester an ace capable to besting any other pitching in the division on a given day.

There may be some trial-and-error to figuring out the pitchers behind Duffy in the rotation but coach Dave Beauchemin will have no shortage of options. Mike Damato and Blake Warren are two more junior right-handers to follow Duffy who will also be prominent hitters in the Manchester infield. The seniors and sophomores on the team are most likely to make their impact on the mound, with the senior collection of Rich Coufal, Nick Jensen, Nick Isphording and Chris Grille at the ready and the sophomore trio of Joe Sclama, Frank Kern and Ethan Lopez in the fold as well.

The daily lineup is set to be nearly all juniors along with the senior Grille, who slides into the first base opening after playing a utility role as a sophomore. Brandon Sogness and Keith Fallon join their classmate Duffy in the outfield, while Warren shares the left side of the infield with Damato as long as neither is on the mound. Sean McAllister will start the year as the second baseman and Nick Johnson will seize the catching duties.

Even the hitters who will make a contribution off the bench and filling open spots when position players pitch will be on the younger side. It may take some time for the group to mature but Manchester will have a chance to get a lot of young players valuable experience and become a dangerous team by 2022 – if not a little bit sooner.

Manchester at a Glance

Head Coach: Dave Beauchemin, fifth season
Key Losses: James Johns (CF/LHP), Evan Scala (RF), Nick Chippisi (3B/RHP), Jarek Vargas (1B/LHP), Dylan Kyle (OF)

Around the Diamond (Returning 2019 starters in bold with available stats)

Catcher: Nick Johnson, Jr.

First Base: Chris Grille, Sr.

Second Base: Sean McAllister, Jr.

Shortstop: Blake Warren, Jr.

Third Base: Mike Damato, Jr.

Leftfield: Keith Fallon, Jr.

Centerfield: Brandon Sogness, Jr.

Rightfield: Logan Duffy, Jr.

DH: Joe Pati, Jr., LHP

Other Key Hitters

Mike Miccanico (Jr., OF)

Justin Rinzi (Jr., INF)

A.J. Ramirez (So., INF)

Joe Bentivenga (Fr., INF)

Colin Fazio (Jr., 1B)

Pitchers

Logan Duffy, Jr., RHP

Mike Damato, Jr., RHP

Rich Coufal, Sr., LHP

Joe Sclama, So., LHP

Joe Pati, Jr., LHP

Blake Warren, Jr., RHP

Nick Jensen, Sr., RHP

Nick Isphording, Sr., LHP

Chris Grille, Sr., RHP

Frank Kern, So., RHP

Ethan Lopez, So., LHP

 

College Commitments

Logan Duffy – Old Dominion University