By Rob Tetro
The Phoenix varsity baseball teams’ season recently came to an end with a 10-8 overall record.
With the conclusion of the season, the Firebirds say goodbye to six seniors: outfielder Dylan Borza, first baseman Codie Corso, catcher Billy Ostrander, outfielder Ryan Pinzer, shortstop (and league player of the year) Bryce Plante and second baseman and first team all-league pitcher Emilio Tassone.
Phoenix baseball coach Charles Chawgo said Tassone and Plante provided great senior leadership as captains. He credits his seniors for how hard they worked in the batting cages during the winter and spring.
By the numbers, the work paid off for Phoenix this season. In fact, Chawgo said the Firebirds’ increased offensive production allowed his team to win a few games they wouldn’t have in previous years.
As his six seniors move on, Chawgo hopes they do so believing that a positive work ethic is key to a successful outcome. Over the last couple of seasons, most of his seniors were able to see the benefits that hard work provides them.
However, success also reinforced the importance of hard work.
“I believe they also got to see that winning does feel a lot better than losing,” Chawgo said.
Looking ahead, the Firebirds have a group of sophomores returning as experienced juniors next season. Chawgo credits them for how well they were able to follow the example set by the hardworking seniors.
This season, Phoenix started most games with five sophomores in the lineup. Chawgo said his group of sophomores played a key role in his teams’ success this season, stating they not only gained a better understanding of what their strengths were but what they have to work on as well between now and next season.
Sophomores Dan Frawley and Jordan Jock earned second team all-league honors this season for pitching. Fellow sophomore Bradley Dietz earned all-league pitching honorable mention.
Sophomores Zach Schlacter (outfielder) and Zach Wells (designated hitter) will also return in 2015. Along with their three fellow sophomores, they will be expected to make up the nucleus of the Firebirds over the next couple of seasons.
“(I expect them to) be the hub of our team for the next two years.,” Chawgo said. “(So) I think expectations will be very high and I am excited to see how we develop.”