, Salem, MA


May 15, 2013

Around the Horn: Speed, aggression have Masconomet poised for a run

Stealing bases is harder than it looks.

So much more goes into the art of the swipe than simply having the fastest guy run 90 feet and slide into the bag.

The skilled base stealer has to time his lead and his first step based on the movement of the pitcher. He has to be in tune with what the batter is doing, if he’s swinging to aid the steal or if there’s a hit-and-run on. He has to quickly assess roughly a dozen things before he decides if its a good time to take off for the next base.

With all that in mind, its easy to understand why it took Masconomet some time to get used to the aggressive style of coach T.J. Baril. Now that they have, it looks like the Chieftains (11-5 overall) will be tough to stop.

Masco has won five in a row and scored 50 runs over that span. Even before that the Chieftains were a respectable 6-5, but they were averaging just under five runs a game. As their run production has almost doubled over the last three weeks, they’ve become a force.

“It’s hard to pinpoint one thing; it’s a matter of things coming together. We’d had good pitching and defense all year, and lately we’ve had better swings,” said Baril. “I think on the bases it comes from being aggressive rather than reckless.”

Freshman Elias Varinos recently moved to the leadoff spot, with his older brother Speros Varinos dropping down to the coveted No. 3 slot. The Chieftains put sophomore Greg Dougherty in the No. 2 spot, and the underclassmen have been getting on base at a solid clip.

Once they reach, they’ve been putting pressure on opposing pitchers and getting into scoring position for big bats like Speros Varinos, Tommy Budrewicz and Joe Klingensmith.

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