By Matt Jenkins
---- — Seven seasons, seven trips to the Division 3 North baseball tournament. That’s the legacy T.J. Baril will leave behind at Swampscott.
Baril was named the new baseball coach at Masconomet, taking over for Mike Valentino, who resigned after last season.
Baril was intrigued by the opening at Masco because the Chieftains play at the Division 2 level, and logistically it was a better fit. Baril is in his first year as a physical education teacher at Amesbury Middle School.
“Those were the two main factors,” Baril said. “Teaching in Amesbury now it’s 15 minutes (driving) as opposed to an hour ride to Swampscott. Masco plays on Saturday mornings and with a young family being able to come to the games, that was really important.”
Leaving Swampscott behind was not easy for Baril, however.
“Seven years is a long time and it was definitely bittersweet,” Baril said. “It was tough to go talk to the (Swampscott) kids. I spent a lot of time with those kids and had really good times with them. It was really just one of those decisions where it made sense to make the move.”
Baril went 90-66 in his seven years at Swampscott, including a 10-7 postseason mark. He guided the Big Blue to semifinal appearances in 2006 and 2009.
Long-time assistant coach Mike Linehan will be going with Baril while Bryan Duplisse, a teacher at Masco, will also be assisting.
“I went in (for the interview) and just kind of presented what I’ve done the last seven years and what I’d like to do over the next X-number of years,” the 35-year-old Baril said. “I was pretty confident and very hopeful.”
Baril takes over a solid program that hasn’t missed the tournament since 2006.
The Chieftains captured Div. 2 North championships in 2008 and 2010 and were also North finalists in 2007.
Baril is excited to get to work with Masco, and he doesn’t expect a big adjustment period.
“It’s pretty much the same idea. It’s a different group, but it’s like any other year,” Baril said. “We have the same kind of framework, but you mold it to the kids you have.
“We’ve scouted the Cape Ann League plenty over the last seven years for the tournament so we’ve seen a lot of the teams and coaches.”