Around the Horn
New Hamilton-Wenham baseball coach Reggie Maidment doesn't have to look far to find a visual motivator for his players.
All he has to do is point to the outfield.
"Patton Park? It's picturesque. You have the tank out there and pond — not many guys get to play at a park like this, and you realize that and take advantage," said Maidment, whose Generals topped North Reading, 3-1, yesterday at Patton, to give him his first win in his first game as head coach.
The 28-year-old Maidment graduated from Hamilton-Wenham Regional in 2002 and was a multi-sport standout. He graduated from Springfield College, coached baseball at H-W under Doug Hoak the last two years and has been one of Andrew Morency's football assistants at the school, helping the team reach the playoffs in back-to-back years.
Coming home to coach the Generals is a blessing for Maidment, and he hopes the players will feed on his intensity and gratitude.
"It's kind of surreal. I'm really grateful to (athletic director) Don Doucette for the opportunity," said Maidment. "There's tradition and these kids will know I live and breathe being a General. It's an honor."
In Hoak, who is semi-retired and coached the Generals basketball team to its third straight Cape Ann League Division 2 title this past winter, Maidment had an excellent mentor. Hoak led the baseball team for nearly a quarter of a century and won the Division 3 state title in 1988.
"Coach Hoak set us up well. He's run a great program over the years and he's a great baseball guy," Maidment said. "I learned so much playing for him and for coach (Rich) Butterworth."
As an assistant coach the last two seasons, Maidment picked up even more wisdom from Hoak than he did as a player. "As a player you don't see how much these coaches care — and that's Doug Hoak through and through. You don't see all the extra hours they put in after practice or after games," he said.
"We'll still do the same drills. Coach Hoak was always big in the fundamentals and we want to keep that. We have to play sound defense."
The Generals have six seniors, including captains Ryan Foringer, Paul DiMarino and Jimmy Parr. Foringer turned in a quality start on the hill to win yesterday and leads the pitching staff.
Tom Conville, Jack Keegan and Luke Wendt are the other seniors while Hamilton-Wenham is looking for contributions from sophomores Pete Duval and Jack Clay and junior Brian Nicoll.
Parr is a three-year starter in center field and the Generals feel good about Duval behind the plate, providing crucial strength up the middle on defense. Beyond ace Forringer, Hamilton-Wenham is excited about the potential of Wendt, a lefty transfer from Masco coming off an outstanding football season.
"We had 37 at tryouts, which was the most since I've been here, and we have 15 freshman that will play on junior varsity," said Maidment. "Baseball is growing. The numbers in town are up and the number for the Babe Ruth teams are up."
Morency is helping out on the coaching staff while assistant Bruce Lucas has invaluable experience. Mike Drinkwater, who recently graduated from Endicott, will handle the junior varsity.
"We're excited about our youth, not worried about it. We have a great senior class and hope it's going to be an exciting year," said Maidment.
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The area's other first-year head coach, Kevin Canty of Bishop Fenwick, has his team off to a 3-0 start. A Lynnfield native who graduated from Stonehill College, Canty coached with Mark Bettencourt at Peabody for five years and got the better of his old boss Saturday when his Crusaders beat the Tanners, 4-2.
"Kevin knows what he's doing. He didn't fall into that job; he got it because he's a good coach," Bettencourt said. "He's thorough and he has a baseball mind — he's been around the game his whole life."
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Salem's Monday win over Lynn Classical gave head coach Jim Tgettis his 400th career victory. The triumph was beautiful symmetry, too, since many of those victories came when he was head coach of the Rams years ago before taking over at Salem High.
The milestone win came at Fraser Field, a place very familiar for Tgettis, who in addition to coaching at Classical also coached for St. Mary's Lynn and with the former North Shore Spirit.
The Witches (2-0) knocked off one of the NEC Large favorites with the 8-4 win and have now scored 23 runs in their first two games. Timely hitting, especially from Teaghan Malionek, has helped and Salem goes for a sweep of the Lynn teams when it hosts English this afternoon.
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Belated congratulations to North Reading's Frank Carey, who will be inducted into the National High School Baseball Coaches Association's Hall of Fame this November as the association's annual convention in St. Louis. Carey, who has coached at North Reading for 48 years, has over 600 wins with 23 Cape Ann League titles and four state championships.
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St. John's Prep got a leg up in defending its Catholic Conference crown with Monday's win over Catholic Memorial. The Eagles (3-0) have another tough test today when they host Malden Catholic.
Peabody's Brandon Bingel shut down CM with a complete game effort after combining with Dustin Hunt to blank Central Catholic last week. That means the Prep can throw Hunt or senior Rob DiFranco (who was excellent in the opener against Peabody) at the Lancers.
That's the sort of pitching depth that makes the Eagles, as always, a team to watch in Division 1.
As for MC, the Lancers start one of the Catholic Conference's best hitters in Sean Glabicky of Peabody. Nick Turco, also from Peabody, is another player to watch; he played an amateur game at Yankee Stadium in the summer of 2010.
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Two big NEC games today: Danvers visits Swampscott and Peabody travels to Cooney Field to meet Beverly. Both pairs of rivals split their games with each other last season.
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Around the Horn, a column on North Shore high school baseball, runs every Wednesday during the spring season in The Salem News. Contact Matt Williams at MWilliams@salemnews.com, 978-338-2669 and follow him on Twitter @MattWilliams_SN.