By Dan Harrison
---- — Familiarity will play a big role this summer for the Swampscott Little League Williamsport All-Stars.
All but three members of this year’s team were together on the all-star team last summer and head coach Peter Inzana believes all the boys have greatly improved and the team chemistry should be there from the start.
“We have a squad of 13 and 10 of them were on the 11-year-old team last year. It’s a lot of familiar faces,” said Inzana. “Everyone has gotten better and with the new faces, I like our chances.”
Pitching is always a priority in the Williamsport tournament and Swampscott hopes it can rely on the arms of 12-year-olds Jake Mcintire, Alex Sheehan and Max Pegnato.
“We’ve got some real good pitchers. Jake Mcintire threw a perfect game this year in the majors,” said Inzana. “They’ll throw mostly fastball/changeup. I think pitching is the most important thing.”
Behind the Swampscott hurlers will be a formidable defense. The team should have no holes on the diamond led by catcher Dylan January.
“At this level, guys are going to get the bat on the ball. Dylan January, our catcher plays AAU ball all year round and comes from that January bloodline,” noted Inzana. “His dad Jared was drafted. Dylan is definitely one of our leaders and our general behind the plate.”
12-year-olds Christian Emmerich, Russell Hopkins, Mcintire, Pegnato and 11-year-old Graham Inzana will play in the infield for Swampscott while speedsters Chris Legere (12), Jack Leahy (12) and Jake Bartram (12) give the outfield great range.
The speed also should translate on the basepaths where Swampscott will need to be aggressive since the lineup doesn’t boast an overload of power. Two of the players with some pop in their bats are Inzana and fellow 11-year-old Jonathan Oriakhi as the two young bucks on the squad can help turn the game with just one swing of the bat.
“We’ve got some hitters for sure. Our two, 11-year-olds have some of the best power on our team,” said Inzana. “We probably have about six guys who hit homers this year (in the regular season).”
Longball prevention will be equally important for Swampscott. Home runs always play a big part in the Williamsport tournament but Inzana believes his group will be most successful if it just focuses on taking good swings and limiting the power-outbursts from opposing teams.
The Big Blue youngsters fell in extra innings to Salem in the District 16 opener last weekend, with January bashing a 2-run homer. They’ll get to face nearby rival Nahant in an elimination game scheduled for Saturday.
“We will be successful if we can get our bats going and keep the oppositions home runs down,” said Inzana.
ROSTER (Age, position) Jake Bartram (12) OF Christian Emmerich (12) 2b Russell Hopkins (12) 2b Graham Inzana (11) 3b, C Dylan January (12) C, 3b, P Jack Leahy (12) OF Chris Legere (12) OF Jake Mcintire (12) P, SS Jonathan Oriakhi (11) 1b Max Pegnato (12) SS, OF, P Jake Scanlon (12) OF, P Alex Sheehan (12) OF, P Collin Walsh (12) OF, P