SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Sports Special

April 9, 2014

Beverly Panthers Spring Sports Previews 2014

BASEBALL

Last Year’s Record: 15-6 (Lost in Division 2 North first round)

Head coach: Dave Wilbur (13th season, 149-109)

Captains: Kevin Cuneo, Sr., 1B; John Berchoff, Sr., SS.

Other key players: Tristan Fasheh, Sr., C; Eric Messina, Sr., P; Matt Hamor, Sr., OF; Craig Hall, Sr., OF; George Hillios, Sr., 3B; Sean Curtin, Sr., IF; Sean Munzing, Sr., P; Shamus Desmond, Sr., P; David Drinkwater, Jr., P/OF; Ted Leathersich, Jr., P/OF.

Strengths: Power hitting and leadership. Cuneo is healthy after an injury filled 2013, and he returns as one of the most potent corner infield bats on the North Shore. Beverly has 11 returning seniors, including another potential masher in Berchoff, who takes over at shortstop. The Panther upperclassmen appear ready for their turn to lead on the diamond.

Concerns: Pitching depth. The efficiency of both graduated Cam Rogers and Alex Toomey left few innings for underclassmen a year ago, so it’ll be a baptism by fire for Beverly’s staff in 2014. Eric Messina (4-2, 2.11 ERA in ‘13) is the leader, and Beverly will need big innings from the likes of Sean Munzing, Shamus Desmond, David Drinkwater and Ted Leathersich.

Coach’s Outlook: “I like our athleticism and our leadership. They’re great kids that have had success in other sports, and while they may be limited in terms to varsity baseball experience, they’ve been waiting and now its their turn. It’s a terrific group that’s excited about making their mark on the program.”

SOFTBALL

Last Year’s Record: 9-13

Head coach: Megan Sudak (7th season)

Captains: Molly Pitman, Sr., OF; Kate Silvestri, Sr., 1B/C/OF; Meaghan McLaughlin, Sr., C/1B.

Key returnees: Ally Pia, Jr., OF; Emily Pitman, Jr., P/1B; Hannah Silvestri, Jr., SS; Olivia George, So., 3B; Ally Cabral, So., OF.

Strengths: The Panthers have a strong core of returning players who are all expecting to contribute in whatever way they can. Sudak said that the leadership in preseason has been impressive as well as helpful in many ways. The girls have been through a lot over the past few years on and off the field, but have always stuck together. They have a mutual respect, concern and genuine care for one another, which they’re looking to translate onto the field as well.

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