SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Sports Special

April 9, 2014

SALEM WITCHES SPRING SPORTS PREVIEWS 2014

BASEBALL

Last year’s record: 3-15

Head coach: Paul Caron (2nd season, 3-15)

Captains: Austin Connolly, Sr., C; Josh McRae, Sr., 1B/DH

Key returnees: Timmy Ryan, Jr., OF; Matt Marquez, Sr., IF/P; Zach LeBlanc, Sr., SS; Chad Fontaine, Sr., 2B; Brian Lora, Sr., P; Sammy Ramirez, So. P

Strengths: Defense, especially up the middle. The Witches have their starting double play combination back from last year in shortstop Zach LeBlanc and second baseman Chad Fontaine, plus starting catcher Austin Connolly returning behind the plate. Speedy, athletic junior Tim Ryan takes over in center field, giving Salem range all over the defensive diamond.

Concerns: Depth. Senior Brian Lora will be a workhorse and the leader of the pitching staff. After that, senior Matt Marques and sophomore Sammy Ramirez will be pitching varsity innings for the first time. The ability to do so with success is there, so the focus will be on showing it.

Coach’s outlook: “Our goal for the season is to compete in the NEC and try to challenge teams. We can be a team that makes the state tournament, and if our pitching performs to their ability I think we have a good chance to do it. We’ve had strong leadership. It’s been an excellent spring so far.”

SOFTBALL

Last year’s record: 5-15

Head coach: Jennifer Bertone (1st season)

Captains: Hannah Wilkins, Sr., IF; Joanna Coleman, Sr., 3B.

Key returnees: Desiree Martin, Jr., SS; Meagan Zipper Jr, IF; Amanda Mullen, Jr., IF/OF

Strengths: Experience and leadership. The Witches bring back most of their starting lineup from last year and have excellent captains in Hannah Wilkins and Joanna Coleman. Two-time Salem News all-star Desiree Martin has been a speedster on the bases for Salem over the past few seasons and will look continue that into this year.

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