2019 SALEM NEWS BASEBALL PLAYER OF THE YEAR

Keegan O'Connor

Bishop Fenwick Senior

Catcher

Hitting the baseball takes natural talent but its also an acquired skill. No player on the North Shore honed his skills for spraying the ball all over the park like Bishop Fenwick catcher Keegan O’Connor.

With an average North of .500 for large swaths of the season, O’Connor set an area single season record with 45 total hits while leading the Crusaders to their first Division 3 North title in 15 years. Finishing with an area-best .489 average, O’Connor had the top OPS around at 1.271 and also came in first in runs batted in with 27.

“He has power to every field. He’s very good at going with the pitch and taking it the right way — a very smart hitter,” said Fenwick coach Russ Steeves. “Keegan’s also remarkably consistent. He hit .470 in two years for us.”

An Andover native who was a Catholic Central League all-star and Agganis all-star, O’Connor tied for Fenwick’s team with with 28 runs scored and stole a team-best 14 bags. He slugged .663 and got on-base at a .554 clip; His steady production in the playoffs helped the Crusaders sweep through the North tournament.

Among O’Connor’s many highlights on the year were a solo homer at home against Danvers, keeping the team’s playoff rally against Saugus alive with a seventh inning single and a total of a dozen multi-hit games.

Also an outstanding football player, O’Connor had 79 hits in two seasons in Black-and-Gold with 45 runs, 51 RBI and 36 extra-base hits including two homers. He will do a post-grad year for widely respected coach John Toffey at Winchendon School with teammate Cory Bright next year.

THE ALL-STARS

JACOB BORNSTEIN

Marblehead Senior

Pitcher

One of the Northeastern Conference’s most dependable big-game pitchers ranked second in the area in wins (6) while making 10 starts and leading the Magicians with 10 starts ... Held on Burlington with six strikeouts in state tournament victory ... Righty threw another gem in victory over Danvers ... Earned run average on the year was 1.68 ... Also earned one save ... Had 38 strikeouts against just 12 walks with a 1.10 WHIP ... NEC first-team all-star contributed four RBI, four runs and a stolen base in limited plate appearances.

CORY BRIGHT

Bishop Fenwick Senior

First base

Crusader captain made up for lost time by hitting .370 and leading the Crusaders to the Division 3 North title ... 34 total hits ranked five on the North Shore ... Catholic Central League all-star’s 26 RBI were tied for second in the area ... Hit safely in all five playoff games (.467) ... OPS was .883 ... Struck out only three times in 108 plate appearances ... As pitcher, posted 1.88 ERA in 37 1/3 innings of work with two wins and a save ... Salem News football all-star and Student-Athlete Award nominee from Melrose will do post-grad year at Winchendon School.

BRAYDEN CLARK

Beverly Junior

Second base/Pitcher

Northeastern Conference all-star finished the year on fire on the mound ... Struck out a combined 20 in two wins over Marblehead ... Fanned 11 in masterful 2-hit shutout of Masconomet to clinch playoff spot for Panthers ... Overall, won four games with 59 strikeouts in 48 innings ... Compiled 2.04 ERA and grabbed two saves ... One of Beverly’s most consistent batters with 26 hits and a .329 average ... Intelligent baserunner scored 18 times ... Also an excellent golfer and ice hockey player.

BEN CONDON

Essex Tech Senior

Outfield

The most dangerous thief on the North Shore stole a school record 26 bags and wasn’t thrown out all season ... Commonwealth Athletic Conference all-star from Danvers stole six bags in one game ... Homered against Division 3 North champion Bishop Fenwick ... Superbly effective leadoff man hit .371 and scored 22 runs ... Made only one outfield error while starting all 23 games ... Moynihan Student Athlete of the Month for May ... Picked up one save pitching and totaled six extra-base hits ... Plans to study petroleum engineering at Texas Tech.

TREY DELOURY

Bishop Fenwick Senior

Outfield/Pitcher

Clutch two-way performer didn’t allow an earned run in 12 2/3 playoff innings with a win and a save ... Won five games with 1.71 ERA on the season over 41 innings ... Batted .398 with 37 total hits tied for second on the North Shore ... Drove in 26 runs, also second in the area ... Clobbered walk-off two-run double in playoff win over Saugus after throwing five scoreless out of bullpen ... Notched eight doubles and one homer ... Captain of Division 3 North champs ... Hockey all-star will play juniors while playing baseball at Northern Essex to pursue both in college.

KEVIN DEWING

St. John’s Prep Senior

Pitcher

Catholic Conference all-star from Reading was his team’s most dependable pitcher, making eight starts and having a team-best 5-0 record ... Salem News area leader in earned run average at 0.82 ... Fanned 34 batters over 32 innings ... Devastating curveball made him adept at getting soft contact and ground ball outs ... Immense control with 0.96 WHIP ... Threw gems in Super 8 elimination games against BC High and Walpole to get the Eagles to the title game ... Salem News all-star and Super Bowl champion plans to play football at Union College.

BRENDAN DUFFY

Ipswich Junior

Pitcher/Third base

The Tigers team Most Valuable Player and Cape Ann League first-team honoree was one of the area’s most efficient pitcher ... Winning hurler in three of his team’s four victories this spring complied had an earned run average under one in the month of April and finished the year at 1.40, seventh in the area ... Struck out 45 batters over 40 innings, including a 7-strikeout shutout of Triton ... Also one of the Tigers best hitters with a .353 batting average and an OPS of .900 ... Two-year Ipswich captain projects as one of the most experienced arms around for 2020.

WILL FRAIN

St. John’s Prep Junior

First base

Excellent first baseman became a run producing staple in the middle of the order for the Super 8 runners-up ... Catholic Conference all-star helped Eagles win league title by driving in 18 runs ... Led SJP in regular season RBI ... Had 27 hits with a .390 batting average ... Hit homer with three RBI in win over St. Peter Marian ... Tripled and drove in three in playoff win over rival BC High ... Hamilton native had seven doubles and four triples for .582 slugging ... Hopes to play baseball in college after next year.

CHRIS GALLY

Marblehead Senior

Third base/Pitcher

First-team All-Northeastern Conference choice was a lethal two-way threat for the Magicians ... Batted .338 on the year, leading the Magicians with 19 runs scored ... Swipes 12 bases ... Posted OPS of .893 with 11 RBI and 22 total hits ... Tremendous left side defense at both third and short ... Captained Marblehead back to state tournament ... Won four games on the mound while eating up 32 1/22 innings with seven starts, a 3.03 ERA and 31 strikeouts ... Issued only 11 walks all year ... Football all-star, Agganis all-star and Student-Athlete Award nominee is headed to Bowdoin next year.

RYAN GRACIALE

Swampscott Senior

First base

One of the best pure hitters in the Big Blue’s stories history graduates with a .393 career varsity average, 81 total RBI and 13 career home runs ... First-team Northeastern Conference all-star led the league and the area in runs scored with 31 ... Tied for team-led with 26 RBI while batting .391 ... Hit four homers this spring ... Drew area-high 18 walks for a .560 on-base percentage ... Helped Big Blue reach Division 3 North semis two straight years ... Also an excellent golfer ... Agganis all-star Will play baseball at Salve Regina next year.

WILL HUNTER

Masconomet Junior

Shortstop/Pitcher

First-team All-Cape Ann League selection did it all for the Chieftains ... Had six wins on the mound with an impressive 1.25 ERA ... Clinched Masco’s tournament berth by beating Pentucket with eight strikeouts plus three hits ... Offensively, hit .379 while slugging .455 ... Totaled 25 hits while leading Chieftains in runs scored (17) and stolen bases (11) ... Drove in 11 runs ... Threw 50 1/3 innings ... Junior captain looks up to older brother, ex-Masco star David, and hopes to play college baseball.

DYLAN JANUARY

Swampscott Junior

Catcher

Power packed backstop had a career season at the plate, mashing a North Shore best seven homers ... Big Blue captain now has 13 bombs in three-year varsity career ... Launched 2-run homer spark upset win over Austin Prep in state tournament ... Mashed two homers against rival Marblehead ... Tied for team lead with 26 RBI ... Northeastern Conference first-team all-star scored 22 runs ... Hit at .325 clip ... Salem News all-star in football is phenomenal linebacker and will be captain elect for both sports next year.

WILL JONES

Hamilton-Wenham Junior

Pitcher/First base

Bounced back from arm injury both with the bat and on the mound ... Lefty with incredible snapping curve fanned seven against Triton ... Totaled 34 strikeouts in 30 innings ... Pitched tremendously against Division 4 North champion Manchester Essex to snag share of CAL Baker title ... Had his best high school season offensively, hitting .371 with 23 knocks ... Had 13 RBI, 13 runs scored and one homer ... OPS was impressive .938 ... Two-time Salem News all-star projects as Division 1 pitcher and should get offers this summer.

ALEX LANE

St. John’s Prep Senior

Catcher

ABCA/Rawlings All-Region honoree was MVP of the Mass. State Coaches Association’s Senior all-star game ... Catholic Conference all-star mashed four homers in the Prep’s last eight games and two in the Super 8 ... Repeat Salem News all-star hit .384 on the year with 28 hits ... Tied for area lead in walks (18) and ranked second in OPS (1.184) ... Led Eagles in RBI (21) while scoring 17 runs ... Excellent defender threw out 60 percent of base stealers while handling pitching staff with 1.38 ERA ... Catholic Conference all-star ... Andover native will play baseball at Bryant University next year.

CHRIS MASTA

Essex Tech Senior

Shortstop/Pitcher

Salem News Student-Athlete Award winner captained the Hawks to their first tourney win in 10 years ... Patient hitter set new school record with 18 career doubles ... Multi-sport MVP led the Commonwealth Athletic conference in innings pitched (52 1/3) and strikeouts (49) ... Won five games with a 3.19 ERA ... Carried .343 batting average and drove in 11 runs ... Peabody native held Saugus to zero earned runs in eight innings on the road in state playoffs ... Plans to study criminal justice at Fitchburg State while also pursuing Air Force training.

ANGELO MCCULLOUGH

Bishop Fenwick Senior

Outfield/Shortstop

Top-notch table setter for Division 3 North champions had 37 hits, tied for third among all North Shore batters ... Hit at a .378 clip for the year ... Scored team-best 28 runs while stealing 13 bags ... OPS was outstanding .956 and struck out only eight times in 113 times at the plate ... Plus-defender made catch of the year in North final against Lynnfield ... Three-year starter from Peabody was Catholic Central League all-star ... Agganis all-star ... Two hits sparked come-from-behind playoff win over Saugus ... Headed to Merrimack College next year.

COOPER MCGRATH

Pingree Senior

Pitcher/First base

Highlanders Team MVP and Eastern Independent League first-team pick enjoyed outstanding season at the dish ... Batted .466 with 25 hits ... Led Pingree with 21 RBI ... Also scored 16 runs ... Hard-throwing righty stands 6-foot-7 and chipped in a win on the hill ... Used reach to generate power hitting ... Top performance came against strong Groton team with a 2-for-3 effort, two RBI doubles and an intentional walk ... Hamilton native is grateful to his parents and coaches for their support ... Plans to play baseball at Trinity College next year.

ANTHONY OLSZAK

Danvers Senior

Shortstop

Outstanding defensive player had best range on the left side in the Northeastern Conference ... First-team All-NEC honoree hit .338 on year ... 22 hits were tops among all Falcons with nine stolen bases tied for the team lead ... Two-time NEC all-star is three-year varsity contributor ... Racked up nine RBI ... Had three RBI in win over Winthrop that kept tourney hopes alive ... Latest in long line of Olszak brothers to star for Falcons ... Studying at UMass-Lowell next year.

JONATHAN ORIAKHI

Swampscott Junior

Outfield

Contact-oriented leadoff man caught fire in mid-April and never cooled down, amassing 41 hits with a .478 batting average that led the Northeastern Conference ... Equal blend of on-base acumen and power evidenced by 23 runs scored and 23 RBI ... Six home runs ranked second only to teammate Dylan January ... NEC all-star ... Homered twice in state tournament victory over Boston Latin ... Big Blue’s leading wide receiver had excellent speed and ability to track the baseball in center field ... Plans to transfer to Milton Academy and projects as a Division 1 football recruit.

KEEGAN O’SHEA

Hamilton-Wenham Junior

Catcher

Enjoyed a breakout season for the Generals, stabilizing the CAL Baker champs behind the plate ... Led the team in hits (24) while batting at a .333 clip ... Cape Ann League all-star drove in 11 runs and had four doubles ... Stole five bags ... In 151 innings behind the plate, threw out six base-stealers ... H-W’s team MVP was All-Tournament in the Rockport Memorial Day tourney ... Captain elect for next year also excels in hockey and soccer for Generals ... Enjoyed 3-for-4 day with two RBI against Amesbury ... Excellent eye for calling the game helped pitching staff post 2.08 team ERA.

MAX PEGNATO

Swampscott Senior

Pitcher

The Big Blue’s horse on the mound led the Salem News coverage area in wins (7), innings pitched (67 2/3) and strikeouts (62) ... Won two state playoff games three days apart, with his best career outing being a complete-game victory over top-seed Austin Prep ... Northeastern Conference all-star posted 1.97 earned run average ... Won seven of his last eight starts ... Displayed good command and an excellent natural curveball ... Totaled 12 career wins on varsity ... Agganis all-star is grateful to his dad for his coaching and support ... Will attend Elon University next year.

BRYAN PENA

Salem Senior

Pitcher

One of Salem’s winningest pitchers of the last 15 years graduates with 15 career victories ... Led the Witches in wins three straight years and to three straight playoff appearances ... Won his last two starts with complete games to get Salem into Division 2 North playoffs ... Repeat Salem News all-star was also Northeastern Conference all-star ... Season earned run average of 2.05 was a career-best ... Struck out 33 batters in 44 1/3 innings and also earned his 100th varsity strikeout.

TAIDON PEREZ

Peabody Senior

Catcher

Tanners team Most Valuable Player was Northeastern Conference all-star ... Very good at holding runners with arm that threw out a half-dozen base stealers ... Hit team’s only homer of the season on the road at Gloucester ... Came up with game-winning hit in walk-off victory over Saugus at home ... Had 19 hits and batted .295 ... Drove in team-high 12 runs ... Agganis all-star ... Studying business at UMass-Lowell next year.

HONORABLE MENTION

Beverly: Conor Hanlon, Sr., OF; Clayton McAlpine, Sr., DH; Nick McIntyre, Jr., IF/P; Tyler Petrosino, Jr., 1B/OF; Matt Ploszay, Jr., C.

Bishop Fenwick: Ethan Belt, Sr., 3B/C; Scott Emerson, So., SS; Christian Loescher, So., P; Jake Miano, Jr., P.

Danvers: Andrew Chronis, So., OF; Loic Dowd, Sr., OF; Brett Palladino, Jr., IF; Tyler Robinson, So., P.

Essex Tech: Jack Christianson, So., P; Jacob Granata, Sr., OF;Dan Masta, So., C.

Hamilton-Wenham: Ian Coffey, Jr., OF; Conor Evers, Jr., 2B; Paul Horgan, Sr., P/OF; Mark Roselli, Sr., P; Everett Wonson, Sr., P.

Ipswich: Cole Berkeritis, So., C; Cam James, Jr., SS; Max Kivekas, Sr., P; Finn MacLennan, Fr., IF/P.

Marblehead: Ben Brennan, Sr., 3B; Brady Lavender, Fr., OF; Schuyler Schmitt, Fr., IF; Charlie Titus, Jr., C; Ben Weed, So., P.

Masconomet: Nick Cantalupo, So., OF; Pat Costigan, Sr., C; Joe Kalapinski, So., OF; Erik Sibbach, Fr., P; Aaron Zenus, Sr., IF/P.

Peabody: Jordan Anzuoni, Jr., SS; Eddie Campbell, Sr., P; Derek DeLisi, Sr., P; Chris Faraca, So., OF.

Pingree: Drew Botta, Fr., IF/P; Pete Nichols, Sr., C; Amogh Prakash, Jr., 2B/P; Jake Spaulding, Sr., P.

Salem: Jonah Algorin, Sr., IF/P; Tommy Beauregard, So., SS/P; Ethan Doyle, So., OF/P; Bobby Jellison, So., OF/P; Jayco Pena, Sr., IF.

St. John’s Prep: Zach Fortuna, Jr., P; Max Freedman, Sr., OF; Max Gieg, Sr., P; Sean Letarte, Sr., P; Jake Miller, Sr., IF; Will Potdevin, Sr., SS; Matt Remley, Jr., P; Richie Williams, Sr., OF.

Swampscott: Zach Elwell, Sr., 3B/C; Drew Olivieri, Jr., 2B; Tyler Marshall, Jr., P; Cam O’Brien, Fr., OF; Nick Reiser, Sr., P.

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