By Ian C. Beck ’12
A year ago the Brophy baseball squad made it to the 5A-1 state playoffs where they lost two consecutive games in the double-elimination tournament.
Head coach Mr. Tom Succow described it as a disappointing end to a promising season.
However, 2011 holds new hope for the Broncos as they return 11 lettermen from last year’s group including five players who started last year as sophomores.
John Rapisarda ’12 was the team’s starting catcher, Emilio Torrez ’12 was the full time second baseman, Connor Moore ’12 started at shortstop and Chris Beal ’12 and David Graybill ’12 both manned the outfield for the Broncos.
Mr. Succow called the young core a group to springboard off of heading into a new season.
He also said six seniors will be leaders for the team this year, including Matt Mittelstaedt ’11, Dan Winkler ’11, Sean Maxon Maldonado ’11, Peter Fletcher ’11 and Joe Maggi ’11.
Maggi, one of the team’s starting outfielders who also plays safety for the Brophy football team, was hurt for the football season with a torn ACL.
Mr. Succow said that Maggi was almost cleared for full participation in practice.
“I’m looking forward to getting after it because of all the time I’ve missed due to my knee injury,” Maggi said in an e-mail. “I’ve had a lot of time after surgery and during physical therapy to visualize the season and how I want it to be but I’m excited to get out there and actually do it.”
The ending to last season left a bad taste in Maggi’s mouth.
“Last year’s playoff loss was probably one of the worst losses I’ve had during my career at Brophy,” Maggi said. “It was the sort of experience when you have to sit there and watch all your hard work and dedication be lost to a team that you know you’re much better than.”
Maggi also said that the loss lit a fire in him after seeing the team’s seniors deal with the loss.
Another senior leader on the team, Mittelstaedt, also said the playoff loss a year ago was difficult.
“Last year’s playoff loss was pretty hard to swallow,” Mittelstaedt said in an e-mail. “I think if anything it has motivated us more in yoga, in the weight room and on the field to become better baseball players and better teammates to make sure we don’t have another early exit from a championship run this season.”
Mittelstaedt said that while the team lost some senior leaders last year, the seniors now are “top notch.”
The Broncos will face a tough slate of games in 2011, including matchups with the defending 5A-1 state champions Desert Ridge, defending 5A-II state champions Horizon and Chaparral.
“I don’t think anyone has a tougher schedule that we do,” Mr. Succow said. “Our schedule is by far the toughest. It’s good for us, it’s going to make us a better team this year and in the future.”
The season opened Wednesday, Feb. 23 against Desert Edge.