By Ian Christopher Beck ’12 & Erik T. Masingill ’12
Eleven returning lettermen lead the Brophy baseball team into the upcoming season.
David Graybill ’12, outfielder Chris Beall ’12, catcher John Rapisarda ’12, shortstop Connor Moore ’12 and second baseman Emilio Torrez ’12 have all been starting for the varsity team since their sophomore seasons.
Graybill, who pitched last season, will split time between the pitching mound and first base in 2012 to take over for Dan Winkler ’11.
Sophomores Isaiah Deutsch ’14 and Ryan Castellani ’14 are in competition for the right field position, according to head coach Mr. Tom Succow, who is returning for his 35th season as the team’s manager.
Mr. Succow pointed to the team’s experience as its defining quality.
“For the last couple of years (Graybill and Beall) are guys that have been all-region players and they’ve led the team in statistics in terms of batting average, home runs and RBI’s,” he said.
Mr. Succow also pointed to Rapisarda’s RBI presence in the batting order and called the combination of Moore and Torrez at shortstop and second base the best middle infield duo in the state.
Torrez agreed the senior class has a lot of talent, and said that since the team has two years’ experience, they know what it will take to win and can pass on that knowledge to younger players.
The senior second baseman also said losing the last year’s playoff still motivates him and his teammates. The team was eliminated by Mesquite in the 2011 playoffs.
“It’s a big motivation for this year,” he said. “We had a great opening two rounds of the state tournament with wins against Alhambra and the top team in the state, Mesquite, but we couldn’t finish it off by beating Hamilton the next game or Mesquite in the loser’s bracket. Finishing is a big part of this year.”
However, despite consistency on the field, changes in the rules of the game will pose a challenge for the squad, according to Mr. Succow.
“I think it’s going to be competing with the type of bat that we have to use this year because high schools across the country have changed to what is called a BBCOR bat,” Mr. Succow said of the biggest obstacle facing his team in 2012.
According to askcoachwolff.com, the BBCOR bat is an aluminum bat designed to deaden the bounce the ball has when it hits the bat.
Mr. Succow said the bat was used in college ball last year and it dramatically reduced offensive numbers across the board.
“We need to make that adjustment,” he said. “There may be more bunting, hit and run, and stealing going on in high school baseball than in the past.”
Torrez said that with the new bats in place, there will be less “cheap homeruns or base hits” and that players will really have to earn their hits.
“It means more small ball,” Torrez said. “Getting bunts down, hit and runs, stealing bases, and playing great defense due to these low scoring games.”