Tough start
for Centaurs
baseball team
While vaccinations may be on the increase, the pandemic isn’t over yet. The Woodstock Academy baseball team has found that out already.
The season hasn’t even started yet and Brian Murphy’s team has five players on the sidelines due to pandemic protocol.
“I told the kids that you make the sacrifice to play baseball,” Murphy said. “With that being said, I may be a (New York) Giants fan, but I’m going to take a page out of the (New England) Patriots playbook and say, ‘Next man up.’”
The Centaurs will be missing those five players through their opening game April 10..
“The first game will be a little bit of a challenge, especially defensively, but we have a good core of guys at the JV level who are coming up to help us. When we’re full strength, we’re going to do some damage,” said senior catcher-pitcher Jon Smith.
On the field, Murphy thinks it’s the deepest team he has had in his now five-year tenure with the Centaurs.
“I’m getting a lot of kids now that have played a lot of baseball, not just at the top of the lineup, but throughout,” Murphy said.
He doesn’t have home run hitters, but he has bats with pop. “We’re deep 1 through 9 and we have more contact hitters especially in the middle of the lineup on down,” Murphy said.
The pitching staff did take a hit early when both junior Brendan Hill and sophomore Carter Morissette went down with season-ending injuries.
Murphy still has eight to 10 athletes who can throw.
“I’m happy with what we have. We had 14 guys at pitchers and catchers (who started a week earlier than the rest of the team), all of us pitched. Two freshmen are great prospects who could come up if we need them for a couple of games. It’s the most arms we’ve had in a long time,” Smith said.
Smith, the team’s No. 1 catcher, will be one of those on the hill along with sophomore Kaden Murphy, senior Eddie Niejadik and juniors Zach Roethlein, Vincent Tocci, Jackson Goetz and Hamilton Barnes.
“It’s early so they will go 70-80 pitches and if I get four innings, maybe five out of them, I’m lucky,” Murphy said.
Murphy said he is also confident with the defense as many have come up through the system including ones he had worked with at a younger age and whom he taught to play multiple positions.
“I have a lot of interchangeable parts,” Murphy said.
It is a different year, not only due to the effects of the pandemic, but also due to the scheduling. The Centaurs will play large-school teams like Norwich Free Academy, but will not be in the same division with them in the ECC. The league decided to retain its regional scheduling for those sports in spring that can do so and baseball is one of them.
It means the Centaurs will be playing the likes of Putnam, Tourtellotte, Killingly and Plainfield.
 “I set the bar high. We may not get there, but we may get close. Our goals don’t change; we want to win our division in the ECC, we want to win the ECC tournament and we want to win the state tournament. Just like with life, I want the kids to set their goals high and you may be surprised at just how close you can get,” Murphy said.

Schedule: Sat., Apr. 10: NFA, Away, 11 a.m.; Tues., Apr, 13:  Tourt., Home, 4 p.m.; Sat., Apr. 17: Putnam, Away, 11; Mon., Apr. 19:  Wtfd., Home, 4:15; Tues., Apr. 20:  Wind.,  Home, 4; Sat., Apr. 24:  St. Bernard (2), Away, 11; Tues., Apr. 27:  Lyman, Home, 4; Sat., May 1: Gris. (2), Away, 10; Tues., May 4: Plfd., Home, 4; Sat., May 8: Kill. (2), Away, 11; Wed., May 12: Wheeler, Home, 4:15; Sat., May 15: Tourt., Away, 11; Tues., May 18: Putnam, Home, 4; Thurs., May 20:  Ledy., Away, 4; Fri., May 21: Wind., Away, 11. (* 2 = doubleheader).

Marc Allard
Director of Sports Information
The Woodstock Academy


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