It took a little while to start playing this summer, but now that the Senerchia Post 74 American Legion team is on the field, it’s already rolling right along.
Senerchia, a legion team made up of all Hendricken players, had its first two games postponed because the Hawks were playing in the high school state championship series this past Wednesday and Thursday.
When that concluded, though, Senerchia began coming together almost immediately. It had one practice on Saturday before taking on Providence Post 56 this past Monday and Tuesday.
If the team felt rushed, it didn’t show it. Senerchia won Monday’s game 16-1, then came back on Tuesday and picked up an 11-1 victory.
It’s the kind of start that has first-year manager Chris Sheehan excited about the summer.
“So far, everything is going great,” Sheehan said. “The kids have swung the bats extremely well, the pitching has been extremely good. We got some good starts out of the younger pitchers and everyone has played together well. The team chemistry has been good.”
Sheehan, a former player who graduated in 2009, takes over for former manager C.J. Martin. Joining Sheehan on the coaching staff are his former Hendricken teammates Alex Vescera and Angelo St. Laurent, both of whom will serve as assistants.
The practice on Saturday also marked the first time that those coaches were able to meet with the players, but that wasn’t much of a hurdle either. With 15 of the 18 players on the team having played varsity for Hendricken this spring – in one role or another – the coaches knew that they had a talent-filled roster.
“I really expect this team to do well,” Sheehand said. “They’re trying to show everyone what Hendricken has coming next year.”
Leading the way for Senerchia are its four captains. Post-grads Rich Bacon and P.J. Murray are back on the team this season, and they will handle a lot of the shortstop and first base duties, respectively.
The other two captains are rising seniors Lou Umberto and Mike King. King served as one of Hendricken’s top pitchers during the spring, and the Boston College commit will be Senerchia’s No. 1 pitcher over the summer. Umberto was Hendricken’s second baseman during its championship run, and he’ll play there as well as shortstop for Senerchia.
“Those four are going to serve as our captains, and our leaders,” Sheehan said.
Behind them, there are some other players on the team with significant varsity experience.
Rising senior Jarek Krajewski was a regular contributor this spring, and he’ll play some third base, pitch and hit in the middle of the order for Senerchia.
The same can be said for rising senior Rob Henry, who had been Hendricken’s fourth outfielder. He’ll start in center field over the summer, and he’s already gotten off to a torrid start.
“He’s really showing off a lot of good things this year,” Sheehan said. “He’s looked great.”
Rising seniors Ed Markowski and Matt Murphy are also on the team, and have impressed early on. Murphy, in particular, was a big part of Hendricken’s postseason run, as he started game one of the championship series and knocked in five runs against South Kingstown in a 12-2 Hendricken victory.
“Ed Markowski and Matt Murphy are two guys that I really like,” Sheehand said. “They’re infielders. They didn’t see a whole lot of time on varsity, but they’ll be big for us.”
Markowski will play at second and third base, while Murphy will play those positions too, as well as left field and pitcher.
Gary Geisser, who is entering his senior year, will most likely hit at the top of the order and play the outfield after playing on and off for Hendricken.
“He’s got a lot of speed, and he can make a lot of things happen for us on the basepaths,” Sheehan said.
Another varsity contributor on the team is rising senior Jake Newberry. Newberry didn’t pitch much for Hendricken during the regular season, but he pitched three scoreless innings in the second game of its Final Four series with Coventry, clinching a berth in the finals for the Hawks.
He started Senerchia’s first game on Monday and threw a one-hitter, and he’ll be counted on to pitch a fairly sizeable workload going forward.
“I think he’s going to be a big part of the team,” Sheehan said.
After that, there aren’t a lot of players who saw substantial varsity time, but Sheehan is hoping for them to make a big leap over the summer.
Behind the plate, rising junior DePetrillo will see a lot of the work, as will rising senior Nick Boland. Boland was a varsity player, while DePetrillo played on JV.
Rising junior Sam Boulanger – the only sophomore on varsity in the spring – will play some outfield and catcher, and he’ll also see some time on the mound.
Anthony Graziano and Dillon Manfredi are both in line to pitch a lot of innings, as is rising sophomore Michael McCaffrey, who is also playing on Hendricken’s Connie Mack team, Flood Auto Group.
Other players who should make an impact are rising sophomore Gian Martellini, a standout for the Johnston Junior Little League World Series team last year, and rising senior Bobby Lineberger, who was Senerchia’s starter in the second game of the summer.
“A lot of the kids are unknown, but I think they’re really going to make a name for themselves this summer,” Sheehan said.
And with a talented roster from top to bottom, the goal, as usual, is to shoot for a state championship. After not reaching that point a year ago, Sheehan is hopeful his team can get it done in his first year at the helm.
“If you’re not striving for a state championship, I don’t really see the point,” Sheehan said. “I absolutely think this team has the talent to do it. It’s just a matter of keeping things together all summer.”
Senerchia’s next game is Thursday at 5:30 p.m. at Hendricken against R&R Construction.