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The Titans repeated as the Cleary Division champion.
Steve was named the top pitcher in the Cleary Division for the second season in a row.
Shawn batted .593 and led his team to the championship game.

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Baseball enjoys another banner season 

The Wilbraham & Monson Academy Baseball team came within three outs of accomplishing all of its goals for the season. The Titans didn’t reach their final goal, but the program has reached new heights.

WMA enjoyed one of its best seasons in years, winning the Cleary Division and a semifinal before falling in the Western New England Prep Baseball League championship.

“Before we left for Florida I had the guys write down some individual goals and some team goals,” Coach Jim Irzyk explained. “When I put that list together there were clearly three things the guys wanted to accomplish as a team: win the Cleary, which we did; next was to get to the championship, which we did; and next was to win the championship, which we didn’t, but we accomplished two of the three goals.”

WMA lost to the Salisbury School 4-3 in the final after beating the Canterbury School 15-1 in a semifinal.

“We felt we were a championship team so we were very confident going into the semifinal game that we would find a way to win that game, and we did easily,” Coach Irzyk said. “In the championship, we believed we could win. Our guys know now that our expectation is to get to the playoffs every year.”

The Titans bought into Irzyk’s philosophy of “compete, think, team.” From the first game in Florida in mid-March to the final in late-May, the team prepared and worked well as a unit. “We competed each game, each inning, each pitch,” Coach Irzyk said. “That was the mantra, and that’s what it took to win the Cleary Division. It was a great accomplishment.”

Leading the way toward that accomplishment was a great group of seniors. The Class of 2015 – Shawn Boston, Anthony Garro, Zane Kagan, Roy Goodman, Go Mekeda, Jeff Park, Luke Pelletier and Danzel Williams – all brought something to the table for the Titans, whether it was great play at bat and in the field, or support from the bench.

“The senior class . . . they were close,” Coach Irzyk said. “They worked together in the off-season and on the weekends. They were determined to make their senior season the best. What I appreciated was they accepted their roles on the team. I appreciated that, and they bought into the team aspect. It was a determined group of seniors who led by example and who have set a high bar for the sophomores and juniors going forward.”

Five days after falling in the final, the team received some good news when it was announced at WMA’s Prize Day that it won the school’s sought after Trustees Cup, awarded annually to one team based on performance on the field, performance in the classroom and WMA citizenship.

“Winning the Trustees Cup was a complete surprise,” Coach Irzyk admitted. “We didn’t mention it as a team goal. I’m happy that it happened through the hard work on the field, in the classroom and how they presented themselves on campus. They were a team. The Trustees Cup takes into account a lot of different factors a team does during the season, and how they handle themselves on campus.”

Postseason awards included:

  • Team MVP: Shawn Boston ’15
  • Team Coaches Award: Roy Goodman ’15
  • Cleary Division co-MVP of the Year: Shawn Boston ’15
  • Cleary Division Pitcher of the Year: Steve Fleury ’16
  • First Team All-League: Jake Breton ’17, Anthony Garro ’15, Joey Mack ’16, Tom Quinn ’16
  • Second Team All-League: Alex Caldwell ’15, Roy Goodman ’15, Andrew Wood ’17
  • Underclassman All-Star Game: Jake Breton ’17, Jonathan Cotto ’17, Steve Fleury ’16, Joey Mack ’16, Tom Quinn ’16, Andrew Wood ’17

Steve Fleury '16 repeats as pitcher of the year

For the second year in a row, when it came to pitching in the Cleary Division, Wilbraham & Monson Academy’s Steve Fleury ’16 was considered the best.

Steve, who won more than half of WMA’s games this season, was named Pitcher of the Year for the Cleary Division.

“It was great to win the award,” said Steve, a 6-foot-1-inch right-hander. “I’m proud the league recognized me for my performance this year and I felt I earned it with all of my work in the off-season.”

Steve did his work during the season, also. He went 6-1 for the Titans, with 57 strikeouts in 37.3 innings. He only allowed 31 batters to reach base.

“Steve knew going into the year he was going to face the best teams,” Coach Jim Irzyk said. “It was going to be our #1 vs. their #1, and he came through. His Williston game was probably the highlight of his last two years, where he pitched a complete game shutout with 13 strikeouts. But Steve is at his best in the most difficult situations. When he needs to strike out a batter, he does. He has that ability to strike guys out.”

“I wanted our team to win the league and the championship, so my goal was to win as many games as possible for the team and do my part,” Steve said.

Steve earned the win in the Western New England Prep Baseball League semifinal against Canterbury School to help the Titans reach the final, where they lost to the Salisbury School 4-3. He’s already drawn serious interest from Merrimack, Hartford and Southern New Hampshire, and more than five colleges have contacted Steve about seeing him pitch this summer.

“He digs down in those tough situations,” Coach Irzyk said. “He loves to compete. He’s going to be a good college pitcher.”

Steve will play in tournaments this summer in North Carolina, New Jersey, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Connecticut and Massachusetts.

 

Shawn Boston '15 among the best in WMA Baseball history

From here on out, whenever anyone talks about the single greatest season in the history of Wilbraham & Monson Academy Baseball, Shawn Boston’s ’15 senior year has to be part of the conversation.

“Shawn took every clutch situation to heart this year,” Coach Jim Irzyk said. “You could see in his eyes when there was a big moment in the game, whether it was defensive or offensive, he wanted to be the guy to make things happen.”

And Shawn made things happen all season. He finished with a batting average of .593. In 17 games he had 35 hits, 34 RBI, 19 runs scored and four homers. Most importantly, he led the team to the championship game, with WMA falling to Salisbury School 4-3 in the final.

“One of my main goals was to make it to the championship,” Shawn explained. “Last year we won the division. I felt like it would have been a letdown if we didn’t earn a #1 seed, and we did that. And we went to the championship.

“I had some individual goals as well, with one of those being Player of the Year in the league, and having a higher batting average than last year. Overall, I had a great senior season, individually and as a team captain. I’ll never forget this season.”

Shawn earned co-MVP honors in the Cleary Division while helping the Titans claim the league title for the second year in a row.

“I was very excited,” said Shawn, referring to being named co-MVP. “To be mentioned in that conversation is a big thing for me. There were so many great players in the league. I’m thankful for my parents, coaches and God to be in that position and it’s something I will never forget.”

“Shawn worked hard in practice,” Coach Irzyk said. “He kept his focus and helped the team keep its focus. He was a leader by example. Others saw his approach and what it takes to be an excellent player and how to prepare for games.”

With Shawn’s example leading the way, WMA enjoyed success from the start, all the way back to the team’s March trip to Florida, where they had a winning record while competing against teams from throughout the country.

“In Florida we realized we had a great team if everyone put their efforts in,” said Shawn, who will play at Division II Post University next season. “I said that in Florida – that we could be the best prep team in Massachusetts if we put the work in. It showed during the year. Even though we won the division last year, a lot of teams didn’t think we would be that good and didn’t give is the respect we deserved. This year we showed them who we really were.”

 

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