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, Alex Caldwell, 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 &rs