By Mike Flanagan
Hometown Weekly Sports Editor
Medfield High School varsity baseball was in the process of building something special. Head coach David Worthley entered his third season at the helm in 2020 and Medfield's senior class was stacked with returning starters.
Unfortunately, the COVID-19 outbreak forced the 2020 MIAA spring season into cancellation, followed up by last week's cancellation of the summer American Legion season.
"These seniors have been with me since they were sophomores," said Worthley. "It's really sad to look at all the hard work these guys put in, be ready to go, and then not be able to compete."
Senior captains Drew Baacke and Ryan Donohue were set to headline Medfield's starting pitching rotation. Senior captain and corner infielder Jack McDonald, along with senior captain and second baseman Max Goodman, were also both back. Senior outfielder/catcher Nick Chicos, senior outfielder/infielder Luigi Musto and senior infielder/pitcher Will Stolzenbach were all poised to have huge years, as well.
Simply put, Medfield High baseball was going to be a major player in the TVL.
"These guys have all played varsity for three years," said Worthley. "On the pitching side of things, Ryan and Drew were poised to have big years. They are just big and strong kids who got a lot of experience the last two years and were poised to have breakout seasons and impress some people."
At the plate, Worthley says that the St. Joe's-committed Goodman was ready to take on a leadership role and produce after starting each of the last two years.
"Max is a three-year starter for me at second base," said Worthley. "He's excellent in the middle and going on to play at St. Joe's in Maine. He's just a good baseball player. He understands the game, has a good swing and has great instincts in the middle of the infield. I also have Nick Chicos and Luigi Musto, and they were both going to play a huge role, as well."
All sports are currently dealing with significant adversity due to COVID-19, but due to both the spring high school and summer Legion seasons being cancelled, perhaps the hardest-hit sport has been baseball.
"It's concerning," said Worthley. "Both baseball and softball are taking a hit. A full year of nothing is going to be really hard developmentally."
While the seniors are being robbed of their final year of varsity high school athletics, Worthley also noted that the junior class is going to take a big hit from this, as well, on the recruiting front.
"I also really feel for the juniors who were set to have a big season," said Worthley. "That hurts the college recruiting process. Junior year is when you make the most of your bones, at least in baseball."
Worthley went on to commend his group of seniors for their coachability, noting that none of the COVID-19 chaos will overshadow the appreciation that he has for all of the hard work they put in throughout their careers.
"It takes three years to build a program and these guys all bought in and worked really hard. These seniors and this group were poised to do something special. Hopefully, they will have paved the way for something that the younger kids in Medfield can look up to and strive to be a part of. I really love this group of seniors. They really are the nicest and most respectful group of kids I've ever coached. None of this experience should take away from the pride that they should feel after all the hard work they put in. The entire program and I really appreciate what this group has done."
For funny and incisive sports analysis as well as game highlights, follow Mike Flanagan on his personal Twitter and Instagram @flano0.