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By Michael Flanagan
Hometown Weekly Sports Editor
Following an 11-12 season in 2016 that resulted in a state tournament berth (9-5 loss to Bridgewater-Raynham), the Wellesley High School varsity baseball team is ready to get back to work and compete for a third straight tournament appearance this spring.
Leading this band of Raiders in 2017 will be senior outfielders Jack Waisel and Brendan Dolan. Both Dolan and Waisel are multi-sport stars, with Dolan helping lead the Wellesley football team to an undefeated season this past fall and a spot in the Division 1A state tournament (in which they fell 9-0 to Bridgewater-Raynham). Waisel, meanwhile, captained and played point guard for the Raider basketball team during the winter.
Along with their two senior leaders manning the outfield, the Raiders should also see solid production from junior outfielders/utility men, Colin Blasco and Jack Tishman, who are both dynamic multi-sport athletes as well, with Blasco starring as a shooting guard on the Wellesley basketball team and Tishman quarterbacking the football team in the fall. With Blasco, Tishman, Waisel, and Dolan all returning, it’s safe to say that the strength of this Wellesley baseball team this spring is going to be their outfield, as every one of these four are capable of holding a full-time role.
Another key name to look out for this season will be that of senior catcher Ethan Murphy, who is coming off of an injury-plagued season in 2016 and is dying to return and solidify a starting role behind the plate. Sophomores Owen O’Connor and Justin Lindquist played massive roles for the Raiders last season as freshmen behind the dish while filling in for the injured Murphy. Even with Murphy’s presumed return to full health this spring, both O’Connor and Lindquist should still see their fair share of opportunities due to how well the duo performed throughout last season.
The nucleus of Wellesley’s infield in 2017 will be senior shortstop Isaac Weycker and senior first baseman/DH Max Guiffre. Weycker won over the starting job at short as a junior a season ago after making the transition from third base, while Guiffre has long been a big-time power hitter in this Raider lineup, and he will look to conclude his incredible athletic career at WHS with a strong senior season this spring.
On the mound, the losses of starting pitchers Jackson Posnik and Brad Marchetti to graduation last June mean that the Raiders are going to need some of their younger guys to step up and pitch some key innings in 2017. Along with being a stud outfielder, the right-handed Jack Tishman should serve as Wellesley’s No. 1 or No. 2 option on the mound this spring. Sophomores Henry Weycker (brother of Isaac) and Teddy Goss should both slide up from their No. 4 and No. 5 roles from a season ago into the top-three spots in the rotation. Left-hander Brendan Dolan should also see a fair share of innings as Wellesley’s No. 3 or No. 4 when he isn’t tracking down fly balls with his incredible speed in the outfield. In relief, the Raiders will need to rely on the services of right-handed senior Jason Maiona, who pitched extremely well down the stretch of last season. Another reliever/starter that will play a key role for the Raider pitching staff this season is junior right-hander Ryan Carroll.
The Raiders will begin their quest for a third-straight trip to the state tournament on April 1 when they face non-conference opponent Weston at home before hosting Bay State Conference rival Walpole on April 6 to open up conference play.