BROCKTON ---- Despite the near record-setting snow fall in Southeastern Massachusetts this winter, spring is rapidly approaching and baseball is in the air.
The Massasoit Community College baseball team, headed by Tom Frizzell in his 25th season as skipper of the Warriors, will be breathing in that fresh spring air during its annual Spring Break trip to Vero Beach, Fla. from March 13-20.
The Warriors are set to play 10 games in seven days, beginning with a season-opening doubleheader on Friday, March 13. Massasoit will take the field against Parkland CC at 10 AM followed by St. Lawrence CC of Quebec at 4 p.m. All 10 games of the road trip will be played at Historic Dodgertown.
"The spring break trip to Vero Beach is very important because our guys are going to get the opportunity to play against some top-notch competition," Frizzell said. "So by the time we get back, we should be able to see the starting lineup unfold."
Here is a position-by-position breakdown of the 2015 edition of Warrior baseball:
Returners: LHP Sam Devine, RHP Brent Eaton, RHP Tom Protentis, LHP Corey Walker.
Newcomers: RHP Mitch Walsh, RHP Scott Anderson, RHP Liam Richmond, RHP Zack Reid, RHP Mike Nader, LHP Jake Stearns, RHP Chris Langley.
Frizzell noted the pitching staff should be the strength of his squad this season. The roster boasts plenty of arms, both left and right-handed and not only depth but quality depth.
"I'm cautiously optimistic that our pitching staff is going to take us a long way," Frizzell said. "I don't think we have a pitcher that is going to strikeout nine or 10 guys a game, but we do have pitchers that will give hitters trouble. Therefore if we catch the ball we should be in just about every game that we play."
All four returning arms for Massasoit pitched in at least four games last year, led by Tom Protentis (Lakeville) who saw action in seven contests, featuring five starts for a total of 29.1 innings.
Brent Eaton (Plymouth) and Corey Walker (North Attleboro) each have four starts under their belts for Frizzell, while Sam Devine totaled 19 strikeouts in 19 innings of work spanning six appearances. The four pitchers posted a combined record of 8-3 with six complete games a season ago.
To along with four veterans, Frizzell has been very pleased with the pitching performances of his newcomers. Most notably right-handers Zach Reid (Dighton), Mike Nader (Hollywood, Fla.) and lefty Jake Stearns (Plymouth) have stood out and should see plenty of action on the hill this season.
Frizzell also indicated that Liam Richmond (Hingham) is a hard-throwing righty out of the Warrior bullpen that could possibly be the closer. However, several pitchers will have the opportunity to see action both in Florida and throughout the season as pitching roles unfold.
Returners: Nick Oliveira, Brandon Gallahue
Newcomers: Evan Derochea
Back behind the dish is Nick Oliveira (New Bedford), who shared catching duties as a freshman. Known for his arm and defensive skill set, Oliviera also packed up some punch at the plate, hitting at a .316 clip with 15 RBI.
Sophomore Brandon Gallahue (Plymouth) and freshman Evan Derochea (Raynham) both should see action behind the plate as well adding depth to the position.
Returners: Joe Commesso (1B), Matt Levasseur (SS), Dave Murphy (2B/SS)
Newcomers: Chris Langley (3B), Mitch Walsh (INF), Tyler Morini (2B), Jim Commesso (INF), Justin Martinho (1B/3B).
With any baseball team it is important to have strength up the middle and the Warriors return a pair of sophomores in Matt Levasseur (Milton) and Dave Murphy (Plymouth) that provide just that.
Levasseur, who saw most of his time at the team's DH in 2014, returns to take over shortstop. A hailing first team all-region player, Levasseur hit .386 overall and a robust .435 in league play. He totaled 28 RBI, scored 25 runs and clubbed 11 doubles.
Murphy, also an all-region selection in 2014, slides over from shortstop to second base. The Plymouth native led Region XXI in RBI with 40 and hit .355 during his freshman campaign. Both Levasseur and Murphy are expected to be in the middle of the Warrior lineup.
The third returning infielder is first baseman Joe Commesso from Marshfield. The slick fielder was a platoon player last year for the Warriors, hitting .302 with seven RBI in 18 games.
The one spot up for grabs in the infield is third base, with freshmen Justin Martinho (Dighton) and Chris Langley (Holbrook) vying for action at the hot corner. Both players were all-star selections by the Boston Globe in the Big Three and Mayflower Leagues, respectively.
Martinho could also see time across the diamond at first or as the designated hitter as he had a strong fall season at the plate.
Protentis, a dual-threat player also being able to pitch for the Warriors, is the lone returning outfield for Massasoit. The Lakeville native hit .279 with 10 RBI last season and could also see at-bats as the DH.
Frizzell is very high on freshman Al Carey out of East Bridgewater HS, who will be the everyday center fielder for the Green and White. In addition, former Avon HS standout Sean Manning appears to be the front-runner to start in right field, with Protentis and other options patrolling left.
Massasoit finished 24-12 last season and runners up in the Region XXI Tournament. The Warriors will host the regional tourney again this season from May 8-10 with high hopes of claiming the regional crown and returning to the NJCAA World Series.