, Newburyport, MA

March 27, 2013

Repeat the fun?

Georgetown coach prefers smiles over championships

By Jim Sullivan

---- — A varsity baseball coach starting his sophomore season is under enough pressure as it is.

Georgetown baseball coach Justin Spurr also must deal with repeating the Division 4 state championship his team won during his first season as head coach. However, Spurr says he’s not feeling the heat at all.

“I don’t really feel the pressure to do anything,” said Spurr. “My whole feeling is just to let the kids have fun. If we win, great.”

If that seems like a laissez-faire attitude to some, it’s not when it comes to Georgetown baseball. The Royals made it to the tournament on a 9-11 record last year before winning it all five games later. They nearly accomplished the same feat a year earlier when they lost in the championship game. But hardware is not why Spurr, a Georgetown alumnus, is in the coaching business.

“I don’t base success on championships,” said Spurr. “I base success on: Did the kids have fun? Did they learn? Did they play hard? And that’s it.”

The Royals certainly had fun last year behind the pitching of 2012 graduate Ryan Browner. Georgetown is a small place, and Royals baseball has become an understandably big deal since.

“Everyone is just waiting to see us,” said Spurr. “Everybody in town really wants to know when the games are going to be. And the youth programs are doing really well.”

But can they deliver the goods?

“Yeah,” said senior co-captain and second baseman C.J. Ingraham. “I think we can give (the fans) what they’re looking for.”

Georgetown will be fielding 13 returning champions this season with six seniors taking the field. Pitching depth looks to be the team’s strength with four right arms returning: juniors Pat Slack and Colby Ingraham, and seniors Jeff Moore and Dave Ingraham.

“You can’t really say we’ve changed because we don’t have the same kids, and that’s what I tell (the team),” said Spurr. “We can make history going back-to-back, (but) some teams win back-to-back, some teams don’t. It is what it is. It’s baseball.”

“For me, I want to do as well as last year,” said Ingraham. “I think we have the talent to do as well as last year. We have the incentive to do so.”

That confidence is what Spurr likes to see in his players heading into a long season.

“The kids are phenomenal, I have great kids,” said Spurr. “They have great attitudes, and it’s just really good. But, more importantly, they’ve always had the hunger. They’re ready. Some of them started hitting in December.”

Spurr also says that the Rockport games will be big for the Royals after losing both Cape Ann League rivalry games last season.

“We didn’t have a chance to face them in the tournament,” Spurr said. “I would’ve liked to because I think we were stronger. Another one I’d really like to circle on the calendar is Lynnfield.”

But all that is in the future. The present begins when the Royals host North Shore Tech April 5. Ingraham is unsure of what the atmosphere will be like at the home-opener.

“I’m not really sure,” Ingraham said, “because Georgetown has never won a state championship, so I’m not sure what it will be like.”