NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

May 25, 2013

backstop for Vikings

Wolcik leads Triton back to brink of postseason

By Jim Sullivan
Correspondent

---- — Being one of only three seniors on the Triton baseball team is just fine with co-captain Cote Wolcik. As a catcher, he lives for that stuff.

“I like being responsible for everyone else,” said Wolcik. “I control the pitching. I control where I want people on the field. And even though the pitcher throws a bad pitch, it’s my job to stop it. I like having that responsibility.”

Wolcik has baseball in the blood. His dad, Bob, tried out for the Phillies, and Cote’s been playing since he was 4 years old. He estimates that he’s been donning the tools of ignorance for the past 10 years.

“According to my dad, he said I always wanted to do it and he let me,” Wolcik said of playing catcher. “He always used to say that a pitch up the middle, I could never catch but anything outside, I’ll block.”

But sometimes he can miss a block and has to endure the catcher’s worst moment, making the demoralizing sprint to the backstop.

“If it hits your glove, it hits your glove, there is nothing you can do about it,” Wolcik said of a passed ball. “Anything else, I’ll try to get. It’s (still) the worst feeling ever. It’s like in hockey when you get a penalty and (the other team) scores. The long skate back to the bench. It’s just like that. It’s not a very good feeling at all.”

Currently batting .461. from the number two spot. Wolcik has lettered four times in baseball and three times as a forward in hockey and was a part of the now fabled 2010-2011 Vikings squad that went from the bottom of the Cape Ann League to two-deep in the state tournament.

“We were the underdogs and people had written us off,” Wolcik said of his sophomore season on the ice. “But we know that hard work can go far and that is what our coach, (Drew Wile), put into us. You’ve got to want it. You’ve got to eat, live, breathe hockey. Once you buy into that, you can be successful. And now that the rest of our programs, baseball, basketball, football see that our hockey team’s had that success, they want to be like that. A lot of kids are adapting. The culture of Triton sports is changing and I really like that.”

According to first-year Vikings coach Ryan McCarthy, Wolcik and his fellow senior tri-captains Dmitri Hunt and Nick Cornoni have been invaluable to him this season.

“I like the way he is taking on the responsibility as a captain,” said McCarthy. “He is the voice of our team. He is the backbone of our team as far as being the catcher. He has set a great example for these younger kids. And when you’re carrying six or seven sophomores, a freshmen and a few juniors, you really depend on your seniors to set the tone in the preseason and Cote, Nick and Dmitri certainly did that.”

At 8-10, the Vikings will have to take both their games at this year’s Bert Spofford Memorial Tournament in Georgetown this weekend to make the post season. But as last year’s Spofford champs, the Vikes were looking to do that anyway.

“We’re going to be in pressure situations the rest of the way,” said McCarthy. “Especially this weekend. We’re trying to defend the Spofford tournament, we won it last year, so there’s a pressure there in and of itself. And everyone knows we have to win these last two games to make our season go further. So, I’m very interested to see how, we as a team respond to that.”

“We’ve gone through a tough stretch,” said Wolcik. “We obviously need these two wins but we are coming in confident. We’re the defending champs and if you want this, you’ve got to take this from us. It’s not just our title but a spot in the (state) tourney that is on the line.”