By Jim Sullivan
---- — Now in his 11th year as baseball coach of the Northeast team in the Bay State Games, Ryan McCarthy is looking to take the current defending champions to their fifth gold medal under his tutelage at Bentley University this week.
But McCarthy also knows the Games’ greatest attraction to his players.
“I couldn’t even tell you how many college scouts were there (Monday),” said McCarthy. “But I also know there were three professional scouts. The White Sox were there, the Phillies and the Braves.”
Heavy stuff for an underclassmen tournament, but for McCarthy and his players, the looks are what it is all about.
“It’s about the kids and the exposure they’re going to get,” said McCarthy. “And hopefully, it opens doors for them.”
Making things easier for McCarthy will be the three local players who will be playing for him in Waltham. Playing second base will be Triton’s Brad Whitman, who also plays for McCarthy with the Vikings. Squatting behind the plate for the Northeast is St. John’s Prep student by way of Newburyport Tyler Chaisson. Finally, in his second year on the squad, Georgetown’s Colby Ingraham will be patrolling centerfield and playing some shortstop.
“It helps the kids that are down there for the first time,” McCarthy said of his returning Bay Staters like Ingraham. “They take the leadership role and just kind of go out there and get them through it. They show the new kids how to get it done, and Colby has done a great job for us. He’s just one of those kids. You want him around. He’s a gamer and he leads by example.”
Both Whitman and Chaisson are seeing the Games for the first time.
The Northeast has gone 1-1 with a 7-3 loss to Coasta, Monday and a 13-5 win over Southeast Tuesday.
“I was little nervous, but now I know what it takes and I think I’m ready,” Whitman said.
“This is Brad’s first gig at it, and I think it’s good for him,” McCarthy said of Whitman, who may see some time at shortstop as well. “He’s getting some exposure for college. I know that he wants to be a college baseball player. He had a good junior year for us at Triton. He got elected captain for next year. It’s good for him to get some exposure.”
But that exposure can be stressful for the players.
“I can imagine (it’s intimidating) for the pitchers,” said Whitman. “Because all of the (scouts) are sitting there with radar guns, seeing if they can throw hard.”
Making things a little easier for Whitman is having his varsity coach with him in the dugout.
“I know what he expects of players and what he wants us to do in each game,” Whitman said of McCarthy. “He doesn’t want to get into a hole in the beginning of the game, and that happened to us a lot this (past) season.”
This local trio is playing alongside teammates from Chelmsford, Tewksbury, St. Mary’s of Lynn, Lynn English, North Reading, Lynnfield, Reading, Masconomet, Lowell, Bishop Fenwick, Andover, Danvers and Gloucester.
“They kind of come together through the games,” McCarthy said of all the diverse talent that he is managing for the five-game series. “Some kids pick it up quicker than others, and I think we’ve got some really good talent down there.”
“I like meeting some of the other kids from around the area,” said Chaisson, who went 2 for 2 at the plate Tuesday with two RBI. “The competition is a lot better. It’s a challenge, but at the same time, it’s rewarding and it’s a good experience.”