BYFIELD — Ryan McCarthy expected his first season as Triton’s head baseball coach to be somewhat of a rollercoaster ride, and his young team has provided that very experience through the opening month.
The Vikings (5-5) dropped to .500 yesterday with an 11-10 loss to Lynnfield. The rollercoaster started as early as the opening week for Vikings, when they lost their first two games of the season. They responded by winning five of their next six. They are currently riding a two-game losing streak.
Nate Estabrook was 4 for 4 yesterday with three runs and two stolen bases. Nick Cornoni had three hits, two RBI and a run. Jack Germinara also had three hits, two RBI and a run, along with a stolen base. Dmitri Hunt, Jon Seward and Justin Cashman had two hits each.
McCarthy accepted the Triton position during the winter after spending 12 seasons as an assistant at Newburyport and Triton. Taking over a Triton squad that entered the season with three seniors, five juniors, five sophomores and one freshman, he set a goal for this season to earn the players’ trust.
“My thing come over here is that I knew we’d have a young, inexperienced team right away,” McCarthy said. “The biggest thing is I wanted the guys to buy in to what myself and the other coaches are doing. If I could get to do that early enough, I felt like we’d have success.”
On the heels of a 9-11 season last spring, Triton has had some success in the opening month. Two of the team’s five losses came against defending Division 3 state champion North Reading. The other three were one-run losses. As a team, the Vikings are hitting .321. They have 100 hits in 10 games, including 18 in yesterday’s loss.
“We’ve been in every game but one,” McCarthy said. “The big difference from the past is our hitting. I think that’s a big deal. One thing we’d like to shape up in the second half is our pitching and defense.”
McCarthy credits the leadership of seniors Cornoni, Hunt and Cote Wolcik for his team’s push for a state tournament berth. Wolcik, a catcher, is hitting .370 with six runs and five RBI. Cornoni, a pitcher and infielder, is hitting .412 with five runs and eight RBI. Junior Nate Estabrook has been the team’s best hitter, logging a .471 average with 12 runs and 12 stolen bases.
“Coach McCarthy’s style is more intense,” Wolcik said. “He has a lot of baseball knowledge about situations around the game. We’re doing the little things the right way, and I feel confident we’ll make the tournament.”
The Triton seniors have played under three head coaches in their four years. Steve Padovani coached the team in 2010, before Rich Dube led the squad in 2011 and 2012.
“Most kids have the same coach throughout the entire careers, and the coach can plan and help the kids,” Cornoni said. “It’s a little difficult for a new coach to figure out who everyone is, and where to put the kids. Being an assistant last year, Coach McCarthy got a chance to see some of us. He’s had us step up so far, and he’s doing a really good job.”