Peter Cleary’s sport of the future has pretty much been put on hold this summer.
Cleary, a standout three-sport athlete as a senior-to-be at Pentucket, is coming off an outstanding all-Cape Ann League baseball season for the Sachems. He was 5-2 on the mound with an 0.99 ERA, striking out 44 batters in 63.0 innings.
“My favorite sport is baseball and I think it’s my best sport,” said the 6-foot-3 Cleary, a resident of Groveland. “I felt I had a breakout year as a junior and I’ll probably play baseball in college.”
So why hasn’t Cleary played much baseball this summer? He played a bit for the Newburyport Legion team but not much else.
Part of the reason was a tired arm from a bit too much exertion in the spring, but it was also because of what he has been trying to accomplish this summer.
“My main goal (in the summer) was to put on weight and muscle,” he said. “It’s mainly for football but it will help with all my sports.”
With that in mind, Cleary has been religious with his weight training, attending the three-day-per-week sessions at the high school mixed in with some workouts at Cedardale. His bench press has already improved at least 40 pounds.
Cleary believes the added muscle should serve him well in football as he gears for a position switch. After two years as a wide receiver for quarterback Gus Flaherty, he’ll be playing quarterback this fall now that Flaherty has graduated and is on his way to a prep year at Cushing Academy.
“I love it,” said Cleary. “I feel it’s my natural position and it’s what I played in youth football and as a freshman.”
Thus far, the reports are that Cleary is looking like a natural. He has impressed in the 7 on 7 league at Haverhill Stadium, with Merrimac’s Jake Etter, who is another terrific 3-sport athlete, as his favorite receiver.
In addition to those games, Cleary has been working out once a week at Merrimack College and hooking up with Etter whenever possible.
But Cleary can’t spend all his time with football because there is basketball to keep in mind as well. A starter who averaged 8.6 points per game on Pentucket’s superb 19-3 squad last year, he has stepped it up this summer. In the recent Hoops for Hope playoffs, he had 19 points in a big win over Andover and 23 in a quarterfinal victory over Pelham.
In addition to Hoops for Hope, Cleary and his teammates also play in the St. John’s Prep League and spent time at a three-day team camp at Providence College. Thus, it’s no wonder that Cleary has spent little time on the diamond this summer. But baseball is not far from his mind when contemplating the future.
“Playing baseball at the University of Maine is my first option,” he said. “That’s my dream situation.”