Phillips Exeter Academy (NH)

Bruce Hefflinger
PBR New England Senior Writer

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To view the full list of 2023 Team Previews that we have already completed, please click here.

2023 Spring Team Preview: Phillips Exeter Academy

EXETER, N.H. - The one-two pitching punch of Andrew Houghton and Beau Elson is back bringing promise to the upcoming baseball season at Phillips Exeter Academy.

“Having them back to lead our pitching staff is huge,” noted third-year head coach Tim Mitropoulos about the left-handed duo.

Houghton, a senior committed to UMass Amherst, pitched in 13 games a year ago, while Elson, the 40th-rated 2024 southpaw in the nation who is committed to Columbia, threw in a dozen games producing a 2.25 ERA and 1.24 WHIP.

Another key component back for this season is senior catcher Gabe Marcoux.

“He caught every inning for us last spring, while hitting .330,” Mitropoulos noted. “We look for Gabe to continue that great production behind the plate and in the middle of the lineup this spring.”

The Exeter mentor is hopeful that the returning trio can help overcome the loss of six starters from an 11-10-1 team that finished 6-5 in conference play before reaching the semifinals in the league playoffs.

“I feel our strengths are our pitching and defense,” explained Mitropoulos, who did a post-grad year at Phillips Exeter and graduated in 2010. “With Beau and Andrew at the top, we should be able to keep lineups off balanced. I like how our defense looks so far and if we do not give teams extra outs, we will be in every game.

“Finding ways to score runs is going to be the challenge for us this spring,” added Exeter alum, who must replace four key run producers from last year’s lineup in J.R. Bozek (now at Fairleigh Dickinson), Josh Morissette, Jake Shapiro and Dean Hall. “Losing a lot of our offensive production from last spring will be hard to replace, but we feel we have guys who are ready to step up and compete at the plate.” 

One of those is Will Cooke, the second-ranked junior shortstop in New Hampshire.

“He will be at the top of our lineup,” the Exeter head coach said of the 79th-rated 2024 in New England. “Will is someone who has very good hands and good athleticism in the field. He has a smooth, left-handed swing with good pop, who lives gap to gap. He is also a good base runner. I believe Will is going to have a very strong spring for us.”

Sophomore Sam Roberts and freshmen Dana Mussulman and Nate Edin are three newcomers that also could make a major impression.

“Those three are not going to be starters right away, but they will find ways to impact the varsity lineup, either at the plate or on the mound this spring,” Mitropoulos related. 

With the strong pitching back, the key to success is obvious according to the head coach of the Lion Rampant.

“Playing good solid defense, not giving teams extra outs or free bases, and being a solid 1-9 lineup where everyone does their job to help the team win,” Mitropoulos said of what he is looking for out of the 2023 Exeter team.

Admittedly, playing in the Central New England Prep School Baseball League will be difficult as usual.

“Our league has some of the best pitchers in prep school baseball,” Mitropoulos concluded. “Every game you are going to face multiple collegiate pitchers. We also have some tremendous athletes/hitters, so it makes it fun to see how those matchups will play out this spring.

“Every game in our league is a battle,” Mitropoulos added. “You can look at our league standings from last year. Every game is tight and competitive. There are no easy wins and I expect that to be the same this year. We’re looking forward to competing against some of the best baseball talent in prep school this spring.”

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