Pitching, Defense Keys To Success For Pinkerton Academy

Bruce Hefflinger
PBR New England Senior Writer

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Pitching, Defense Keys To Success For Pinkerton Academy

DERRY, N.H. - There have been four Final Four appearances in the past eight years but that coveted state title has eluded Pinkerton Academy. A large number of holes need to be filled if Steve Campo is to lead the Astroman on another long journey to state.

“Last year's team would have been one of the most experienced groups we have had in recent years,” reflected the eighth-year head coach. “We lost out on three players that would have been four-year varsity guys, all of which pitched.”

But four key returnees are back to help try and make up for the loss of graduates Brady Day (Kansas State), Kameron Levesque (NECC), Frank Gulezian (NECC), JD Normand (New England College), Jimmy Bodreau (UMass Dartmouth), Derek Hiscox, Jagger Bell and Mike Packowski. Additionally, Asa Runge, the third-ranked 2021 left-handed pitcher in New England, will be attending College of Charleston and is taking a gap year.

“We have a couple of guys at the front of the rotation that have the ability to take a game over,” Campo said in looking at the upcoming campaign. “But we have a lot of inexperienced players this season.”

Liam Doyle, the second-rated 2022 left-handed pitcher in New England and the 52nd-ranked nationally, anchors the pitching staff with Ethan Burgess, the 27th-ranked senior outfielder, also expected to help out in the rotation.

Seniors Tyler Michaud, a Husson College commit, and Jason Spinale solidify the middle infield at shortstop and second base, respectively.

“This group works hard everyday,” explained Campo, who has a record of 100-53 in his time at Pinkerton. “There is a willingness to learn and get better.”

Newcomers will be needed to help replace the large list of players lost, with Thomas Rioux, Max Lukeman, Cole Yennaco and Jacob Albert among those to watch, according to Campo. Rioux, ranked 41st among New England junior right-handed pitchers, is being counted on to contribute on the mound and at first base. Yennaco, the 44th-rated 2023 catcher, and Lukeman, the number 105-ranked 2022 outfielder, will both pitch in addition to seeing time in the field. Albert, the 14th-rated sophomore outfielder, brings more promise in the lower grades.

“We will need to find a way to win close games to be successful this season,” related Campo. “Our success is going to be based on how we pitch and play defense.”

Campo understands what is ahead for Pinkerton, which last made a state title game appearance in 2014, with its most recent state crown coming in 1986.

“Division 1 will have a lot of top-end arms competing this spring,” Campo pointed out. “There are going to be a lot of games when runs will be hard to come by. I'd expect Winnacunnet, Exeter, Portsmouth, Concord and Londonderry to be the teams that everyone is chasing.”

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