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  • Writer's pictureLJ VP LAFIURA & ELLIOT POTOSKY

Junior Varsity baseball team in full bloom this coming season

(L-R) Associate head coach Gary Trottier, head coach Billy Uberti, and assistant coach Matt Sammarco standing outside their dugout during their opener against Fisher College. Trottier will lead the new leader of the JV. (Matt Johnson)

This spring, the men’s baseball program will have a Junior Varsity (JV) team, with hopes that the development of younger players will be improved through more playing experience on the diamond. It will mark the first time in program history that the university’s baseball team will feature both a varsity and JV squad. 

“I think this will help the varsity team tremendously. Younger guys will now have college experience playing in games and that makes a huge difference for nerves and comfortability,” senior outfielder Bryan Baumann said. “I definitely wish we had this my first year. We were a senior-heavy team so not many guys got in my first year. By having this program, we all could have possibly got an extra 20 at bats which makes a huge difference at the end of the day.“

The JV team will be helmed by Gary Trottier. A 2016 alumni and former captain of the Lasers, Trottier has been back with the program for four years and was promoted to head coach before the 2023 season.

“He’s done a great job as the associate head coach as well as a pitching coach on our varsity squad and proven to be a guy that players like to have around and show great respect,” senior infielder Camdyn Ames said. “He is very knowledgeable about the game of baseball and does a great job of passing that knowledge on to his players.”

Assistant coach and recruiting coordinator Matt Sammarco noted Trottier’s background in conditioning and kinesiology as a strong suit in his approach. “He is constantly trying to set our guys prepared, and getting their bodies ready,” Sammarco said. “[Trottier] opened my eyes to new lifts and workouts."

Sammarco, better known by his players as Coach “Ducky,” will help oversee player placement between the varsity team and the  JV team. Sammarco, a Lasell alumni who graduated a year after varsity Head Coach Billy Uberti, played outfield for the Lasers, leading the team in hits, batting average, and on-base percentage his senior year.

“Sammarco was a great addition to the program and does a great job developing the program,” Baumann said. “He has an extremely high care level which at the end of the day is the most important thing.”

“We have to make sure the coaching staff is attentive to the players’ needs,” Sammarco said. “It’s not just the nine guys in the lineup we need to worry about. There are guys in a couple of years that could be those nine guys, and we have to make sure the development is progressing every year and every day.”

While playing time is crucial for helping to improve the overall level of skill, Sammarco understands that there might be some disconnect within his group of players due to the amount of shifting between teams.

Senior outfielder CJ Mills approaching his teammates and coaches in the dugout. Once the JV season begins, players will be able to move between the two squads. (Matt Johnson)

“If we think a player can achieve at the varsity level, then we’re going to bring him up and we’re not going to think much about it,” Sammarco said. “There might be potential that we don’t see [in a player] because he doesn’t get that opportunity.”

When the JV team eventually begins their season, the schedule will not be as similar to that of the varsity team. According to Sammarco, the team will still play Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) rivals such as Norwich and Anna Maria, but it will also have to play non-conference Division III teams, with one potential opponent being from Canada. 

With the likelihood of the JV team facing squads that may be as good as the school’s varsity team, the Lasers will have a long road ahead but a chance to keep getting better. When it comes to fielding, Ducky wants the good outfielders to turn into great outfielders.

“Anyone can catch a flyball,” Sammarco said. “But can you take a perfect route to that double in the gap? If you start going one way and [the ball] starts going the other way, are you able to switch your body and get to that spot easily? I want guys to work together and grow.”

Aside from coaching, it will be on the more experienced varsity players to help guide the younger JV players. If the Lasers can create that type of culture where guys are always getting better, the sky is the limit for this program.


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