ME Baseball: Defending Div. 4 Champs Seek Winning Formula in 2023


What’s next after winning a state title?

The Hornets had a season to remember last spring, winning the Div. 4 State Championship and further solidifying the team’s status as a top-level program in Massachusetts.  While those on the outside may assume this year’s squad will feel the pressure to live up to what their predecessors did, the ME baseball coach says his group has already hit the reset button for this season.

“I don’t think there is pressure, more of the team understanding it’s a new year and trying to find its own identity,” says Hornets coach BJ Weed.  “I do believe it does give you momentum and understanding what it takes.”

This is a younger squad than last season, with five seniors graduating a year ago and three starters from the championship team coming back: Mike Deoreo, Henry Otterbein and Zak Porat are looking to show the way for this group.

“They show great leadership and have done a great job helping our young players out,” Weed says of the captains.  “We have a young starting lineup.  We have not found our complete makeup yet but hopefully will soon.”

Deoreo led the Hornets as the team’s top hitter and will be counted upon for similar production in 2023.  Otterbein gets on base at a rapid clip and is the team’s top outfielder.  Porat is great at working the count and making the most of every at-bat.

It may take some time for this group to work out the kinks: Manchester Essex lost its opening game to Marblehead by a 12-1 score on April 10, and will host Rockport in the home opener on April 15.  While the loss to the Magicians gave the Hornets plenty to work on, their coach believes that the core of something good is already in place.

“[Our] strength is our team connection and willingness to play together.”

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