Pitching Has Been Key for ME Baseball in 2024


Pitching, as much as anything else, has been the key so far for the Manchester Essex baseball team.

The Hornets have gone 4-4 to start the season and are still in the middle of fine-tuning everything around a pitching staff that has been an anchor for this team in the early going.

“We are pitching very well compared to last year and even in our losses we are competitive,” explains Manchester Essex baseball coach BJ Weed.  “We have improved on defense by making more plays and not letting errors snowball. We need to continue to improve on the little things offensively: bunting, baserunning and situational hitting.”

While the Hornets work out the kinks, they can lean on a pitching staff that includes Matteo Sarmanian, who has allowed only two earned runs over 16 innings and struck out 21, as well as Troy Flood, who is providing a boost both on the mound and at the plate (two home runs so far in 2024).

Outside of that, there have been signs of progress on defense and offense for Manchester Essex.

“We are finding our identity, moving some guys game-to-game to find our best formula.”

That includes some young, talented players finding their footing on the varsity stage.

“Parker Woodman as a sophomore has driven the ball very well in the four-hole,” explains Weed.  “Connor St. Laurant as a freshmen won the first base job and has played great defense and is starting to hit the ball well. An eighth grader, Nick Glass, has played beyond his years as our starting catcher and eighth Grader Kevin Heim has played a great SS for us when Troy pitches.”

Manchester Essex started the season with a pair of losses to Arlington Catholic and Marblehead, but a 6-1 win over Hamilton-Wenham on April 10 resulted in a three-game win-streak (with victories over Ipswich on April 16 and Amesbury on April 21).

“Beating Hamilton-Wenham in the third game of the year gave us confidence after starting 0-2,” says Weed.

Losses to Pentucket and North Reading followed, but the Hornets once again righted the ship with a 12-7 win over cross-town rival Rockport on April 27.  The hope is that the team can use that victory as the starting point for another winning streak, with a home game against Georgetown scheduled for April 30, Newburyport coming to town on May 2 (4:30 p.m.), and a rematch against Hamilton-Wenham at home on April 4.

“We have a tough week with an undefeated Georgetown team Tuesday, a very good Newburyport team Thursday, and Hamilton-Wenham Saturday,” says Weed.