NBHS Boys Baseball Set for Season Opener
The New Britain High School Boys’ Baseball program will open its season next week and head coach Roberto Mercado is looking forward to a successful season both on and off the field. Since 2011, the program has had two all-state players, three academic all-state players, and ten all-conference players.
Mercado and the rest of this coaching staff within the program would like to see this success continue and are working hard to make it happen. To help their players achieve success, they have created several goals for this coming season.
“Our first goal is to be eligible for the state tournament. Our second would be to win the conference and our third would be to win the state tournament. Our fourth and final goal is to have all our players graduate from high school and continue their education even if they aren’t playing baseball in college.”
This season, the team will be bringing back a number of talented seniors including all-state catcher Kevin Dukes. On the mound, the Canes will have four seniors who can dominate at any time: Danny Annear, Kevin Fazio, Malcom McCloud, and Toby Taradeina. They will be supported on defense by players such as Hugh Crundwell, Elvin Silva and Miguel Ortiz. It is the talent and veteran leadership that Mercado hopes will propel the Hurricanes to the next level this season.
Off the field, Mercado has made it a point to get the players involved in the community and to help them experience different things that they probably wouldn’t have been able to on their own. Under Mercado’s leadership since 2011, the baseball program has taken a trip each year at the beginning of the season. This year, they will be going to Philadelphia on April 12 to attend a Phillies game and to also visit historical sites. The trip not only allows the kids to have fun and see a ball game, but it also gives them an opportunity of a lifetime that they may have not been able to have without the support of the community. Mercado understands how important it is to the kids.
“In the past 3 years that I have been coaching, we have been able to go to Baltimore, the Baseball Hall of Fame, Washington DC, and visit three ball parks and meet a couple of major league baseball players like
Wilson Ramos from the Nationals (thanks to Bill Dowling from the Rock Cats) and Brandon Phillips from the Cincinnati Reds. Trips like these give our inner city student athletes an opportunity to travel and experience new things. It also builds team chemistry,” he said.
The Varsity team will open its season on Wednesday, April 9 at 3:45 PM against Weaver at Beehive Stadium. They will then play EC Goodwin on April 11 at 3:45 PM also at Beehive Stadium. Mercado is assisted by Ron Jakubowski, Nick Jakubowski and Matt Dowling. The JV team is managed by Rocky
Gagliardi and he is assisted by Albert Pienkowski. The Freshman team is managed by Chad Heath and he is assisted by Matthew Cannata.