The last time we saw the Falmouth High School baseball team in action they left the field in utter shock. The Clippers had Nauset High School reeling and on the ropes in the first round of the Division II state tournament, only to see a big lead slip away in the late innings and a walk-off grand slam end their year.
A little more than nine months have elapsed since that day and the Clippers have their sights on erasing that painful memory and creating some happier ones this spring. With a senior-heavy team, the maroon and white have the parts in place to make a run at the Atlantic Coast League title and another postseason appearance.
“They know what to expect,” Head Coach Tom Kelliher said. “They have aspirations, they want to get to the tournament and make some noise. They can compete for the ACL. They have to stay healthy.”
Falmouth has a bona fide No. 1 starter in senior right-hander Kyle Kasprzyk. The big righty has a power arm and mixes his other pitches well. When the senior all-star is on the hill, Falmouth always has a chance to win. Kasprzyk will also serve as the DH for the Clippers when he’s not on the mound and will bat in the third hole.
Ryan Johnson, a junior right-hander, will be the No. 2 starter for the Clippers this year. Johnson was up-and-down last year, but Coach Kelliher believes he’s primed to assert himself as a legitimate threat in the ACL and surprise some teams along the way. “We have our horse in Kasprzyk, and Johnson is right behind him,” the coach said.
Lefties Willie Adams and Andrew McGill will both see some starts for FHS. Adams, who was out with an injury last year, has a good arm and should be a nice addition to the roster. McGill decided not to play baseball last year, and he regretted that decision. He comes back to the team with a ton of enthusiasm and gives the Clippers depth on the hill. Jameson Orr and lefty Mike Couhig will pitch in relief for FHS.
All-star Zach Zaino is back to lead the Clippers behind the plate. Zaino is one of the team’s best hitters and brings a fiery attitude to the field. He will bat second in the order.
Couhig, a solid all-around athlete, will start at first base. “He’s a great kid and he’s got a great arm,” Kelliher said.
Senior Matt Kinchla has earned the starting job at second base for the Clippers. The senior saw some time last season, and hopes to chip in at the plate from the bottom half of the order.
Senior James Burke, who played third base last year, is the starting shortstop for FHS. A free-swinging power hitter, Burke is the cleanup man at the plate and is another Clipper that plays the game hard all the time.
Trevor Theroux will be a busy guy for FHS. He will start at third base, and also serve as the backup to Zaino behind the plate. He will also bat in the middle of the order.
In the outfield, both McGill and Johnson will be starters. McGill, who showed he hasn’t missed a beat when he lined the first pitch he saw against Mashpee in a scrimmage on Wednesday into left-center for a double, is the leadoff hitter and will be in center. Johnson, who also had a long double in his first at-bat of that scrimmage, is in left. The right fielder will be sophomore Blake Murphy, who will bat behind Johnson in the six hole. Murphy is an athletic player with some power.
Junior Jake Beaton will be a utility corner infielder for the Clippers. Seniors Adams, Adam Thackston, Jared Crawford and Orr will all see some time in the outfield along the way.
As usual, the ACL will be a tough road to hoe. Plymouth North is the favorite. The Eagles have been in the Division II state championship game each of the last two seasons, finishing as runner-up last year after having won it all in 2011. Dennis-Yarmouth and Marshfield are also fighting for the top spot, and Falmouth should be there as well.