WATERTOWN - Perhaps the cut best remembered song by John Lennon from his 1980 comeback album “Double Fantasy” was the song “Starting Over.” For the Watertown High School baseball program and veteran coach Jerry Valentino, the song could be the operative slogan as he and his staff set out to put things back together after the cancellation of the 2020 season.
“That’s pretty much where we are, in a position of starting over again,” said Valentino as he looked over a recent practice at Al Deland Field.
“It’s tough to know where you are,” Valentino said. “It’s been so long but I and the coaches will do our best to get things together and see where the pieces fit.”
It will be an ongoing process; the team and lineup which will go up against Kennedy High School at Waterville Park on Saturday, April 10 at 11 a.m. may not resemble the team which faces Crosby High School in the (if all goes well) regular-season finale on May 20.
“That’s true; we’re going to be learning as the season goes on,” said Valentino, whose team last played on June 1, 2019 in the quarterfinals of the CIAC Class ‘M’ tournament.
In the early going, when the pitchers are ahead of the hitters, the area which Valentino believes is it’s greatest advantage could play a huge role in the destiny of the 2021 Indians.
“I think this year we have a lot of kids that can pitch and that should be the strength of our team,” Valentino pointed out.
John Biolo, Jake Gambee, Pat Mazzamarro, Ryan Glover and his identical twin brother Ian (go ahead, I dare you to tell them apart), Cam Guerrera, Henry Marino, Tyler Longoria, and Michael Gaudino will all be available to Valentino and pitching coach Rob Graziano.
“There are spots available and roles there for the taking;” said Valentino. “We just have to see how things sort themselves out over the course of (we hope) a 20-game season.
“Of course, the first priority will be keeping everyone healthy, which we know could present challenges and alter the course of things....we take it very seriously and want everyone safe,” said Valentino.
Going from sophomores to seniors are Biolo (who will also play infield), Jake Gambee (first base), and Mazzamaro (outfield).
The Indians will also have seven juniors: Ian Cronin (infield), Peyton Defeo (infield/outfield), Ryan Glover (outfield), Ian Glover (outfield), Guerrera (shortstop), Marino (outfield), and Sam Weidemier (outfield/infield).
See a pattern here?; yes, Valentino has lots of roster flexibility.
The sophomore trio consists of Nick Bristol (infield), Longoria (infield) and starting catcher Constantino Tanganelli.
Gaudino (infield) and Vincent Tanganelli (infield/outfield) are the freshman newcomers.
As for how it will all shake out, Valentino is as anxious as anyone to find out; after all, the Indians are starting over.
“It’s been a couple of years since we last played,” said the former WHS standout. “I’m hoping that we just keep getting better as the season progresses and are playing our best baseball late in the season when it counts most.”