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  • Writer's pictureDan Russoman

Baseball teams head south to prepare for season

HAMMONTON—Outdoor workouts in mid-March can be tough for high school baseball teams, and to help alleviate some of the issues that early spring can deliver in southern New Jersey, many programs have opted to travel further south to help them prepare for a new season.

Locally, both Hammonton High School and St. Joseph Academy’s baseball teams traveled down the coast for some early spring competition and workouts.

“We had a nice trip,” St. Joseph coach Chris Caprio said.

St. Joseph recently spent a week in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

“Obviously, the weather was a little nicer. It’s been so cold and wet here, and it gave us a chance to work more outside,” Caprio said.

Caprio has been pleased with the progress his young team has made since practice began in early March, and the recent trip helped the team on and off the field.

“We’re very young; a lot of freshmen and sophomores, and the trip gave them a chance to become more familiar and also to be able to work on fundamentals,” Caprio said.

Hammonton was in Orlando, Florida for a week, and head coach Gregg Silvesti agreed on some of the advantages of working out in another state.

“The weather is the biggest advantage down there. We were able to play four games and get two practices in. That let us stretch out our pitchers more than what we would do here in bad weather,” he said.

Both coaches were also pleased to be able to get on the field and face some tough competition.

“Again, with a young team we were able to play some teams that were very heavy with upperclassmen, so for us, to have kids 14 or 15 years old facing pitchers who were seniors, that’s a big jump and it showed us how far we have to go to get to that level,” Caprio said.

Silvesti said the pitching in Florida wasn’t up to the quality his players are used to facing, leading to some worries as the season nears.

“We do see better pitching here in South Jersey, so a concern of mine is hitting better pitching,” Silvesti said.

Overall, both coaches were happy with their trips.

“The team played well,’ Silvesti said.

“We got some great pitching and our outfield is very fast and has the potential to steal some would-be hits,” he said.

Caprio said St. Joe’s trip let him know what the Wildcats need to work on in the next few weeks.

“We learned some things about ourselves, what we do well and what we don’t,” he said.


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