By Ellen Oliver
The Nashoba Chieftains baseball team took the first step towards their season goal of winning a state title. On May 16, the Chieftains battled Hudson for the rights to the Midland B title. A win for Hudson would have kept the title within their reach, but Nashoba’s 2-0 victory put the title in Nashoba’s hands.
“Every season we want to get to Districts, get a District title, and then go to States,” said Coach Chuck Schoolcraft. “It’s no secret. Every team has the same goals.”
Senior captain Jack Sarnoski came out big for the Chieftains, landing a double in the fourth that pushed Nashoba’s winning runs across the plate. Junior Kevin Connelly reached on a walk, followed by a bunt from junior Nick Campana that put runners on first and second. A wild pitch during junior John Hannon’s at–bat moved Connelly and Campana to scoring position. After the Hawk’s pitcher sent Hannon and senior Ian Coull back to the bench, Sarnoski stepped in to quell the Hawk’s title dreams.
Schoolcraft said Nashoba’s success this year is based on a balanced team. “Our pitching is very, very good. Our defense is very, very good,” said Schoolcraft. “Every game, someone else is stepping up to the plate.”
Anchoring the defense is a strong stable of pitchers. “Drew Foster is our ace,” said Schoolcraft. Foster, a senior, is 5-0, including the complete game win over Hudson. Campana and Sarnoski are both 4-0 with senior captain Jordan Edmonds and junior Nick Bosari each taking a loss in addition to their combined three wins. “The whole team has a combined 1.04 ERA,” said Schoolcraft prior to the Hudson game.
Senior captain John Militano is the Chieftain’s batting leader, notching a .425 average, four doubles and three triples. Campana hovers at .372 with 12 RBIs, three doubles and a home run. Like Campana, Foster helps out on both sides of the plate, his .342 average bolstered by two homeruns. Coull, Connelly, and Edmonds all have batting averages securely over .300.
“They are a good group of kids. They work hard and they like each other,” he said. While a state title may be the ultimate goal, Schoolcraft, a seasoned coach, knows it doesn’t take much in baseball to derail dreams. “This time of year, a team gets one loss and takes a spin,” he said.
But the coach has faith in this particular team, praising their work ethic and abilities. “This team is pretty focused. They understand what’s going on and what they can accomplish,” he said. “They believe in themselves. They are very confident, but don’t take anything for granted.”
The team is 16-2 and has two games left in the regular season. Already guaranteed a place in the Central Mass. Division 1 playoffs, Schoolcraft is asking his team for only one thing; continue what they’ve been doing. “I tell them the sky’s the limit for them, but they have to stay grounded,” he said.