Exeter-West Greenwich baseball coach Dave Gamba is well aware that replacing players like T.J. Cacciola and Zach Bourgeois won’t be easy.
“You don’t see that kind of player too often,” Gamba says. “These guys were baseball players’ baseball players. It’s tough to
lose those kinds of players.”
That is how the carousel of high school athletics works, some years you came away with a silver ring and others you come up empty.
That’s not to say EWG won’t have a solid team this season but if it does it’s going to have to rely on a number of young or inexperienced players to step up and its few seasoned players to lead them.
“We’re somewhat young,” Gamba says. “A lot of the guys haven’t played and we’re going to have a tough time this season.”
What Gamba is speaking to moreso than his team is the makeup of the league in which the Knights are in this season.
The Rhode Island Interscholastic League shook up the snow globe once again this season and eliminated Division III in baseball.
That left 27 teams in Division II and of the contenders most of them reside in Division II-South with Knights.
Chariho was an playoff team in D-I last season and Tiverton struggled but both have been moved to D-II South with perennial contenders West Warwick, Westerly and Prout.
That being said, EWG should still be competitive with the rest of the division thanks to its more experienced players.
According to Gamba, senior Konner Rogers – who pitches and plays first base – has gotten off to a strong start and has been hitting the ball well.
Junior Ryan Ricard threw in the Knights’ opener at Tiverton Tuesday – where EWG came away hard-luck losers in a 1-0 final – and allowed no runs on two hits in six innings pitched while striking out eight.
Senior James Fiske will take ball on the mound as the Knights’ no. 2 pitcher and will catch when he’s not on the mound.
Matt Ricard, Justin Kennedy, Marc Prashaw, Nick Narkievich and Mike McAfee are all upperclassmen that Gamba expects to contribute this season.
After that, underclassmen Aaron Amitrano, Anthony Ventura, Austin Coker, Ian Tuchon and Christian Soucy are prospects Gamba is hoping can help out in some way this season.
EWG (0-1 Division II-South) will be back out on the diamond Friday at 4 p.m. when it travels to Newport to take on Rogers at Cardines Field.