Ashland Legion Team Aiming For Deep Run In Playoffs

KEN HAMWEY Staff Sports Writer
Issue Date: 
August, 2019
Article Body: 

Jake Obid played three seasons for the Ashland Legion baseball team and served as an assistant coach last year. Now, the 20-year-old is Post 77’s head coach and he’s a good example that youth can be a plus.
Ashland’s squad, which is comprised of players from Holliston, Hopkinton and Ashland, has enjoyed an ultra successful campaign, posting a 12-0 record at Local Town Pages deadline and qualifying for a berth in the District 5 playoffs.
Obid, a three-sport competitor at Holliston High, was a two-time Tri Valley League all-star in baseball and was a captain in baseball and soccer. A skilled player who welcomed leadership responsibilities, he often was in the spotlight.
The Holliston native was a pitcher, outfielder and first baseman who hit .405 his senior year. His final year with Ashland’s Legion team concluded with dynamic pitching numbers. He had a 7-1 record and his earned-run average was 2.15. That 2017 contingent won the Zone title before losing in the State semifinals to Braintree.
His well-defined goals for this year reflect his organized and persevering style. “We wanted to improve on last year’s 14-4 record, win the Zone title and capture the State championship,’’ he recalled. “And, if we win the States, our objective is to aim for a Regional crown. Off the field, we wanted to build a strong and positive culture and to create a family atmosphere.’’
At Local Town Pages deadline, Post 77 was preparing to start the District playoffs. Obid and his 18 players entered the tourney hoping that the strengths that carried the squad during the regular season emerge again.
“Our assets include athleticism, leadership, depth and experience,’’ he emphasized. “Another key is our players all have a high baseball IQ.’’ Dedication and desire also factor into the equation.
The coach, however, has relied on a style that has all the ingredients for success. He’s all about adapting and adjusting.
“Some situations may call for a small-ball approach and others may require us to swing away,’’ he noted. “Pitching and defense are crucial for success but it also helps to maintain a high energy level and to keep the players positive.’’
Obid, a junior who is majoring in English and secondary education at UMass-Amherst, is quick to deflect praise for this year’s upbeat season to his four assistants — Mike Messier (Hopkinton), Shawn Babineau (Ashland). Andrew Keim (Holliston) and Dylan O’Leary.
Following is a capsule look at the players with statistics (through 12 games) and comments from Obid:
LUKE GUSTAVSON — A pitcher who’s a sophomore at Tufts University, the left-hander has an effective assortment of a fastball (85 mph), curve and change-up. His velocity and location are assets and he’s a quality leader. Able to keep hitters off balance, he was the Tri Valley League’s MVP as an Ashland High senior.
ALEX AMALFI — An outstanding pitcher and hitter, the right-hander played a key role in Ashland High’s appearance in the Division 3 Sectional final in June. Labeled “awesome’’ by Obid, his fastball travels 87 mph and he also possesses an effective curve and change-up. A capable contact hitter, he bats fifth or sixth in the order. (.412 batting average).
JACKSON HORNUNG — A shortstop who’ll be playing for Skidmore College next spring, he can also be employed as a catcher, the position he played at AHS in the spring. An all-around player, he’s a right-handed hitter who relies on power. A phenomenal fielder, he finished his high school career with 100-plus hits. (.588 batting average, 10 RBI, 18 runs, 14 steals).
DOMINIC CAVANAGH — A pitcher/third baseman who’ll be a senior at Ashland High, he banks on a dynamic breaking ball and also a curve and change-up. An “awesome’’ pitcher, he’s a top-notch leader who supplies power at the plate. (.435 batting average, 9 RBI, 12 runs, 3-0, 1.62 E.R.A, 23 strikeouts).
BRANDON GROVER — A centerfielder, he’s fast, super on defense and has a strong arm. A hard-worker who displays lots of passion for the game, he hits for power and can also spray the ball for singles and doubles. He’ll be a senior at AHS in the fall. (.357 batting average, 8 RBI, 10 runs).
ANDREW STERNICK — A versatile utility player, he can compete in the outfield, at second base or shortstop. Enrolled at UMass-Lowell, he hits consistently and is a quality fielder with very good arm strength.
DANTE D’AVANZO — A second baseman or shortstop, he relies on a great work ethic. Strong on defense, he’s improving at the plate. A spot starter, he provides quality infield depth. He’ll be a sophomore at AHS in the fall.
OWEN WARD — A hard-working pitcher whose assortment is reliable, he locates the ball effectively. He’ll be attending Mass. College of Pharmacy in the fall. (2-0, 2.80 E.R.A.).
SEAN JEWETT — A catcher, whose defense is fantastic and his arm is strong, he’s one of the smartest players on the squad. A quality hitter, he’ll be attending Stonehill College. (.528 batting average, 15 RBI, 12 runs).
MATTY TOMACELLI — A pitcher/first baseman, the right-hander throws a fastball, curve and knuckleball. A dependable hitter, he provides the team with depth. He’ll be attending UMass-Amherst. (1-0, 0.00 E.R.A., 13 innings).
BEN FINK — A right-handed pitcher, he can also play third base. Relying on a fastball, curve and change-up, his mechanics are dependable. Can be used as a starter or in relief. He’s enrolled at the University of Indiana. (1-0, 0.00 E.R.A., 12 innings).
NICK CALABRESE — A dynamic defensive right-fielder, he has “a fantastic approach’’ at the plate. A patient contact hitter, he’ll deliver his share of singles. Will be a senior at Xaverian in the fall. (.290 batting average).
SAM FARRELL — An outfielder, he possesses lots of speed and he also hits for power. A top-notch athlete, he’ll be a senior at Holliston High this fall.
KEVIN BALEWICZ — A solid all-around player, he plays left field. He’s a capable hitter, who utilizes a strong arm in the outfield, he returns to Holliston High in the fall as a junior.
LOUIE DENISON — A right-handed submarine pitcher, he’s a relief hurler who relies on pin-point control. He’ll be a junior at Holliston this fall.
COLE GLASSBURN — A second baseman, he’s an excellent fielder who relies on great hands. An improved contact hitter, he’ll be a freshman at Catholic University in Washington, D.C. (.320 batting average, 3-0, 1.47 E.R.A.)
DREW RANCATORE — A left fielder who’ll be a senior at Hopkinton High in the fall, he’s a power hitter who has all-around ability. On or off the field, he’s a quality teammate.
LAWRENCE TANG — The first baseman/third baseman will be a sophomore at Belmont Hill this fall. A reliable power hitter, who’s only 14 years old, he’s improved his fielding at both positions.