Matt Petherick is entering his 13th year at the helm for Milton Academy, but none of the 13 have started like this one.
Like every other prep school coach in New England, Petherick is sorting his way through an extended layoff due to the cancellation of the 2020 season at the beginning of the pandemic. The 2021 season comes with a reminder that the pandemic is not yet over. Petherick’s squad is now trying to navigate COVID testing, contact tracing and quarantine periods before it can get the season off the ground.
Petherick recently joined the New England Baseball Journal Podcast to talk about that process.
“We haven’t been able to do much on campus as a team; we will start as a team on April 5,” Petherick said. “They’ve been working hard on their own and in the weight room, outside and in the gym. They’re doing what they can with club teams. Most of them played a full schedule of games over the summer. When I coached Northeast Baseball, we played 40 games.”
While club and travel baseball operated fairly close to normal last summer, the upcoming ISL season will be shortened and will not decide a champion.
“We’re not going to have any ISL champion; that’s only because we’re not going to play all of the schools we typically do,” Petherick said. “This year, we’re looking at an April 16 start date. The season will be six weeks long. We’ll do two games a week — either Friday/Saturday or a doubleheader on Saturday. We’ll play the same school in both games. There won’t be any midweek games at all as we go through all of the testing protocols.”
Petherick also gave a preview of some of the players to watch in the ISL in 2021.
“There are a couple of guys at Groton throwing 90-plus mph — AJ Colaruso and Dylan Vigue,” Petherick said. “Middlesex has Kyle Wolff, who is committed to BC. He hit above .500 as a freshman. He’s a feared two-way guy. St. George’s has Kobe Julks. At Nobles, they have Luca Danos and the catcher, Jake Bollin. They’re really good. You can take your pick from any of the schools. Plus, we’re sitting there with no data to go off from last year. I don’t know who will make that jump from a high school freshman to a top junior. We haven’t seen these guys in two years.”
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