WINCHENDON, Mass. -- When John Toffey first stepped foot on the Winchendon School campus at the beginning of last year, he was given the task of revitalizing the baseball program by transforming it into a full-fledged varsity unit. Prior to his arrival, Winchendon operated more like a club team, playing a limited number of games, mostly against junior varsity opponents.
Toffey, who also serves as Director of Admissions here, has built himself quite a coaching resume throughout his time at Salisbury School, Cheshire Academy and now here at Winchendon. He came to the Central Mass. institution on the advice of his colleague and friend Scott Pottbecker, who was Assistant Head of School at Cheshire before accepting a similar position at Winchendon. Once Toffey landed at Winchendon, he immediately instilled his coaching wisdom and philosophies to his new team. The results of which have certainly proven to be over the top. Last spring, Winchendon won the NEPSAC Small School Prep title, finishing with a record of 20-6.
"As last season developed, and by spending more time with the kids, you could see the potential was certainly there because of how much they enjoyed being around one another and how hard they all worked," said Toffey, who holds a remarkable career prep won-loss record of 155-15. "They would work with our strength and conditioning coach before class at 6 a.m. and then go back again after school. They always wanted more in terms of extra practice time, extra batting practice and extra fielding practice. It was wonderful to see."
Last season initially began as a sort of start-from-scratch scenario. It was the first time the team had ever taken a southern preseason trip or played a schedule consisting of more than 20 varsity games. It was equally important to take on an identity and stick with it throughout the season.