Darien baseball team putting the pieces together after graduating 13

The Darien baseball team promises to have a new look on Opening Day 2013, as 13 seniors from last season's squad were lost to graduation.

Graduating so many players can be detrimental to any team's chances, but fifth year coach Mike Scott sounds excited to see last year's role players evolve into this year's key players, as position battles continue to play out all over the diamond in the preseason.

"We're going with who we've been most impressed with in the preseason practices and the preseason games," Scott said. "We lost our whole outfield from last year. A lot of these guys were with us at the varsity level last year; they just didn't see action. Now's their chance to step up and prove they can make an impact here."

Third baseman and captain Andrew Maley also believes that the massive overturn will bring out the best in him and his teammates, as many starting jobs are there for the taking.

"Coach has been stressing a lot that nothing's ever set," Maley said. "We've had a ton of different lineups (in scrimmages) and so it pushes everyone to give 110 percent every practice, every scrimmage. Everyone's fighting for a spot all the time, and it pushes everyone in a good way."

Some of the biggest losses from last season include Sam Gillespie, Tom Carruthers, Mike Stovall, Bryan Previte and Kyle Mangan.

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"We've been doing really well in the preseason, especially our pitchers," said MacKenzie Glavin, a captain and Darien's likely Opening Day starting pitcher. "We did lose a lot of guys but we have some juniors like Andrew Nault and Luke Mangan that look strong so far. Our bats have been pretty lively as well."

Glavin, Mangan, Nault, Matt Morr and Matt Brown are in line to log innings on the hill for the Blue Wave, and all are listed as pitchers exclusively. Additionally, infielder Liam Naughton and outfielders Cameron Smith and Peter Archey are also slated for some innings on the hill.

"We don't have any strikeout pitchers on this team, so we really need guys to hit their locations and really make the other team put the ball in play so our defense can go to work," Scott said. "The more our starters can work deep into games, the better chance we're going to have to win."

According to Scott, last year's 8-12 mark was "a bit of disappointment," but the season certainly wasn't without its highs. The Blue Wave won three of their last four games to barely sneak into the Class L state tournament as the No. 33 seed, defeated No. 32 Rockville in the qualifying round and knocked off top-seeded Cheney Tech in the first round with a 4-0 win.

"We finished pretty strong last year, but we started kind of slow. This year we want to come out of the gate a little better," Maley said. "You lose a lot of seniority and some experience, but we do have a lot of young guys with a lot of talent coming in too."

Senior Jack Travers is likely to handle the bulk of catching duties with sophomore Anthony DiMeglio also in the mix. Naughton and Daly Hebert are candidates for first base. Drew Dirvin is the likely frontrunner at second base. Others infielders competing for playing time include Bobby Fitzpatrick, Brendan Donohue, George Reed, Dylan Carruthers and Ames Murray.

With last season's starting outfield all out of the picture, the door is wide open for players such as Archey, Smith Nick Pettit, Carl Sowell, Tommy DiMauro and Harrison Perley.

After a small taste of postseason success in the state tournament last year, Glavin and company are also shooting for the conference tournament.

"We'd like to make FCIACs this year. The 12-win mark is kind of our goal for the season," Glavin said. "(Position battles) have helped raise the intensity level this preseason. A lot of guys are definitely challenging seniors for spots, so I think it's healthy."

jchik@bcnnew.com Twitter: @jchik17