WALLINGFORD — The Wallingford Silver Storm have embarked on their third season in the Connecticut Collegiate Baseball League with recently retired Sheehan head baseball coach Matt Altieri back at the helm.
The Silver Storm are off to a 2-2 start in the early going of the collegiate summer season and Altieri has confidence that his group will be able to compete down the stretch.
“We have good pitching and pretty good hitting. The hitting will come around as the summer goes along,” said Altieri. “We have a talented group here with kids that want to be here and I think that we’ll be there in the end again this summer.”
The Simsbury SaberCats won the CCBL championship last season, with the Silver Storm coming in as runner-up. The Silver Storm will be looking to take the next step and win the championship this season.
There are some familiar faces returning for the CCBL title quest. The Silver Storm’s double play combination remains intact as Madden Ward and Wallingford native Steve Mirra return. Zack Barlok of Cheshire, Jeff Massicotte of Meriden and Brendan O’Connell of Wallingford are also back.
The team will feature two more former Wallingford players. The first of which is first baseman Jack McDonald, a recent graduate of Lyman Hall who now plays at the College of St. Rose in Albany, N.Y.
The second player is Brandon Rentas, who won a state championship in 2015 under Altieri at Sheehan. Rentas is a pitcher at Southern Connecticut State University coming off the mend. Rentas is still not yet ready to pitch as he recovers from an injury, but he will get back on the mound for the Silver Storm this summer.
Pitching and defense are key in the CCBL, a wood-bat league whose players are accustomed to the metal bats used during their school’s baseball season. With the strong pitching and the adjustment to the wood bats, runs come at a premium in the CCBL.
The lack of scoring plays into the Silver Storm’s hands as this team’s strengths are its pitching and defense. If the Silver Storm manage to score five runs in any given game, chances are they’re going to win that game.
Coaching this time of year is fun for the veteran skipper Altieri. Focused on his high school team all year, the loose atmosphere of the CCBL is an enjoyable change of pace.
“It’s less to worry about,” said Altieri. “These guys know the game so well that you don’t have to worry about them not knowing what to do situationally.
“You also get to run things your own way,” Altieri added. “With the high school team you have to deal with the administration, athletic directors and parents, but with this team you don’t have to deal with any of that. Me and my staff can run things our way and the players are all here because they want to be here. It makes for fun and productive environment.”