In many ways, it’s been a lot harder than former Whittier Tech star Ken Olisky of Haverhill ever projected.
Forming a new team, organizing it and then coaching it has been one tough undertaking for Olisky, former Central standout Brad Tardugno and former Methuen star Evan Tardugno,
But calling the newest entry of the North Shore League the “Bistany Bombers” was easy as easy can be.
“I always wanted to coach and run things and we talked a lot about creating a team,” said Olisky. “We felt that if we did get a team, we’d name it after the AAU coach we played for.”
That coach was Lawrence’s Dennis Bistany, who died in a drowning accident in 2009 at the age of 43. He had coached baseball at every level, from Little League to AAU to Fisher College, and the threesome were all affected by him.
Olisky and Evan Tardugno played on Bistany’s AAU team and Olisky later played for him with the Malden Bulldogs and at Fisher. Brad Tardugno was an assistant under Bistany in the summer.
“I played for him for 12 years and he’s the reason I wanted to get into coaching,” said Olisky, who has also coached a 10-year-old AAU team. “He was always ‘Coach Bistany’. He never stopped teaching, he never stopped coaching.
“He had a big influence on me, he had a big influence on a lot of kids.”
Olisky is finding out first hand that managing a summer team as Bistany did for so many years is no easy undertaking.
“We started working on it last year and we didn’t get things squared away until March,” said Olisky. “Because we started so late, it was a struggle (recruiting) at first but it got better once the word got out and we got several players from Northern Essex.
“I’m pretty happy with the guys we have and it’ll get better next year.
“A big problem was finding a home field that was available and affordable. It wasn’t our first choice, but we finally settled on Lynn and we’re pretty happy there. ... When you add everything up, it was a lot of work, a lot more than I thought.”
As one might expect with a new team, the Bombers struggled at first, dropping their first five games, but they won their next two and have played much better of late.
Olisky, who was perhaps known more as a pitcher in high school, has played well from the start, hitting .375 as one of the league’s more consistent batters and playing a stellar second base.
This is the second straight year that Olisky has stung the ball. He hit .400 while playing in the Yawkey League in 2012. He has a very simple explanation for it.
“I had Lasik eye surgery two winters ago and it helped me see the ball a lot better — it made a huge difference,” said Olisky. “I’ve never hit like this before.”
Finding a way to improve Olisky’s hitting, whatever the manner, in addition to forming a team in his name, certainly would have made Bistany proud.