EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

July 7, 2013

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The Eagle-Tribune

---- — Comei was the glue that kept Hillies together

At 1-4, Haverhill High’s baseball ship appeared rudderless. The Hillies were without their four-year starter Nick Comei for the first three, and he was barely working into shape off a broken bone suffered in his foot.

But Comei was a quick healer, and his play gave Haverhill life and direction. A team picked for last by many rode the senior captain to an 11-4 finish to the regular season and a state tourney-opening victory over Boston Latin.

For his performance on the mound, in the field and at the plate — along with his superior grit and leadership — Comei earns the 2013 Eagle-Tribune Player of the Year.

“He had monster year and in my opinion is one of best players in the state,” said coach Tom O’Brien. “Nick was incredible at shortstop, on the mound and at the plate.”

An All-MVC and All-Scholastic choice, Comei batted .407 with an on-base percentage of .505.

“He basically led us in every offensive and pitching category,” said O’Brien.

He had at least one hit in 16 of 19 games played and struck out just four times in 68 plate appearances.

On the mound, Comei went 5-2, including the 9-inning, complete-game, state tourney win over Boston Latin. He fanned 46 and had an ERA of just 2.17, walking only 14 in 48.1 innings of work.

Comei, who fought through the foot injury and a broken nose to help the Hillie hoopsters to the state tourney as well, will continue his studies and his baseball career at Worcester Poly Tech.

Former Baseball Eagle-Tribune MVPs

2012: Brandon Walsh, North Andover; 2011: Mike Weisman, North Andover; 2009-10: Michael Calzetta, Lawrence; 2008: Sean Hayden, Haverhill; 2006-07: Dan Godefroi, Andover; 2005: Jeff Castillo, Salem; 2003-04: Terry Doyle, Salem; 2002: Tim Bransfield, Masconomet; 2001: Kevin Shepard, Andover;

2000: Steve Palazzolo, North Reading; 1999: Doug Johnson, Pelham; 1998: Ben Crockett, Masconomet; 1997: Brian Tisbert, Andover; 1996: Bryan Welch, Central Catholic; 1994-95: Jay Yennaco, Pinkerton; 1993: Justin Hesenius, Andover; 1992: Jim Hanning, Andover; 1991: David Blank, Andover; 1990: Chris Eggert, Andover

2013 Eagle-Tribune Baseball All-Stars

Player, School Yr. Pos.

Andrew Deloury, Andover Sr. 3B

Cam Devanney, Central Soph. SS

Andrew Hamel, Central Sr. P

Tom Pingree, Georgetown Sr. 3B

Angel Abreu, Gr. Lawrence Sr. INF

* Nick Comei, Haverhill Sr. SS/P

Joan Vargas, Lawrence Jr. P

Ryan Moloney, Londonderry Sr. P/1B

Rob Del Signore, Londonderry Jr. 1B/P

Tyler Whitley, North Andover Sr. OF

R.J. Warnock, North Reading Sr. SS

Jake Vaiknoras, Pelham Jr. SS

Ryan Kuchar, Pentucket Jr. P/3B

Josh Yaratz, Sanborn Sr. P

Jake Damphousse, Timberlane Jr. P

Andrew Wells, Whittier Sr. P

Nathan Frongillo, Whittier Sr. CF

Adam Dolan, Windham Jr. P/2B

*Denotes Eagle-Tribune MVP

ANDREW DELOURY

Andover High Senior

Third Base

Three-year starter. All-MVC. Selected to play in Mass. Senior All-Star Game. Versatile performer, played infield and outfield. Consistent offensive force. Led Andover with 20 runs and 19 RBIs. Belted three homers, two were grand slams. Hit .338 after back-to-back .288 seasons. “He scored or drove in 30 percent of our runs this year,” said coach Dan Grams. Eagle-Tribune All-Star football player. Will play baseball at Salem State.

TOM PINGREE

Georgetown High Senior

Third Base

League and team MVP. Four-year varsity player. Persevered through horrible back injury as a sophomore. Batted .482, hitting safely in 18 of 22 games. Scored 12 runs and drove in 19 more. Had run of 10 straight games with at least one RBI, four straight with two. Sharp hands, accurate arm. Very reliable. “He worked hard, got strong and had a great year with no pain,” said coach Justin Spurr.

CAM DEVANNEY

Central Catholic Sophomore

Shortstop

MVC large Player of the Year. All-Conference. Two-year starter. Struck out 3 times in 89 plate appearances. Topped team with .408 average. Scored 23 runs. Drove in 17. Had a dozen multiple-hit games. Closed with 7-game hit streak (12 for 27). Halfway through career at 46 for 134 (.343). “A marvel to watch at shortstop. Made clutch play or had key at-bat in every game,” said coach Marc Pelletier. Committed to play at Division 1 Elon University.

ANDREW HAMEL

Central Catholic Senior

Pitcher

Two-year starter. All-MVC choice. Agganis Game nominee. Intimidating lefty at 6-foot-6 for MVC D1 champs. Finished year at 6-1. Struck out 38 with 2.23 ERA in 47 innings. Complete games in both of team’s tourney wins the last two years. “Ultimate team player, goes from toeing the rubber to carrying our water jug,” said coach Marc Pelletier. Reserve for MVC hoop champs. Will spend post-grad year at Phillips Academy.

ANGEL ABREU

Greater Lawrence Tech Senior

Infield

Three-time all-conference choice. Four years varsity. Rare three-year captain. The CAC small co-MVP. Consummate run producer. The area leader with 29 RBIs. Sixth in region with 24 runs scored. Hit .294, .414 and .318 the last three seasons. Closed out career with a hit in seven of last eight games (.435 average) with 15 RBIs in that span. Had two hits and three RBIs in state tourney loss to Weston. Scored multiple runs in eight different games. Rugged two-way Eagle-Tribune All-Star lineman in football.

JOAN VARGAS

Lawrence High Junior

Pitcher

Two years as the staff ace. Nastiest of lefties. The MVC small Player of the Year. All-Conference this year. Deceiving mark of 6-4. Faced the wood in the MVC. Beat large division champ Central, small division and Division 1 North champ Billerica twice. Also took out state tourney teams Lowell and Andover. Posted 2.27 ERA as a sophomore, 2.91 this spring. “Been the backbone of our staff for two years now,” said coach Brendan Neilon. Big game pitcher will be back for one more year.

RYAN MOLONEY

Londonderry High Senior

Pitcher/First Base

Lancer Pitcher of the Year. Four-year varsity player. Second team all-state as a junior, first-team this spring. Granite State Senior All-Star selection. Finished at 7-2 with two saves. Struck out 73 with 1.49 ERA in 65 innings. Dominated Timberlane in state quarterfinal win. A force at plate with .345 average, 11 runs and 14 RBIs. “The dominant pitcher in the state,” said coach Brent Demas. Will pitch for UMass.

ROB DEL SIGNORE

Londonderry High Junior

First Base/Pitcher

Three years varsity. Third team All-State as a sophomore. First team All-State this spring. Team MVP. Selected to Junior All-State games. Went 6-0 with two saves. Took a no-hitter into the 7th vs. South. Posted 0.81 ERA with 47 strikeouts in 35 innings. Had string of 28 scoreless innings. Held opponents to .140 average. Batted .384 with 21 RBIs and 18 runs. “A phenomenal threat on the hill and at the plate,” said coach Brent Demas.

TYLER WHITLEY

North Andover High Senior

First Base/Outfield

Captain. All-MVC choice. Three years varsity. Two-year starter. One of the region’s pure swingers. Batted a hard .386. Slugged .629 with a 1.063 OPS. Clouted a dozen doubles, a triple and a homer. 6 for 6 in steals. Drove in 17 runs and scored 10. Hit safely in 18 of 21 with 8 multi-hit games. “He the majority of our big hits,” said coach Todd Dulin. Will study criminal justice and hopes to walk-on at UMass Lowell.

R.J. WARNOCK

North Reading High Senior

Shortstop/Pitcher

Twice all-league. All-Scholastic as a junior. Three years on varsity. Trails only legendary Dennis Livingston (30) for most career wins at school with 27. Finished at 11-1 with area-best 0.35 ERA. Fanned 72 and walked just nine in 63.2 innings. Played superb defensive shortstop. A pest in the leadoff spot. Batted .352 as a junior and .377 this year. Scored 23 runs and drove in 16 more. Had a dozen multi-hit games. Will pitch at URI.

JAKE VAIKNORAS

Pelham High Junior

Shortstop

Three-sport Eagle-Tribune All-Star with golf and hoop. Three years varsity. Third team All-State as a sophomore. Second team all-state this year. Captain. Pelham Pythons Foundation Award Winner. Captain. Batted .365 and slugged .508. Stole 15 of 16 bases. Scored team-high 17 runs. Hit .462 with homer, 3 steals in 4 playoff games. Slapped team’s only two hits in state semis with Somersworth. “Competes and wins at everything he does,” said coach Billy Beauchesne.

RYAN KUCHAR

Pentucket Regional Junior

Pitcher/Third Base

Unleashed on the mound at midseason and proved unhittable. Finished at 5-0 with a save. Struck out 39 and posted a 1.19 ERA in 29.1 innings of work. Held Division 3 North champ Whittier to one hit over five innings in win. Two-hit Ipswich. At plate, hit .412 in limited work. Exceptional glove man. Plays every infield position. “If he were healthy from the start we would have made the tourney,” said coach Tom L’Italien. Two-year starting quarterback for football team.

JOSH YARATZ

Sanborn Regional Senior

Pitcher

Three-year starter. All-Division 2 first team. Workhorse for surprising state semifinals. Was 3-2 as a junior and 5-4 this spring. In 51 innings, he struck out 74. Posted 1.40 ERA. Delivered three one-hit complete games on the season. Shut out Con-Val in Indians’ playoff-opening win. “Put it all together this year and carried us on the mound,” said coach Mike Moore. Carrying it over for Derry Legion. Will pitch for national junior college finalist Northern Essex.

JAKE DAMPHOUSSE

Timberlane Regional Junior

Pitcher

Repeats on our team. Two-time all-Division 1 first team selection. Three-year varsity starter. Went 6-2 this spring to improve to 15-4 on career. Struck out 51 with 3.30 ERA as a sophomore. Came back to fan 46 with 2.11 ERA in 53 innings this spring. Closed regular season by shutting out Trinity in 4-hitter. Opened playoffs with 3-1 complete-game win over Bishop Guertin. Rare footballer, played offensive tackle and QB in same season. Played both corner spots in infield.

NATHAN FRONGILLO

Whittier Tech Senior

Center Field

Champion on the field and in the classroom. Four-year starter. Three-time All-CAC choice. A perfect 10 for 10 in college acceptances. Decided on baseball at Colby-Sawyer College. Huge season for the North champs. Batted .356, scored 25 runs and drove in 17. Laid claim as all-time area hit leader with 119. Brilliant transition from second base to center, putting team first. “His play and his drive taught us how to win,” said coach Joe Boland. Three-year starter in hoops. Tenacious in both sports.

ANDREW WELLS

Whittier Tech Senior

Pitcher

Four-year starter with a pair of North sectional titles. Two-time CAC MVP. Three times All-CAC. Repeats on our team. Finishes at area-best 11-1 on mound, 25-10 for his career. Fanned area-leading 112 in 88 innings with only 12 walks. Sparkled with a 1.27 ERA. Only defeat was 3-2 vs. Haverhill ace and Eagle-Tribune MVP Nick Comei. “Simply refused to let this team lose,” said coach Joe Boland. Area 3-point champion in hoops. Will play both at Worcester State.

ADAM DOLAN

Windham High Junior

Pitcher/Second Base

Two-year starter. First-team All-Division 2 choice. A horse on the hill. Right-hander finished 5-3 with tourney win. Finished with 48 strikeouts and 1.54 ERA in 50 innings of work. Run producer. Drove in 19, scored 18. Hit .365 with only two strikeouts in 75 plate appearances. Dominated rival Pelham in 10-0 no-hitter. “Has a Pedro Martinez-like arm slot that creates significant movement on all his pitches,” said coach Derek Lee. Golfs on undefeated Jags squad. Contemplating both sports in college.

HONORABLE MENTION

Andover – Cam Farnham, Sr., OF; Jack Cox, Jr., OF; Colin Flynn, Jr., p/Inf

Brooks – Andrew Bruno, Sr., OF

Central – Anthony Licari, Sr., 2B; Brady Abraham, Sr., OF: Pat Gleason, Sr., DH; Nick Gorski, Sr., 1B

Georgetown – Jeff Moore, Sr., P; C.J. Ingraham, Sr., 2B; Colby Ingraham, Jr., SS

Greater Lawrence – Oscar Reynoso, Jr., P; Juan Maldonado, Sr., 1B; Marc Ayala, Sr., OF

Haverhill – J.T. Ruth, Sr., CF; Sean Wrenn, Sr., P

Lawrence – Jose Cedano, Sr., C; Elvis Peralta, Soph., SS; Sam Quiroz, Sr., P

Londonderry – Colby Joncas, Soph., C; Tom Corey, Jr., P; Jake Welch, Sr., SS

Methuen – Cam Cyr, Sr., P; Evan Lacroix, Jr., OF

North Andover – Dan Rivet, Sr., SS

North Reading – Ryan McAuliffe, Sr., P; Keith Linnane, Jr., C; Thomas Day, Jr., 3B; Colby Maiola, Jr., CF

Pelham – Ryan Frank, Jr., OF/P; Chris Gamble, Jr., 2B; Justin Moran, Sr., P/3B; Brendon Hamilton, Sr., SS/P

Pentucket – Josh Creamer, Sr., SS/P

Phillips – Harry Roche, Sr., C

Pinkerton – Connor Donahue, Jr. P; Nate Rossi, Jr., C; Matt Marchman, Sr., OF

Salem – Joe Lemenager, Sr., CF; Jake White, Jr., C

Sanborn – Grant Wagner, Sr., CF; Jon Scheidegger, Sr., C

Timberlane – Pat Mahoney, Sr., 2B; Ryan McCarthy, Sr., SS; James Collins, Sr, C

Whittier – Anthony Licciardello, Sr., C; Devan Doucette, Sr., P

Windham – Jeff Peterson, Jr., P/1B; Connor Moynihan, Frosh., DH