Varsity Baseball Preview 2022

Cade Wetter and Finn Maclennan, Author

After a rough 2020-21 season for the Ipswich Tigers Baseball Team, things are looking up for the 2021-22 season. Not only talent-wise, but there are 9 returning players this year, meaning they have strength in numbers, too. The returning players are experienced with at least one year on varsity, so there is minimal nervousness throughout the team. There are also 5 seniors on the roster, and they play a huge role in the team’s success. They all show hard work towards the program and all love showing up every day and working hard. The rest of the varsity roster is rounded up with juniors and sophomores, who are also showing a refreshing sense of energy that the team seemed to lack in seasons past. Most of them are coming off of a very successful season on JV last year, with the JV roster going .500, and the varsity squad with only two wins. Coach Zack Lamkin is the head varsity coach with his new assistant coach Alex Zenus, who assisted on JV last season. The JV team is led by IHS math teacher Mr. Hughes and is being assisted by Officer Perna.

One big thing that has shifted from last season to this season is the renewed confidence and leadership that the team seems to have. The addition of assistant varsity coach Alex Zenus is a big part of that. Zenus is a very young high school coach, just graduating from nearby Masconomet Regional High School in 2018. He is a great guy for the team to have in the dugout to help everyone play loose and relaxed, and his baseball knowledge is second to none considering that he is just 4 years older than the seniors on the current roster. The two captains, seniors Evan Stein and Finn MacLennan, also bring a new sense of leadership to the team. They ran captains’ practices at The Grind Factory (an indoor facility in Salem) all winter in preparation for the season. They lead in different styles, as Stein is the more vocal of the two, and Finn is a more “lead by example” type of player. That being said, they can both fill each other’s roles efficiently.  Head Coach Zack Lamkin recently said in a practice that they are “the best captains we’ve had in my time as a coach.” The other seniors along with the lone returning varsity junior Matt McGowan and sophomore returners Drew Lane and Nate Baise make this team very well led and experienced. 

Another reason that the team is going to have a successful season is the talent, and there is a ton of it. Starting off with the sophomores Drew Lane and Nate Baise. Last year they both had very efficient freshman years that are going to propel them into successful seasons in 2022. Drew is already one of the biggest kids on the roster, and he is slotted in as the 2nd starting pitcher and the starting first baseman on

The Tigers celebrate a win on senior night of the 2021 season

days that he is not pitching. He does everything you want a player to do. He throws hard, hits for power and contact, and is a brick wall at first base. Nate Baise is the consensus best infielder on the roster and is coming into his own as a hitter this year, too. Although he has one of the smaller frames in the CAL, his confidence and skill on both sides of the ball will make him one of the premiere underclassmen in the area. Juniors Matt McGowan, Jeremy Lathrop, AJ Pezza, and Mark Norris should also make an immediate impact. Matt is in the running for starting catcher with fellow junior AJ Pezza, along with having a spot in the outfield and on the mound. He is one of the more powerful kids on the team, as he can throw hard and hit far. AJ Pezza is looking like the main option behind the dish, as he is fundamentally sound and is one of the smartest players on the roster. If he is not behind the dish, he can be found making plays at 2nd base and in the outfield, so he is a very valuable player for the team. Jeremy Lathrop is seeming to slot in as the 3rd starting pitcher and is looking for a defensive position to fill. He is very solid everywhere on the field and is one of the team’s top hitters, so he will have many opportunities to be on the field this season. Mark Norris is looking to be one of the team’s main relief pitchers. The tall and lanky junior has a very effective curveball that works off of his fastball. 

The seniors are also instrumental to the team’s success this season. Evan Stein is going to be primarily in the middle infield with Nate Baise, along with some time potentially in the outfield, first base, and on the mound. He is also one of the team’s most dangerous hitters. Finn MacLennan will be the starting pitcher on opening day and will be playing primarily in the outfield when not pitching. He could also potentially play first base when Drew Lane is on the mound. He is also regarded as one of the better hitters in the area. Brad McGowan is the no-doubt best outfielder the team has and is one of the best the team has seen in a long time. His speed and pure athleticism allow him to seemingly catch everything that gets hit his way. He is also looking like an above-average hitter. Cade Wetter is running away with the third base position and is also making major improvements at the plate that should put him in place to have a successful senior campaign. He is also going to be a relief pitcher.

The Tigers will host the Saugus Sachems on April 11, with Finn Maclennan starting on the bump and an eager infield/outfield behind him. The Tigers are looking to do some damage this season, with an overall goal of going .500, and therefore making the playoffs.