The Pirates are led by first-year head coach Don Apperson.
In Don Apperson’s first game as head baseball coach for the Matanzas Pirates, junior pitcher Joe Rosell threw a perfect game. The Pirates went on to beat Atlantic High School, 11-0, in the season opener. The season couldn’t have started any better for Apperson and his team, but the Pirates know there’s still a lot of work left to be done.
Apperson was promoted from the junior varsity slot to replace Jeremy Kitson. The Pirates were 8-12 last season.
The type of mentality Apperson and his staff are trying to instill into the players this season is one of confidence.
“We don’t stress,” Apperson said. “We don’t sweat the small stuff. We go out there, play the game and try to encourage the players to be confident with what’s going on.”
So far, the Pirates are 1-1.
Apperson said the team has always had numerous skilled players, but for whatever reason, they never showed what they could do on the field on a consistent basis.
In order to contend for a district championship, a goal that Apperson feels is obtainable, he said he’ll need solid pitching and sound baseball.
The Pirates’ pitching staff features Rosell, who has four different pitches in his repertoire, and is, according to Apperson, “The hardest working player on the team by far.”
Junior Kevin Moore pitches and can play first base or third base and has the best control on the mound, according to Apperson.
In the field, senior second baseman Nick Colaluca should break the school record in stolen bases for a single season and for his career. Apperson estimates that Colaluca can steal at least 30 bases.
Dylan Rivard, the Pirates’ centerfielder, provides senior leadership and defense.
Offensively, Apperson said, the Pirates are fast. The first three batters in the order will be Jonathan Lambright, Nick Colaluca and Brandon Rufrano.
Lambright, who plays catcher and third base, is a quick base runner and a “tough out,” Apperson said. Rufrano, a senior shortstop, has been playing varsity baseball since he was a freshman and is a career .300 hitter.
“Overall, the product of this year’s team is bigger, faster and stronger,” Apperson said.
Apperson said the team was on a weightlifting program from May up until mid-December last year.
“We’ve done it religiously,” Apperson said.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Brandon Rufrano, Sr., SS: Career .300 hitter and varsity player since freshman year. Great mechanics and good arm in the field; hard worker.
Paul Ricci, Sr., P: Arm issues in the past but poised for a breakout season. Strong hitter, versatile and key to Matanzas’ puzzle for successful season.
Dylan Rivard, Sr., CF: Phenomenal defensive centerfielder and provides the Pirates with senior leadership. Potential to be a .300 hitter and gets great jumps on the ball.
Jonathan Lambright, Jr., C/3B: Pirates leadoff hitter and a tough out. Quick on the base path and sound in the field.
Joe Rosell, Jr., RHP: Starting pitcher with four different pitches and good command. Hardest working player on team according to coach Don Apperson.
Kevin Moore, Jr., 1B/3B/RHP: Worked hard during offseason and likely has best control out of all pitchers. Coach says could be a coming out year.