The backbone of Staples' baseball success this year is its pitching staff. The man who calls the pitches, senior Grant Moss, is just as critical as the Wreckers prepare for what they hope is an extended post-season run.
Moss took over as catcher last year. He's also a slick first baseman, but coach Jack McFarland saw qualities in him that he believed would be more helpful to the team behind the plate. "What makes him a good catcher is he does a good job with the pitchers,'' McFarland said. "He does a good job of calling the game. He's a real leader for us. He controls it back there."
Moss caught pitchers Jimmy Sikorski and David Speer last year. This is his first year working with Rob Gau, and he has confidence in each of them. "They are so accurate they can throw any pitch in any count,'' Moss says. "It makes my job easier because I don't have to sacrifice what I'd like to throw the batter in order to get a strike. That makes it tough on the hitters because they can't tell what's coming next based on the count."
The difficult part for any catcher is managing personalities. Moss needs to know what approach to take with each. "They're all a little different, but I've been around long enough that I can cope with everyone,'' Grant says.
Staples enters next week's Fairfield County Interscholastic Athletic Conference playoffs as the top seed. The Wreckers are the two-time defending champions and, according to records on www.fciac.net, could be the first team to win the league title three straight years.
"The pitching gives us a great lift,'' Moss says. "We have three pitchers that can beat any team, plus some other guys who can come in and pitch. I'd say we have one of the deepest pitching staffs around."
Moss will attend Rollins College, a Division II school in Florida. "I'm getting out of this cold weather,'' he says. He is a good fielder at catcher and first base, but he's also an outstanding hitter. "He'll figure out a way to put his bat on the ball,'' McFarland says. "The sky's the limit for him after high school."
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