BEACON FALLS — Competitive sports are not always about wins and losses. Consider the unique baseball experiment that took place this summer in Prospect and Beacon Falls.
Playing with mostly 14-and 15-year-olds, the Beacon Falls-Prospect Posts 194-25 American Legion senior baseball team finished without a win this season. Teams with 17-, 18- and 19-year-old players outmatched the younger squad on a daily basis.
But if you ask PBF head coach Don Ensero, Sr., the team’s final record didn’t matter. The team’s upbeat spirit, willingness to learn and overall improvement outshine any totals of victories or defeats.
“I was so impressed with how they came back after getting beat,” Ensero, Sr. said. “They kept coming back the next day and not getting discouraged.”
Joined by general manager Jeff Clarke and assistant coaches Don Ensero, Jr., Ryan Matthews and Zach Ensero, the head coach aimed to provide an experience of high-level baseball.
Throughout the season, the team progressed and final scores were closer, Ensero, Sr. said. He noted the specific progress of the pitching, led by Sam Merriman, Matt Wysocki, Nathan Clarke and Anthony D’Agnone.
“We saw their location get better, their velocity, their change of speeds and the improvement of their breaking pitches,” Ensero, Sr. said. “Also, their awareness of base runners.”
Hitters also improved. Plate discipline became more prevalent later in the season.
“We talked a lot about hitting with two strikes and attacking the pitch,” Ensero, Sr. said, “and the idea of going with the pitch on the outside corner, and the putting the ball in play to put pressure on the defense.”
Other players on the team included Dylan Cummings, Robert Stach, Matt Spofford, Steve Kazalunas, Ryan Flanagan, Kyle Soisson, Andrew Gerard and Eric Beutel.
“You’re playing highly competitive baseball against the top players from towns and cities around the area,” Ensero, Sr. said. “It’s always better to play up — that’s what makes you a better player.”
Ultimately, Ensero, Sr. said it came down to the fundamental purpose of American Legion baseball. The teenagers not only became better players, but also better people.
“That’s the American Legion way,” Ensero Sr. said.