Four senior standouts taking Grafton baseball to the next level
top down: Tyler Warren., Jake Mayerhauser, Nick Gouveia and AJ Parlente.
By CHRISTOPHER TREMBLAY, Staff Sports Writer
This past season was not the type of season that Grafton was hoping for on the diamond. Grafton went 11-9 during the regular season to earn a berth in the Division 2 State Tournament, unfortunately as the 33rd seed falling in the preliminary round to North Quincy and the season was over.
When next fall rolls around the Gators will be looking to their senior core to bring this team to the forefront of the high school baseball world. According to Gator Coach Brian Andersen the four incoming seniors all began playing baseball together at a young age and around the sixth grade they all stepped up to play summer ball at the same time.
“I’ll be looking for these guys to lead the team next year,” Andersen said. “They all grew up in front of my eyes; they’re a breath of fresh air and they’re locked in and ready to take this program to the next level. They laid the foundation for the future of Grafton baseball.”
The seniors looking to guide the Gators into the future are catcher Tyler Warren, third baseman Nick Gouveia, shortstop Jake Mayerhauser and outfielder AJ Parlente. The foursome all pretty much arrived on the varsity squad at the same time, outside of Parlente who was there the year prior. In addition to baseball, they all play other sports as well: Warren and Gouveia play hockey, while Mayherhauser also graces the football field and Parlente played football and basketball. Although they all enjoy playing other sports, baseball seems to be the overwhelming favorite and the one sport that they all got started at an early age.
“My dad was really into baseball, and he began training me for the sport when I was 3-years old,” Parlente said.
Gouveia noted that his dad and older brother were into the sport, and he has been playing it his entire life.
Parlente earned his spot on the varsity roster his freshman season and has been playing the corner outfield positions since then. Although he can play both sides of the outfield, the now senior prefers right field as he feels more comfortable there.
“Coming into tryouts that year my goal was to make the varsity team as a freshman,” Parlente said. “I had also hoped to someday play college baseball, but I’m not too sure if that will still happen or not but it’s still a goal.”
This past season the right fielder put together an impressive season with 24 hits, 17 RBI, batted .369 and had 10 stolen bases for the Gators.
Gouveia found himself starting at second base in his inaugural year with the varsity but didn’t have that great of a season and was moved over to third in his junior campaign where he flourished with 23 hits, 8 RBI and a batting average of .359.
That same sophomore campaign Mayerhauser just wanted to be on the team and fulfill a role to help the team to success. Grafton defeated East Longmeadow in the preliminary round but then had to go up against the number one seed in Milton and didn’t fare too well. Mayerhauser, however, had himself a good season this past year with 19 hits, 13 RBI and 7 stolen bases while batting .306.
“I wasn’t looking to be a standout player with impressive stats,” he said. “I just wanted to win and I’d do anything that I could to help the team accomplish that goal.”
Warren was hoping that he could be part of a State Championship before he left the Grafton diamond for the last time. However, in order to capture that elusive title, the seniors all know and agree that things must change going into next season.
“This past season we did not play as a team, a lot of people were not thinking team first,” Mayerhauser said. “Next season I’m hoping that we can play together and if we can it should be our best year ever as we’ve all been playing baseball together now for ten years or so. We’re all friends on and off the field and the underclassmen seemed to be joining in.”
Gouveia echoed his teammates’ sentiments.
“We didn’t have the best of seasons this year,” he said. “If we want to improve we need to play more like a team, a lot of g guys were just playing for individual stats, you can’t win that way.”
The only senior who has been on the team all four years also noted that if the Gators want to be successful things definitely need to change.
“The biggest thing is that the team attitude needs to change, and we need to focus, especially at practice,” Parlente said. “We hit our goal of making it to the tournament this year but not with the best of records, we defiantly need to improve upon that.”
All four athletes want to desperately help this team win and advance as far into the Division 2 State Tournament as they can. With a full year behind the plate under his belt Andersen Warren (who had 16 hits, 14 RBI and batted .271 this past year) should be ready to help guide this team into the future.
“Next year I’m looking to help get this team back into the playoffs and go at least a few rounds, “Warren said. “I’m hoping that my leadership can help the younger kids out and improve their game.”
The other three seniors are all in the same boat; hoping to be effective on the field while helping the younger players improve upon their game.
“You always want to win,” Gouveia said. “We just need to take to the field and play our roles and do whatever we can to help the team.”
Mayerhauser concluded that it will be a successful season if the squad can get better overall and win more games that this past season, while doing their parts in getting the younger players up to speed to take over the team and continue the success when they leave.