For Grafton Lake Sox manager Bob Galvani and his team, the return to diamond this summer has been pretty special. Entering the weekend, Grafton is in second place at 11-4, and a week remains in the PNJ Senior Ruth regular season.
“Huge,” Galvani said of being able to play baseball after a lost spring, especially for Grafton High School seniors who never had a chance to end their careers on the field or in the classroom.
“That’s a huge disconnect for kids,” Galvani added. “I remember my senior year of high school, it was a blast playing with your friends and all that. So, this is an opportunity for them to really get some closer because a lot of the kids they would have been playing with, they are playing with them now.
“I think that was the appea,” he added. “They were really excited to be able to get onto a baseball field. A little bit delayed, but they were excited.”
Two of those seniors are Ben Waitkevich and Ty Dupuis.
“Ben Waitkevich personifies everything you’d want in a baseball player,” Galvani said. “He plays hard, he plays with respect for the opponent. He’s our leadoff hitter. He’s the straw that stirs the drink, and he’s fantastic defensively, just a great kid. If you had 18 of him, you’d be in love with your team.”
Dupuis, who excelled on the diamond for Grafton High, was also a standout golfer for the school.
“He’s just a fantastic kid who also missed his senior year of baseball,” Galvani said. “Both (Ben and Ty) were pretty excited come and play some baseball.”
Galvani said he is proud of how his team has come together, overcoming adversity early on.
“There was no continuity between the offseason and working out and carrying that into the season,” Galvani said. “With the COVID and the pause, that stay-at-home posture, you’re warmed up, and then you had to sit for two and a half months and then you had to restart the engines.”
Galvani said he’s has been particularly aware of how he handles his pitchers.
“You got to be very careful with your pitchers because their pitching routines are off and the arm strength they built up was lost,” Galvani said. “There is definitely an adjustment that needed to be made going from a normal offseason to a regular season and having to stop and then restart.”
Galvani said a big reason why his team has been so successful is that they’ve played plenty of baseball together in the past.
“Look, these kids largely have been together, and matriculated through Grafton Little League and middle school and high school, so this is a pretty cohesive unit, and they’ve been playing with me for a long time,” Galvani said. “We added a few older kids to round out the roster, and this is a good group of kids. They enjoy playing together and enjoy being together and when you are around it, you get that sense.
Galvani said he really likes the makeup of his team.
“We’re not loaded for bear,” Galvani said. “We didn’t go out and grab AAU kids and stack our roster with studs. These are kids that have been playing together, so you come out and look at our team, it doesn’t look like an AAU roster, but the sum of the parts is greater than the whole. These kids all like playing together, they enjoy being around each other and I enjoy coaching them.”
One of those older kids is pitcher Jack Martin.
“Jack Martin has come on and brought leadership to us,” Galvani said. “He has pitched really well for us and again, not having pitched in a year, he’s coming out and having fun, and you see he plays the game with some passion.”
Charlie Farrah has also been a big part of the winning formula for the Lake Sox. “Charlie Farrah is just a good hard-nosed baseball player,” Galvani said.
Cam Bern, who attended and graduated Valley Tech and played on the Grafton/BVT hockey team, has also been an impact player, along with former Grafton/BVT standout netminder Cam Powell.
Galvani said overall, his entire roster has been called upon to contribute.
“The challenging thing is that with all these kids working, you need that 18-man roster because it takes a village,” Galvani said, referring to a recent game when he only had 10 of his 18 players available. “But that’s the fun of summer ball. This isn’t college athletics, this is summer baseball. So it gives some kids that didn’t get an opportunity to play that much. This is the joy of summer ball.”
—Contact Chris Kyne at [email protected]
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