New Hopedale Coach Looking to Get Team Back to The Finals
By Christopher Tremblay, Staff Sports Writer
Kevin Bresciani has lived in the town of Hopedale his entire life and his family has a deep-rooted history within the town. Now the 2015 alumni will be taking over the baseball team he once played for under Coaches Small and Crescenzi.
The Blue Raider alum began playing sports for Hopedale in the seventh grade where he was part of the soccer team, the three-time district finals basketball team, where they captured one championship and two-time district champion baseball squad. The baseball team was one out away from capturing a State Title with Bresciani and his teammates.
Following high school, the Hopedale native went onto play baseball for Bridgewater State University where the catcher and occasional pitcher, hit .398 during his senior campaign and was named the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) catcher of the year. Right after college he was the Assistant Baseball Coach at Worcester State before landing his ideal job back home in Hopedale.
“The previous Coach (Josh Crescenzi) helped me to land the Hopedale job. When I had heard the job had opened up, I was super excited. Being an PE teacher, I knew that I wanted to coach, and this was the perfect opportunity,” Bresciani said. “Having family history in the town, coaching here means everything to me as I get to represent Hopedale.”
Crescenzi who had the luxury of coaching Bresciani on the junior varsity as well as the varsity level.
“Not only was Kevin one of the most talented baseball players I’ve coached, but he was also one of my favorite people,” the former Blue Raider Coach said. “Not only was he a great defensive catcher he also had the offensive skills as well. With him behind the plate it weas like having another coach on the field.”
When Crescenzi decided to step down as the Head Coach there was only one person, he believed totally capable of taking the reins of the team.
“After I realized that this year was not going to work for me as my kids were starting to play sports themselves and I was to Coach their t-ball and soccer teams I decided to step down,” he said. “My first call was to Stephanie (Ridolfi, Hopedale Athletic Director) and second to Kevin. It was a hard decision but the best for my family. Now that it’s in Kevin hands I am mor than confident that t was the right decision.”
With an athlete that had played for Hopedale in numerous District Tournaments the Blue Raiders are looking to take to heart Bresciani’s tutelage and not only get into the tournament but win it. Two years ago, the Blue Raiders lost to Tahanto in the District 4 Central Finals. This year’s squad will be made up of seniors who were sophomores on that team in 2019.
The new coach is optimistic about the team’s chances with the amount of talent he has returning to the diamond. Under the Covid restrictions, the baseball season will be played under a bunch of unfamiliar rules as well as in pods, but at this time Hopedale is not sure who they will take on in their pod.
“Giving the athletes a chance to play competitive baseball once again (last season was cancelled due to the pandemic) is at the top of their priority,” Bresciani said. “The MIAA also noted that there will be some sort of tournament play despite the shortening of the season. This is great as it give the players something to play for and they are deserving of that after losing last year.”
While the season nor tryouts had begun at the time of this writing, the incoming coach did know of a few of the returning athletes that will lead his squad back into a deep tournament run.
Alex Luccini, who has already committed to play for UMASS Lowell, will be behind the plate once again for his senior campaign and provide the team with exceptional leadership. Two other seniors Sean Ryan and John McDonough will also be returning to suit up for the Blue Raiders this spring. The two will not only see action on the mound this season, but Ryan will also play some infield while McDonough will play the infield as well as the outfield when he’s not pitching. The duo were important pieces to Hopedale’s playoff run as sophomores the last time they were able to lace up the cleats.
Junior middle infielder Will Parker will also see some action as part of the pitching staff in the upcoming season.
In addition to the new Covid regulations, the MIAA has added a pitch count on pitchers, a rule that was supposed to be initiated last year. It’s a rule that will allow coaches to only use their pitchers over a certain number of innings per week, thus not allowing high school coaches to overuse a kid and jeopardize his arm.
Spending focus on college baseball the years prior Bresciani is unfamiliar with what is going on with a lot of the DVC teams, but is looking forward to getting back on the field allowing the athletes to play one more season of baseball for Hopedale.
“After missing last year, the kids are defiantly hungry and ready to work,” said the new coach. “They are looking forward to putting on that Hopedale unform and representing their team once again.”