Greenwich Senior Babe Ruth All-Star set to start state tourney tonight at Cubeta

It’s been a long time since the Greenwich Senior Babe Ruth All-Stars have been competitive in the state tournament. In fact, Greenwich hasn’t pulled out a victory in the state tournament for the past four team.

However, that’s all in the past and Greenwich head coach Steve DeRosa sees nothing but positives from his group of All-Stars heading into today’s opening round game for the Connecticut Senior Babe Ruth tournament.

“I think the league as a whole has a lot more depth in general,” DeRosa said. “We got some great pitching, our fielding is really strong and the bats are powerful. The guys coming off the bench were picked for the team because they are utility players. They could play multiple positions, which is great to have on an All-Star team. You never know where you have to throw a guy on the field.”

The last time the Greenwich Senior Babe Ruth team won a game was when DeRosa was an active player on the team four years ago.

“Overall we can do some damage this year in the tournament,” DeRosa said. “We want to change what has happened in the past this year. The hardest part about the All-Star tournament overall is that we really don’t know anything about these teams we play, other than Stamford. We know nothing about them, other than what we saw from them last year. We are going to be ready to play, that’s for sure. Our two practices were really great. We got a lot done because the guys listen, they are all good kids that don’t have any attitude and everybody hustles. Now it’s time to put all that hard work into motion tonight.”

The Greenwich Senior Babe Ruth All-Star team will start play in the state tournament at 5 p.m. when they battle North Branford at Stamford’s Cubeta Stadium.

When it comes to team defense, Greenwich appears to be one of the better teams out there. In the outfield, Max Hoff will play center field, while Chris Ragusa will play either left or right field when he’s not on the mound. DeRosa said that he is thrilled with both of his fielder’s range and strong arm in the outfield.

“They both have a cannon for an arm and some crazy range,” DeRosa said. “If Chris is playing in left and Hoff is in center, we have the ability for Ragusa to shade over a little bit in left and be able to get every ball in foul play while still not giving up line drive hits. That’s huge, especially in an All-Star tournament.”

Leading the way in the infield will be shortstop Pat Callahan, who DeRosa said is very easy to coach and gets things done right the first time. Joining Callahan in the infield will be Max Roskoff at second base and Max Kelly at the hot corner.

At the plate, Greenwich will have a great combination of power and speed. Kelly and Rob Gelcius are the team’s power men at the plate and will be looking to drive the ball deep.

“During the regular season, Gelcius hit the ball at his ankles and hit it to the track at Havemeyer,” DeRosa said. “He’s got raw power and that’s something that you just can’t teach. He has that crazy power that you saw like in Albert Pujols three years ago. He’s a strong kid that can take the ball anywhere and make it fly.”

Hoff, Ragusa and Christian Dirusso also all have the ability to drive the ball, however all three are quick and could fly around the bases.

On the mound, the original three-man rotation was scheduled to be Ragusa, Vincent Murphy and Kyle Ballone. However, Ballone had surgery on his appendix and is unable to represent Greenwich. Taking his place will be Dean Girardi or Peter Delepine.

“We set it up for all our starters to throw hard and hit their spots,” DeRosa said. “They can locate their offspeed and all are in control of their pitches.”

To change things up a bit, Callahan, Roskoff, Kelly and Girardi, all Greenwich relievers this year, don’t throw as hard as the starters.

“I did that purposely so that way we can change up the pace,” DeRosa said. “When the relievers come in, after a batter sees a pitcher for the third time through the order, we put in our reliever and mess up the batter’s timing. Either way, I have been preaching to all our pitchers to hit their spots and have a little something behind it. At an All-Star tournament, if you just hit your spot every time, you’re going to get hit.”

Although the state tournament hasn’t been too kind to Greenwich recently, DeRosa still has lofty goals for his team.

“I would still like to win the tournament,” DeRosa said. “That’s our first goal. We also have our team goals, which are to make no errors, play a good all-around game, run the bases well and play smart baseball. If we do all that, I think we’ll be fine.”

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