(One In A Series)
BOONVILLE—The departure of longtime Adirondack baseball coach Mickey Fauvelle this season opens the door for new head coach Phil Puleo to come up from JV to see how he can develop the Wildcats in the 2019 season.
He has some big cleats to fill heading into Monday’s scheduled season opener against Sauquoit Valley on the road.
Fauvelle, who has a 26-year coaching career in Boonville and was the Wildcats’ varsity coach for the past four seasons, coaches the Adirondack Trail Blazers of the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League.
Last season Fauvelle coached the Wildcats to Center State Conference Division I and Section III Class B championships with a league record of 8-0 and an overall mark of 21-2.
Boonville went on a 17-game winning streak and captured the sectional title by besting Westhill 7-5 in the final at Onondaga Community College. It was the first section title in 32 years for Adirondack, with the last coming in 1986 when Fauvelle himself was a shortstop on the team. Their season came to a close at the NYSPHSAA Class B Central Region championship game falling 3-2 in eight innings to Section IV champ Seton Catholic.
The good news for Adirondack is that several players are back.
Senior pitcher Ethan Martin won 10 games last year and looks to be the ace of the staff. Junior Alex Gaylord is Puleo’s No. 2 pitcher, and the new coach said it’s great to have them both back and expects big things from them. Another experienced pitcher is senior Adam Serra.
Junior Lansing Allen is back at third base, and Martin will play shortstop when not on the mound. Junior Dawson Martin, up from JVs, will be on second base, and senior Trevor Backer will play first base. Outfielders include Gaylord, Serra, juniors Keagen Case and Noah Mills, senior Austin Witzigman and senior Christian Juliano, who can also play in the infield and will see time as a designated hitter as well.
Junior Spencer Hamilton returns at catcher, and junior first baseman Josh Guernsey is a key bench player for the Wildcats.
Additionally, Puleo brought up freshman Nate Allen and sophomores Kevin Greco and Kreedon Rodgers all for the outfield, with Greco getting some third base work in and Rodgers doing some pitching as well.
Among the key losses to graduation are third baseman Sean Banks and centerfielder Mitchell Martin along with two of the team’s best defensive players, Andy Scouten and Andy Fauvelle.
A challenging non-league scheduled includes games against Whitesboro, New Hartford, and Notre Dame High of Utica.
“In my mind, playing some really good teams gets you ready for sectionals,” Puleo said.
As far as the games themselves are concerned, Puleo said they are going to take it one day and one game at a time, especially with the weather.
“I obviously have an expectation to win the league,” Puleo said. “And then we’ll take it from there. Of course I would love to go through sectionals and have a run again.”