Prep Baseball Report

Bishop Hendricken (RI)

Bruce Hefflinger
PBR New England Senior Writer

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To view the full list of 2023 Team Previews that we have already completed, please click here.

2023 Spring Team Preview: Bishop Hendricken

WARWICK, R.I. - There is so much to treasure about this year’s Bishop Hendricken baseball team.

“To be honest, I like everything about it,” lauded head coach Ed Holloway, who has been the mentor of one of the top programs in the northeast since 1996. “We have great kids and great players. We have good pitching, good catching, a good shortstop and a good center fielder. On the field we’re talented.

“The character of the team is also very strong,” added Holloway. “It’s a really good team on and off the field which makes it easier and fun to coach these guys.”

The 20th-rated team in the nation by PBR and the number two squad in the Northeast rankings behind Malvern Prep, Pa., the 2023 edition of the Hawks have high expectations after finishing second in the state a year ago.

“We fell short at the end to North Kingstown, the defending champs,” reflected Holloway. “Honestly, I feel it was the two best teams in the state. Hopefully, it gives us a push this year.”

With 22 titles since 1977, the last coming in 2019, there is no doubt what the goal is for a program that finished the 2022 season with a 19-4 record.

“I think the state will be really good this year with a lot of quality pitchers,” Holloway related. “It’s going to be a battle, it won’t be easy. We need to score some runs but that will be difficult against quality pitchers.”

However, the veteran mentor is confident that his year’s edition of the Hawks will be up to the challenge.

“We have a lot of quality people that love baseball, are focused and want to give it their best shot to win it,” Holloway said.

It starts on the mound with senior Alex Clemmey.

“He’s one of the best pitchers in the country,” Holloway said of the eighth-rated 2023 left-handed pitcher in the nation. “He was all-state last year going 10-1 and we’re expecting a big year from him. We’ve had so many good ones over the years, but he’s definitely one of the best. He reminds me of Jay Rainville, the 2004 first-round pick of the Twins. They’re both tough pitchers mentally. They never take a game, an inning or a pitch off.”

The second-ranked senior in New England, a Vanderbilt commit, will have plenty of help when it comes to shutting down opponents with two pitchers coming off injuries returning to provide innings.

“Anthony Mena only made a couple of appearances last year after a terrible accident before the season fracturing his leg,” Holloway related. “We’re hoping for good things from him as a senior.”

Also back is Braxton Pearson, the top-rated junior right-handed pitcher in Rhode Island who missed all of last season with an injury.

“He’s excited about this year,” Holloway said of the 6-2 165-pound Maryland commit. “He has a lot of potential.”

Two of the top players on the Hawks will also pitch in center fielder Griffin Crain and shortstop Jack LaRose.

Crain, the second-ranked 2024 outfielder in New England and a Louisville commit, “is a lefty who pitched a little last year but is in the mix for a bigger role this year,” according to Holloway. LaRose, the 84th-rated junior shortstop in the country and number two in New England, was the closer for Hendricken as a sophomore.

“He’s smart and knows the game,” Holloway said of the UConn commit who hit .400 a year ago. “He’s definitely one of the top players in the state.”

Senior Matt Jarmie brings more experience to the staff after pitching in relief in 2022.

“He’s a senior we hope takes a step up, maybe as a closer,” Holloway related about the UMass-Dartmouth signee.

Another standout could also see time on the mound in junior Ryan Thompson, a corner infielder that played first last year.

“He will be one of our best players,” the Hendricken head coach said of the second-ranked 2024 first baseman in New England, a Rhode Island commit.

A trio of infielders bring more experience to the team in senior Jay Pilderian along with juniors Christian Butera and Cole Camara. The latter two could also see time in the outfield where Crain is the anchor in center.

Braeden Campbell is another outfielder returning after starting in left field as a freshman, hitting nearly .400, but the eighth-rated 2025 catcher in New England could also be behind the plate.

“He’s a good outfielder so he could be out there if a younger catcher steps up,” Holloway noted.

While the losses to graduation were enormous from last year’s Hawks, with seven going on to play in college including Brandyn Durand at Kentucky, Andrew Noland at Wake Forest, Jared Munoz at UMass Amherst and Dorsy Ascencio at URI, the immediate future remains bright at Hendricken.

“We have strong leadership,” Holloway said about the strengths of this year’s team. “Jack LaRose was a captain last year and in my time as head coach he’s the first sophomore elected to be captain. He’s a tremendous leader for us, so it starts with him.

“Alex Clemmy gives us a shot to win every game he pitches,” Holloway continued. “His only loss was 1-0 to North Kingstown in the first game of the finals, we just needed to score some runs. This year I think we’ll be a good hitting team. The first four or five in our order  - Campbell, Crain, LaRose, Thompson - will be good for us, so I think we’ll be able to score runs and our defense is good. Crain is a terrific center fielder and LaRose is strong at shortstop. Thompson is a gold glove first baseman and Campbell a very good catcher.

“We just need to fill in some other spots,” Holloway concluded. “If we do that I think we’ll have a shot at contending for a championship.”

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