Coventry (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: Coventry

COVENTRY, R.I. - After playing last season with mostly first-year starters, Coventry brings back a ton of experience from a 9-9 squad for 2023.

Tommy Turner and Jake Mather provide a pitcher-catcher combo as three-year starters to lead the way for Leo Bush’s team.

“The season ended quickly last year with a one-game elimination loss to Portsmouth,” Bush reflected back about a 2-0 defeat. “Both of us threw our best and I expect both to be in the hunt in June. We have a lot back.”

Turner, the 146th-rated senior right-handed pitcher in the nation, not only had a 2.26 ERA with 45 strikeouts in 31 innings on the mound in 2022, but batted a team-high .467, 20 RBIs and 10 extra-base hits.

“Tommy is one of those guys you don’t get to coach often in your career,” noted Bush about the UConn commit, the second-ranked 2023 in Rhode Island. “He’s focused and driven, and all the guys in the program look up to him. He generates excitement and is good for the program.”

Mather, the 45th-rated senior catcher in New England, drove in 10 runs with a .244 average in 2022, and will provide experience behind the plate for a pitching staff that must replace Cam Vesey who was 4-2 with a 2.78 ERA.

“We have three to five guys we expect to see significant innings this year,” pointed out Bush, with seniors Luke Lapham, Tyler Reall and Logan Lama along with juniors Logan Downey and Logan Moore in the mix. Downey had seven appearances, Reall six and Lapham four a year ago, with Mather also pitching in five games with a 1.97 ERA.

Downey is back to play shortstop after producing a .340 average a year ago with Anthony Colucci at second base after seeing time in left field last season. Kody Fretts, the 20th-ranked junior third baseman in New England, is another returnee who could also pitch in addition to playing third for the Elephants, which must replace second-leading hitter Jared Vadeboncoeur, who is now playing at Merrimack after batting .385 last season.

Turner and Reall, who hit .312 last year, will be in the outfield when not pitching, joined by the likes of seniors Zach Ellison, Jake Faiola and Aiden Wilkins along with Moore.

“I like their work ethic, maybe it’s because of their experience,” Bush said. “Everything they do is worth a purpose which is good for the coaching staff. There is a lot of leadership at the senior level and the junior level. They gel well on and off the field and we think that will translate into success.”

The hope for the 23rd-year head coach is that Coventry can compete with the likes of Bishop Hendricken and Portsmouth this season.

“We believe we will get solid innings out of Tommy Turner every time out,” Bush explained. “It’s who’s going to take the place after Tommy, not just the second guy but having a third, fourth and fifth guy ready to contribute.

“Our defense will help the pitching and our offense is ahead of the game now,” Bush concluded. “They’ve worked hard at it in the offseason, now it’s just a matter of timely hitting and making the most of our opportunities.”

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