Staples (CT)

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: Staples

WESTPORT, Ct. - Is this the year that Staples returns to the state championship game?

Class LL winners in 2017 and 2019 and state runners-up in 2015, the Wreckers appear loaded heading into the 2023 campaign.

“We’ve got a lot of kids back,” related head coach Jack McFarland. “The number one key will be staying healthy. If a key position goes down it will be hard to overcome. Offensively, we need to be sharp running bases and score some runs. Last year we had great pitching but we didn’t score many runs.”

Pitching should be strong once again with four good arms expected to play major roles for Staples, which a year ago reached the quarterfinals before having its season come to an end with a 15-8 record.

Hiro Wyatt, the 155th-rated 2023 right-handed pitcher in the nation, will be the ace with the USC signee getting help on the mound from 6-8 senior left-hander Cris Zajac; sophomore Kai Nee, a Duke commit; and senior Chase Siegel, a Skidmore College recruit.

“We have some power arms,” McFarland noted. “I think we’ll get a lot of swing-and-miss stuff. When you get 10 or 11 strikeouts you don’t have to do much on defense but if you only get two or three you have to play defense.”

That is an area that the 17th-year head coach is confident will be good this season.

“Our team defense will be strong up the middle,” McFarland said. “We just need to get the lineup going and create runs.”

Max Jossen, the 11th-rated junior catcher in New England, and senior Holden Caney, a Skidmore College commit, are returning catchers with experience while senior Ethan Cukier is back at shortstop. Junior Luke Oakley is a returnee in center field helping make the middle of the field what McFarland is looking for out of the Wreckers.

Outfielder David Gervasio is another starter that is back, as is Jaron Kline, the second-ranked 2023 third baseman in Connecticut.

“I like how we work hard,” McFarland explained. “We have great leadership. Two of our captains (Zajac and Cukier) were also basketball captains on the team that lost in the state championship game.”

The head coach points to Westhill and Fairfield Warde as teams to contend with in league play, but McFarland feels his squad is up to the task.

“I like that this team is hungry,” McFarland said.

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