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Globe South Sports Notebook

Patience paying off these days for Wentworth baseball squad

Steve Studley Steve Studley
By Monique Walker
April 12, 2009
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If Steve Studley wanted to be a college baseball coach, he knew the job in the heart of Boston would be a tough task. The Marshfield native didn't consider himself a "city person," but that was the least of his concerns.

The coaching position was at Wentworth Institute of Technology, a school that doesn't even have its own baseball field. Plus, the school's majors are limited, which diminishes the number of options for potential student-athletes. But Studley took the job in 2004 anyway.

In an 8-1 victory against New England College last week, Studley earned his 76th career win, setting a new school record. The win total may seem low, but in Studley's first two seasons, the Leopards won a combined 16 games. Overall, Studley is 76-86-1, but in the last two seasons, he has guided the Leopards to a 47-20-1 mark.

"If you would have asked me my first years here to get that many wins, it definitely would have seemed like a stretch," Studley said. "

Wentworth has employed six coaches since it became an NCAA program in 1986. Wins didn't always come in bunches; 16 victories once stood as a school record. But last season, Wentworth broke through with a 30-14 mark and this season is off to a 17-6 start.

"Coaches told me it would be a tough challenge, but if you could get the team to be .500, that would be quite an accomplishment," Studley said. "Now, .500 would be a season we wouldn't be happy with."

A two-sport athlete (golf and baseball) at Marshfield High, where he graduated in 1989, Studley continued his schooling at Castleton State in Vermont, serving as an assistant coach for one season after graduation. He worked as an assistant at Division 2 Stonehill for four years, but all along, his goal was to become a head coach.

Signing on at Wentworth meant he would have to find players with specific majors in mind, from engineers to architects. When Wentworth added a program for management, it helped expand the pool of potential athletes. This year's junior class includes his first recruits.

Although the limited number of majors makes recruiting a challenge, Studley said most of his athletes are focused when it comes to academics and able to balance athletics.

"At Wentworth, I pretty much have kids that clearly know what they want to do when they grow up," Studley said. "You don't come in and study electrical engineering and bounce around."

On the field, Studley said his assistant coaches have helped him develop a winner. Former Stonehill All-American Billy Sittig, the team's pitching coach; hitting coach Brian Nelson, a fellow 2006 Stonehill graduate; and bench coach Matt Moyen (Wentworth, class of 2006) all are helpful in running smooth practices, according to Studley.

Without a home field, Wentworth's practices are mostly held in Tansey Gymnasium or at the soccer/lacrosse/softball field on campus. There also is an indoor batting cage or an outdoor cage, redone last year. The arrangement means Studley has to set up stations for his players, and the coaches help run each station. The Leopards have played six "home games" at various area schools, from East Bridgewater to Northeastern.

Studley said the dedication of his players along with the coaching staff has helped build the Wentworth program from the lean years, and he uses every opportunity to remind his team of the lessons that face them every day.

"I'm always telling them to make adjustments, not excuses," Studley said. "We have plenty of excuses that are built in if we want to use them."

Hitchcock ties Bentley hit record
Abington native Alex Hitchcock tied the Bentley softball career hit record with her performance in a double-header against Stonehill last week.

Hitchcock collected two hits in a split against Stonehill (2-1, 0-3) that pushed Bentley to 13-9 overall. She reached 147 career hits, matching Lauren Frasier's mark, achieved from 2001 to 2004. The senior shortstop is second on the team with a .324 batting average and 14 RBIs.

Lenehan making an impression
Connecticut College goalie John Lenehan of Hingham is off to a strong rookie lacrosse season. Last week he picked up six saves and added three ground balls in a 10-8 win against US Merchant Marine Academy to help the Camels earn their fourth win of the season.

In the game, Cohasset native Chuck Czerkawski, a freshman midfielder, won 17 of 22 faceoffs and picked up a game-high 10 ground balls.

Monique Walker can be reached at mwalker@globe.com.