Globe West Sports | AROUND THE DIAMOND

Quincy’s talents on display

Legion Morrisette Post 294 on top heading to playoffs

Quincy American Legion Morrisette Post 294 is on the top of District 6 in the East Division, thanks to veteran players including shortstop Colin Ryan. Quincy American Legion Morrisette Post 294 is on the top of District 6 in the East Division, thanks to veteran players including shortstop Colin Ryan. (Jim Davis/ Globe Staff)
By Colleen Casey
Globe Correspondent / July 10, 2011

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The Quincy American Legion baseball team wasted little time showcasing its offensive prowess, and depth, in a 9-7 win over host Stoughton last Tuesday night. The first three batters - Greg Nelson, Colin Ryan, and Matt Goreham - collected hits and scored in the first inning.

Morrisette Post 294 (14-2) crushed visiting Cohasset the following night, 10-1, behind a dominant pitching performance from Donny Murray, cementing its top spot in the East Division of District 6, and then rolled over Stoughton on Thursday, 8-1.

Seven-year head coach Steve Maze attributes a great deal of his club’s success to having, in his eyes, the best players from the city on his roster. That is in contrast to past years, when Quincy fielded two Legion programs, Post 294 and Post 95. This summer, only Post 294 remains after the Post 95 team folded because of financial reasons.

“We have three guys who are the impact players that steer our ship,’’ said Maze, referring to Nelson, Ryan, and Goreham, all recent high school graduates who plan to continue playing at the college level.

Nelson, a center fielder from North Quincy High, is excited to be playing for Morrisette. “I’ve waited since I was 10 to be on a team this good,’’ said Nelson, who is hitting a team-leading .400 and will try out for the baseball team at Keene State College.

Ryan (.370 average), another North Quincy graduate, said the major difference between high school ball and Legion ball is talent.

“Some kids can go away for the summer, but on this team everyone’s here and committed,’’ said Ryan, who starts at shortstop. “We’re in first place. You can see everyone is here and wants to play.’’

“This year we’ve combined and got all of Quincy together. We have everyone we used to play with when we were younger,’’ said Nelson, who will play at Suffolk University.

Maze said that with just one Quincy team, he has “the pick of the litter.’’

Goreham, a graduate of Catholic Memorial, said that getting players from the other Quincy team has worked out.

“We got some of the talent from the old Quincy team,’’ he said. “It was unfortunate for them but it worked out for us. Now the best players in the city are on one team instead of two.’’

Six players came aboard from the old Post 95 club: Malcolm Kelly, Chris Connolly, Adam Nazzaro, Robert Kowzlowski, Leroy Wallace, and Kevin White.

The 6-foot-3 Goreham, who bats third in the lineup, said that being in first place helps build the team’s confidence.

When he’s not pitching, he’s making diving catches and long stretches at first base. The reason he believes his team has been successful so far is because of the little things.

“Getting a bunt down or hitting a sac fly, those are the reasons we’re in first place right now.’’ said Goreham, who will play baseball at Northeastern University.

Team chemistry has also played a role in their success, he said. Goreham and Ryan have been teammates since they were 10 years old.

“Summer baseball is a lot of fun with a group of guys you’ve been playing with your whole life. This year is especially a lot of fun because we get to play together one last time before we go off to college,’’ Goreham said.

Joe Alibrandi (.370) has stepped up for Morrisette. A third baseman entering his senior year at North Quincy High, he is the cleanup hitter for Post 294. When no pitcher was available for a game against Hyde Park on July 1, Alibrandi took the mound despite having tendonitis in his right shoulder.

“My shoulder wasn’t hurting bad that night so I thought I could pitch the start to help the team,’’ he said of the 11-7 win. “I’ve been working a lot on my hitting this season.’’

Ryan added, “He’s been a huge bat in the lineup for us.’’

Coach Maze said that Alibrandi has been a “pleasant surprise.’’

“He’s stepped up huge for us this summer with a key start,’’ said the coach.

“He did excellent. It’s great to know you’re playing with a kid that has shoulder problems that’s willing to put that aside for the team. You couldn’t ask for a bigger heart out of him,’’ said Ryan.

Morrisette was third in the standings last year and was defeated in the first round of the playoffs. This season, Post 294 has clinched first place in the East Division and is determined to make a deep run in the playoffs, which open on Tuesday.

“I feel privileged to have kids that give it their all every day. I’m confident we can win going into every game,’’ said Maze.

Playoff run
With three games remaining in the regular season, including today’s finale against host Norwell, Brockton Legion Post 35 (13-4) was leading Zone 10 with 24 points. “We’re having a good season right now, putting ourselves in a position to compete,” said coach Dave Seropian. Shortstop Chris Samaras, pacing the team at the plate, piled up four RBIs in a 6-0 win over Marshfield last Wednesday night. Seropian said the team takes pride in its pitching and defense. Joel Woodbridge is 4-0 on the mound. The coach’s son, Nick, a 16-year-old second baseman, has made just one error in 17 games.

Through Thursday, Walpole (14-2) and Norwood (14-2) shared the top spot in the West Division of District 6. . . . Easton Post 7 (14-5, 28 points) was two points behind Somerset Post 228 (15-3) in the District 9 race.

District 6, District 9, and District 10 playoffs are all scheduled to start this week.

Colleen Casey can be reached at