Chariho (20-7, 14-2 Division II-South) won its first league title since winning three straight Class B-South titles in 1993-95. The overall and league wins were the most since 1993 (20-4, 16-2). The Chargers won the Region 3 championship in the Division II playoffs last season, but lost to league-rival Westerly in the best-two-of-three semifinals.
Jake Blacklock (C/SS/P), Chris Edgerly (C), Adam Harvey (3B), Jake Whan (CF).
Darin Thibeault (SS/3B/P).
New to varsity:
Sean Sullivan (1B).
Zack Classey (P), Evan Rathbun (1B), Harold Ward Jr. (3B).
Alex Picozzi (OF).
Kyle Champlin Jr. (LF), Dustin Jarrett (3B).
The three core starting pitchers and six position starters graduated, including Jimmy Paquette (P/2B), who was named All-State second team by the Providence Journal and Division II-South Player of the Year by the coaches.
Tefft and Kirby are the only two returning starters. Tefft led the team in hitting (.402) and doubles (7) and will play a lot at first base. Kirby hit well (.310) and with power and speed (5 triples) and again will be the right fielder.
Kittell, Thibeault and Harvey will be the other infield starters around the horn. Whan will start in center field. Picozzi and Champlin are vying to start in left. Blacklock caught for the JVs last year and will start behind the plate on varsity this year, with others splitting time.
The pitching staff is very inexperienced. Ellison and Tefft each started only one game last year. Ellison is expected to be the front-line pitcher this year. Blacklock and Thibeault will be spot starters.
“Basically we’re a team of utility players, with more players that have multiple positions,” Andy Devereaux said. He expects the team to be sound defensively, lean heavily on its speed and be aggressive running the bases.
Defending Division II champion Narragansett will be tough again, as should other league rivals Westerly, Tiverton and Prout.
“We have a young team and a tough act to follow. At the end of the season, our record won’t matter as much. Our first goal definitely is to make the playoffs. Our second is to have a team that is then hitting its peak — clicking and playing at our best.”