STRATFORD—Like any good coach, Mick Buckmir likes to set his goals high.
“We like to keep them high or lofty every year,” the Stratford High baseball coach said. “They’re really what our kids are playing and competing for and they should be the motivation behind everything.”
A year ago, the Red Devils went 11-10, losing in the first round of the Class L state tournament.
Every season, with every team at 0-0, though, Buckmir is aiming for championships.
“It simply comes down to our team wanting to play for three championships,” he said. “The town championship–and we’re already in that ‘tournament’ so to speak as our neighbors Bunnell are on our schedule twice–the league championship, and the state championship.
“The SWCs and States aren’t a given and we need to earn our way in first to even have a chance at playing for those championships,” Buckmir added.
Four seniors graduated from last year’s team, which leaves a group of four seniors coming back that will provide the Red Devils experience and leadership.
Quinnipiac-bound team captain Braydon Seaburg headlines that group. He will play center field and pitch for the Red Devils.
Classmates Zach Fedak (LF/P) and Cam Smith (P/OF/DH) will also be asked to provide a multitude of things to the program.
Sophomore catcher RJ Burlone also returns to the team.
Other seniors on the roster include Logan Zezima, Gabriel Avila, Preston Williams and Nicholas Traussi.
Some of the players Buckmir expects to step up and play a bigger role this season include junior Malcolm Kinder (IF/OF) and sophomores Luke Zezima (OF/IF) and Anthony Torreso (IF/C).
The rest of the roster is still sorting itself, the coach said.
In the end, while wins and championships are part of the program’s goals, there are more important things at stake, as well.
“While striving for those goals as best we can,” Buckmir said, “our hopes are that our kids through the team game of baseball can learn from the experiences of commitment, hard work, togetherness, camaraderie, and sportsmanship.”
Stratford opens the season on Tuesday, hosting Darien at 4:15 p.m. at Penders Field.