Westhill and Greenwich’s new baseball coaches are finally on the pitch more than a year after getting a job

Separated by less than 9 miles, the two college baseball coaches from Greenwich and Westhill traveled similar paths to reach their long-awaited debuts on the field.

Adrian Arango at Greenwich and Mike Riveles at Westhill were hired in the fall of 2019 and are expected to start coaching in the spring of 2020.

Of course, the pandemic hit, baseball was shut down, and the only place either saw their players last spring was on the computer, either during Zoom calls or when a player was texting. coaches videos of them training.

“We stayed in touch with the children, but as spring progressed, the children lost hope,” Riveles said. “There was not much we could do to stop the kids feeling like it was all nonsense. Fortunately, we had a good group of kids and they’ve done a ton of work since then outside of what we’re doing, and they’ve all gotten better.

Riveles was an assistant coach at Westhill before taking the job.

Westhill has been on the pitch for four practices so far and played his first scrum last week.

It was the most anticipated melee that most of them will attend.

“It was great”, regretted Riveles. “It was a long time coming and you could see how excited all the kids were to be there together. Last year was horrible and coming back to the pitch is so good. We know that it can always be taken down or closed, but every day we are there is just awesome.

Greenwich also played their first scrum last week.

Both teams have just two players each with college experience and no starters from two seasons ago.

That left both coaches reaching out to travel coaches and attending games last summer for scouting reports.

“We have two returning kids with a total of eight at bat,” Arango said. “Luckily I know some of the coaches they’re playing for this summer and I contacted them. I watched a lot of baseball last summer. I went to Greenwich Cannon games, Babe Ruth games, the Clubhouse, at Baseball U. If our kids played, I tried to go see them.

Arango, a graduate of Stamford High, was an assistant at New Canaan and coached in Stamford’s American Legion system for years before coming to Greenwich.

Despite missing a high school season, most of the college players coming out for the team not only played last summer, but spent time training indoors during the offseason.

That leaves them sharp at the plate but perhaps lacking in some team fundamentals.

“The kids worked extremely hard on their own,” Arango said. “For the kids, it was pretty smooth. We just spent time in the first few days of practice going over little things like double cuts, first and third situations, bunting and field rotations on plays. The kids, however, were ready to go on day one of the pitchers and catchers.

Still, not having played FCIAC games is not easy to prepare for, no matter how many hours you put in during the offseason.

“None of our kids have seen the varsity rounds and that’s tough,” Riveles said. “We get a good feel for the kids after talking to their Clubhouse or Baseball U coach, but playing in the FCIAC is a different animal and the only way to prepare for it is to play there. In every FCCIAC game, you might be up against a college-bound pitcher. We have very smart kids, hard working kids and the good thing is that every player has done something to improve. Nobody did anything. The children worked. »

Westhill opens its season on Saturday when it hosts Norwalk and first-year head coach Ryan Mitchell at 1 p.m. while Greenwich travel to Fairfield for an 11 a.m. game against Ludlowe.

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