Prep Baseball Report

2024 Spring Team Preview: Lincoln (RI)

Bruce Hefflinger
New England Senior Writer

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2024 Spring Team Preview: Lincoln (RI)

LINCOLN, R.I. - If pitching wins games, it could be a banner season at Lincoln High School.

The Lions return four pitchers from an 8-10 squad that missed making the playoffs a year ago in the final game of the season.

“We will rely heavily on our veteran pitching staff,” noted assistant coach Brian Kelly about the 2024 campaign. “We have a lot of senior and junior leadership on the mound and will rely on them to set the tone for the rest of our guys.”

Joey Conti, the third-rated senior right-handed pitcher in Rhode Island, is back after compiling a 3-3 record with a 2.23 ERA. In 37.2 innings, Conti struck out 42 while opposing batters hit just .214.

A pair of seniors committed to play in college bring more experience to the mound. Sean Clifford, a Bryan commit, threw 16 innings with two saves, 14 strikeouts and a 3.90 ERA a year ago and is back. Jaiden Torres, a Southern New Hampshire recruit, had a 1-1 record with 16 strikeouts in 13.1 frames a year ago and also returns.

Isaac Cabral, the ninth-ranked junior third baseman in New England, is another returnee who will pitch in addition to playing corner infield for the Lions and head coach Steve Reynolds.

“We are a young team starting underclassmen in six of nine positions in game one,” noted Kelly, the Lincoln pitching coach. “We will look to minimize mistakes and get these players varsity experience which hopefully will lead us to achieve our season goals.”

There are a lot of holes to field outside of pitching with the graduation of Elijah Moffat, Donovan Lopez, Ryan Allen, Jayden Champagne and Caden Specht. Moffit, a four-year leadoff hitter and center fielder now at CCRI, batted .250 with 20 stolen bases and 17 runs scored while Lopez, the three-hole hitting first baseman now playing at Anna Maria College, batted .311 with 10 RBIs. Allen, a right fielder, hit .322 with 11 RBIs and 17 runs; Champaign, a shortstop, averaged .356 with 11 RBIs and 12 runs; and Specht, a left fielder, hit .276 with 12 RBIs and 12 runs.

“We’re known as a program who will play hard, play the game with respect, and compete in all aspects of the game every day,” Kelly said. “We try to improve throughout the season and get stronger as the year goes on.”

To date, the outlook is promising according to the assistant coach.

“So far this season the coaching staff really likes the attitude and culture being established by this year’s team,” Kelly noted. “Our seniors have passed down the leadership/culture expectations we established when they were underclassmen. They are buying in and the work ethic and compete levels at practice are at an all-time high so far. We hope to build off this into the season.

“Our keys to success this season will be to execute,” Kelly continued. “Our squad needs to be sharp in all aspects of the game and minimize the mental mistakes on a game-to-game basis. With a veteran pitching staff, it is crucial we make the routine plays in the field to help out their pitch counts throughout the season.”

A number of promising newcomers are being counted on to help the cause in freshman catcher Caden Oldham, sophomore center fielder Carson Mellen, sophomore LF/RHP Luke Marchand, sophomore 1B/3B Lucas Marshall and sophomore right fielder Joe Lezon.

“Our goal for the season is to obviously get into the playoffs this year,” concluded Kelly. “We play in a very deep and difficult pod with Coventry, Mt. Hope and Cumberland (defending state champions) so every game is a battle. There are no free wins in Division 1, so every game is huge. You can’t overlook anyone in the state, so taking it game by game will be our approach.

“We will be the team that battles every pitch of every game and hope that leads to the most successful season possible!”

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