By Cary Shuman
The East Boston High School baseball team has clinched a berth in the MIAA Tournament but first-year coach Jeff Arinella and the surprising Jets are continuing toward other goals after a superb 9-1 start.
The tournament-clincher was a May 3 victory over Madison Park but the Jets have showed their mettle and potential with victories over Amesbury and Saugus in the Chris Serino Memorial Tournament (played in East Boston) and Boston City League South powerhouse Brighton in an inter-divisional tilt.
“Qualifying for the State Tournament was one of our goals,” said Arinella. “But right now we’re focused on one division game at a time. We’re happy to clinch a postseason berth but we’re moving forward now.”
The Jets are beginning a stretch of games against Boston City League North opponents with the goal of finishing in the top two in their division and earning a berth in the City Championships.
East Boston ace right-hander Jake Scanlan took a stellar 5-0 record and impressive sub-2.00 earned run average in to a showdown with Latin Academy Monday at Memorial Park but the visiting Dragons handed Eastie its first loss of the season.
In addition to Scanlan’s fireballing success (his fastball is in the 85-90 mph range) on the mound, sophomore Josh Rivera has three victories, highlighted by a no-hitter against New Mission.
One of the defensive highlights against Latin was senior catcher Joe Serpa throwing out a runner attempting to steal at second base.
“Joe has thrown out a lot of runners this year already,” said Arinella.
Nick Giardina and Joe Giardina have been outstanding tablesetters at the top of the East Boston batting order. Nick (first base) and Joe (second base) have also been mainstays on defense.
Sophomore outfielder Josue Baez is the Jets’ leading hitter with a .400 average.
“The season is going well so far,” said Arinella, who was an outfielder at Boston Latin School. “There is a lot of things to handle outside of the coaching realm as well, administratively, but I’ve enjoyed my first season of coaching a lot. I’ve been happy to get to really put my mark on the program and do some things I’ve wanted to implement. It’s been great.”
Arinella grew up playing baseball in East Boston Little League. Current Eastie players such as the Giardina twins also began their careers in the popular youth baseball organization.
“I think East Boston Little League has been a good feeder system,” said Arinella.