By Marc Swirbalus, President HHBR and Coach of Cardinals
The summer of 2020 was the beginning of the new normal. Staying distant and safety guidelines all while playing baseball was challenging, but we did it! As the new President and a coach of this historical league, I wanted the season to go as smooth and safely as possible. Starting off we were all just excited to be outside with our friends again. But our focus quickly turned to wanting to improve, grow as a team and play to win. I told my Cardinals team during our first practice that our goal was to win the 2020 Championship. My message was for these young men to understand that we had a goal and we needed to put in the work to achieve our goal. Working with my dedicated and former Hingham Babe Ruth player, assistant coach Kevin Byrne we emphasized the need to be competitive and to learn from our wins as well as our failures. My philosophy as a coach has always been to motivate and develop players.
This Cardinals team came together at the right time. We began the season losing our first 2 games, but we finished the season strong as we finished in 3rd place with a 7-4 regular season record.
There were some ups and downs but when it came down to it we came together when it counted. Each member had something to contribute whether it was Noah Ross as our strong lead-off hitter and solid catching duties, John Nichols becoming our playoff catcher and cleanup hitter. Connor Daly our leader on the bench and played a solid third base. James Rozanitis commanding the shortstop position and carrying a big stick. Johnny Dwyer the pickoff master and stellar relief pitcher. Eric Byrne playing a great first base and an on-base machine. Chris Volpe our game 2 playoff winner shutting down the red-hot Giants, John Jenkins a lefty relief pitcher specialist. Charlie Pompeo our reliable Second baseman and scrappy contact hitter. Mathew Rulli aka ”CHOOIE” led the team in getting hit by pitch and a leader amongst the 13 year old players, Matt Radulski a great clubhouse guy and played a solid leftfield. Finally, my proudest moment, coaching my two boys, Chris and Nolan, who had to listen to me as a dad and a coach. Nolan Swirbalus always with a smile and the toughest kid on the field able to play any position for me. Chris Swirbalus, our team leader in all categories, Championship Game winning pitcher against a very tough Dodgers team and the most competitive baseball player I have ever coached. This is always a special moment when they play together and this is their second Hingham Baseball Championship together.
Finally, I would like to thank all of our League coaches: Kevin Byrne, Eric Rickard, Ted Matthews, Tim Bradl, Jim McPhillips, Howie Levy, Steve Murray, Doug Banks, Greg Lane, Mike Devlin. Our Babe Ruth board members: Greg Lane, Ted Matthews and Kevin Byrne. Thanks to Josh Ross Photography for capturing every moment and every pitch. A special thank you to Ron Hutchins or handled our Cronin Field Maintenance and his 40 plus years supporting Hingham Baseball. Without their support this season would not be possible. And to our Hingham and Hull families who had faith and trust in our organization to participate in these times of uncertainty.