New coaches for baseball, softball

A change is coming for both the baseball and softball teams at ARHS this season as the respective teams will each gain a new head coach.

These changes occur after both of the previous head coaches left for different job opportunities; another notable turn will be that both programs will only field a varsity team.

“Even though I’m nervous about coaching, I think the program needed to not go through another change,” said new head coach Kaleigh Keizer. The change Keizer is referring to is one that the softball program has become accustomed to, as this is the third year in a row the team will welcome a new head coach after Coach Kacey Schmitt of 18 seasons retired.

Coach Keizer, however, takes over as head coach after being an assistant for the past two seasons, ARMS coach the year before that, and with the experience of playing four years at Tantasqua Regional HS, and one year at Springfield College before an injury.

“I feel like I’ve always been the one supporting players, and the one that they can come to when they don’t want to talk to the head coach,” said Kaizer. “I’m hoping that that continues. That from building those foundations as an assistant people will still be able to come to me.”

For the baseball team, the change comes after head coach Greg Vouros took a position as the athletic director of Mohawk Regional HS.

This brings new baseball head coach Mike Prattico, who comes to Amherst after playing at HCC and Keene State each for two years, and coaching previously at Pioneer Valley Regional School in Northfield, Mass. and Hampshire Regional High School in Westhampton, Mass.

Coach Prattico said he came to Amherst because, “when I saw the position was open, I knew this was a good community and I wanted to take on the challenge of coaching at the high school D1 level. I look forward to taking on that challenge.”

Athletic Director Richard Ferro said that the change in coaches is not all that unusual.

“In general, there is a lot of turnaround within our coaching staff,” Mr. Ferro said. “You have to have a flexible schedule, so it is hard to find people. [With baseball] I’m excited about new blood, and [with softball] I’m excited having someone who is in the system.”

What is different from this season other than the coaching changes, is the fact that neither program will have high school programs other than at the varsity level.

“It is unfortunate, but that’s where it is at,” said Mr. Ferro. “For baseball, we do have a middle school team as well, unlike softball where there is nothing below varsity. But in softball, there is a middle school waiver to allow more kids to play up.”