WALLINGFORD — We still don’t know if there will be Major League Baseball this year, but one local version of the Boys of Summer will begin Wednesday when the Wallingford Silver Storm takes the field against the Simsbury SaberCats at Pat Wall Field at 7 p.m.
The Silver Storm is entering its fourth season in the Connecticut Collegiate Baseball League (CCBL), a summer wood bat league for college players who live in the state.
The 2020 CCBL features seven teams. The Brass City Bombers, Glastonbury Arrows, Simsbury SaberCats, Southington Shock, Tobacco Valley Renegades and defending champion Manchester Mavericks are the teams that will compete with Wallingford for the CCBL 2020 title.
There will be a few safety measures implemented by the league due to COVID-19.
These changes include no sharing of water and equipment, spacing in and around the dugout and no more high-fives or group celebrations.
Teams are expected to wait for the other team to clear the field in between innings. They will provide their own baseballs as well.
Despite the pandemic, the Silver Storm has managed to train and prepare for the upcoming season.
“We’ve had some practices and some intersquad play, and there’s some new faces here,” said Matt Altieri, the former Sheehan coach who manages the Wallingford squad. “When I recruited these guys back in March and April, they all were saying how excited they were to get back out there. It seems like everyone’s on their own program, going out to the fields and finding space to long toss or getting batting practice on their own so. Everybody’s been doing something.”
Fans in attendance at CCBL games will have to embrace the new distancing policies, limit interactions and avoid being in groups
“You just got to let the players know what the regulations are and enforce them; you have to be vigilant with distancing and having no contact,” Altieri said. “I’m sure there will be a few glitches since they are so used to how things have been the past years.”
Altieri anticipates a strong campaign for the Silver Storm. Wallingford returns eight players from the 2019 team that went 8-5: James Chiapetta, Mark D’Augelli, Jeff Massicotte, Jack McDonald, Steve Mirra, Brendan O’Connell and Jacob Rainey.
The rest of the roster is comprised of players new to the team.
“I’m looking forward to it and I think the players are too,” said Altieri. “These guys got cut off around March, so I think everybody’s anxious to play baseball again.”