Looking to the future
Davies senior Lach, of Pawtucket, focused on life after high school following cancellation
I wanted so badly to play. We had been in the gym (this winter), and we had started practicing, and we were all excited to get it going. We were all ready to go, and then ‘Boom.’ It felt like it was just ripped from us. We were all upset.”
— Davies senior T.J. Lach
LINCOLN — Ask anyone who knows him – T.J. Lach is a man of mighty few words.
That’s why it’s so difficult to get a read on his feelings about the Davies Tech varsity baseball season being canceled late last month due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
Lach, a senior mainstay at shortstop, had been looking forward to leading a “new-look” Patriots’ squad this spring with a singular goal: Make the playoffs for the first time in eons. Instead, his athletic career will end with fond memories not only on the diamond but the gridiron as well.
Lach, was perhaps the brightest star in head coach Henry Cabral’s first varsity football program last fall.
Ask Lach his reaction to the news there would be, in fact, no baseball campaign, he sighed, “Y-e-e-e-a-a-h,” then “Coming off football, I was so anxious to play baseball. I wanted to ride that momentum, have even more fun and success because it was my last season.
“I was so upset when I found out,” he added. “I wanted so badly to play. We had been in the gym (this winter), and we had started practicing, and we were all excited to get it going. We dwere all ready to go, and then ‘Boom.’ It felt like it was just ripped from us. We were all upset.”
Skipper Justin Medeiros had been curious to see how Lach would improve after such a stellar year playing football.
“He had started at shortstop as a freshman, sophomore and junior, but we were thinking about putting him in left this year,” he confessed. “The thing is, we had a good young corps of kids coming up, so we wanted to put some of the upperclassmen on top of the defense; we needed to strengthen the defense.
“He led the team in hitting as a sophomore and junior, and last year won the Silver Slugger Award for Davies, which goes to our top hitter. I know all the kids were chomping at the bit to start playing; they wanted to make the (Division III) playoffs, which we haven’t done in quite a while.
“(During the postponement portion to the preseason,) we were having weekly team meetings on Zoom; I was trying to keep the kids up-to-date about what was happening (on the state level). When the news broke, most of the guys already knew. I could see their faces on the screen, and it was pure disappointment.
“I think one of the reasons why was they knew they had a chance to be pretty good,” he continued. “I thought we’d surprise some people, as this
is my third year, and we were starting to develop a good nucleus with some athletic kids coming in. We had a lot of kids with heart and passion for the game. They were maturing before our very eyes. They wanted to shine – finally – in D-III.
“It’s a crying shame. It would have been a great year for T.J. (and lone fellow senior) Temi Matanmi.”
Lach indicated he’s probably not working out as much as he should be; then again, he stated his official sports career is now over. He will attend the Community College of Rhode Island-Lincoln next fall, but not before learning more about the ironwork industry from his uncle. That will be his summer job.
“My focus in high school was on auto collision work, so one of my goals right now is to maybe own an auto detailing shop some day,” he said. “As for training, I’m still doing my daily exercises like pushups, playing hoop outside with my brother or with some buds. If it’s a nice day, I’ll be out doing something or just relaxing, taking in the sun. If not, I’m inside, doing schoolwork or playing video games.
“Or even listening to music or texting.”
He did insist he wouldn’t give up sports completely, that perhaps someday down the road he will sign on with an adult baseball or softball league, maybe even basketball.
It’s guaranteed he’d excel, given his talents on the gridiron. Last season, Lack led the Pats in catches (37), receiving yards (507), touchdowns receptions (three) and two-point conversion receptions (four).
Davies, however, didn’t win a game. In fact, Lach’s junior year on the basepaths, the Pats captured only two.
“I need to give a shout-out to my high school baseball coaches (Medeiros, current athletic director Bob Morris and his son Cooper); they’ve given me some great, incredible times, and a lot of memories I’ll never forget, even though we didn’t win a lot,” he noted. “It was still fun.
“Looking back, I had a great time playing football, too,” he continued. “I didn’t get a baseball season as a senior, but I got a first-ever football season, so at least I got one as a senior. That was so cool, playing on Davies’ first program.”
Joe Coelho may only be a junior pitcher/first baseman, but he seems to be taking it harder than his upperclassmen.
“I was crushed for the seniors because we really wanted to make a run in D-III so they could go out as members of a winning team,” he stated. “Davies hadn’t really had a strong playoff team in a long time, and we felt like we could have ended the drought. If I was a senior, I know I’d be incredibly bummed out, but I’m using this canceled season as motivation for next year because this could have been us.
“I’ve talked to a lot of teammates, and I told them we have to go out and win that ring for both classes (2020 and 2021) next year. We need to avenge this season for them. I was talking to Nick Rossi, who’s a junior and our center fielder, and I told him, ‘We really need to tke that next step as seniors. We have to give it everything we’ve got to go out and make us a championship team.”
Lach would have loved to achieved that this spring.
Davies senior T.J. Lach (3) hasn’t won a lot of games during his career with the Patriots, but the football and baseball player truly enjoyed his time at the Lincoln school. Lach was a standout wide receiver and the baseball team’s top hitter the last two years.