Look­ing to the fu­ture

Davies se­nior Lach, of Paw­tucket, fo­cused on life af­ter high school fol­low­ing can­cel­la­tion

Pawtucket Times - - SPORTS - By JON BAKER jbaker@paw­tuck­et­times.com

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.

Sub­mit­ted photo

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.

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