Pioneer baseball coach reflects on a winning season, says he has many more to go as a Pioneer

Clearview fell short in post-season play after a “roller-coaster” season

While no trophy was carted around the diamond by the boys in green this year, the Clearview Regional High School baseball squad had a successful season in the eyes of head coach Rolando Gautier.

Etching an overall record of 13–9 and a league record of 7–5, the effort will go down as a winning season.

However, according to Gautier, the 2018 season was a “roller coaster for sure.”

“The month of April our team played how we all expected,” Gautier said, noting that hot bats carried the team to an 8–1 record.

In three of those wins, Clearview posted 15 runs against Pitman, 11 on Williamstown and a definitive 18 at home against Gloucester Catholic.

Junior Brandon Drapeau had his fair share of success at the plate with nearly 70 at bats bringing in 29 runners throughout the year. Fellow junior Shawn Dougherty posted similar numbers and recorded four home runs.

Running on the high of a fruitful month, Clearview neared team records and hoped to create new ones by the end of the season.

“We thought we would blow team hits out of the water,” Gautier said, along with runs scored. By the final game of the season, the team was eight hits away from a school record of 180; however, success deteriorated well before late May and no records were set this year.

“Our bats got cold,” Gautier said.

The coach said this happened in early May, a month the Pioneers suffered a record of 2–9.

“As soon as we started struggling at the plate, everything was downhill from there,” he said.

No different than any sport, baseball teams face rough patches during a season and sometimes that happens at just the wrong time.

Gautier said the team was not able to pitch its way through the stretch of low hitting.

“May came and our weakness was exposed,” he said. While he was happy with his pitchers and their growth as players through the year, he said going into the season, he knew the mound was not their strongest part on the diamond.

In the first half of the season, the Pioneers faced the pitchers they knew how to hit, fast pitchers.

“Slow pitchers ate us up this year,” he said, noting that he did not see much improvement with his bats up against curveball and off-speed throwers.

His main piece of advice to his players, “You have more time than you think…work the opposite field so that the baseball can get deep on you, so that you are not attacking the ball out front.”

Despite a rough May, the Pioneers finished second in the league with a 7–5 record and made a playoff appearance. However, the team dropped its first game to Howell, 8–2. Clearview also qualified for the Diamond Classic where it beat Gateway, 7–1, but lost to Eastern, 10–6, to end the season.

Already looking ahead, Gautier said next year the team will miss the leadership of many players including Danny Sullivan, Alex Soriano, Robert Gallagher, Brett Yurgin and Nikko Capone.

Gallagher will play NCAA Division 1 ball at the University of Massachusetts-Lowell next season. “He is a competitor,” Gautier said. He added Gallagher’s winning attitude is something that will assist him in baseball and becoming a “productive man in his community.”

Yurgin will play at Rutgers Camden.

“He is a kid that showed up everyday wanting to do the right thing and the best thing for the team,” he said.

This season marks the end of Gautier’s second as head coach of the Pioneers, and combined he holds a 28–18 record.

Thanking all Clearview staff and his players, Gautier, a former college player, said he measure his success partially by the texts and emails from former players he gets informing him about how something he taught them has impacted their lives.

He added, “As a coach, I do everything I can to get them college attention. … Two seasons down and many more to go as a Pioneer.”