Archbishop Carroll coach Mike Costanzo said catcher Cole Chesnet is “like a quarterback on the field for us.”
The reference is appropriate, as the hard-nosed senior was a defensive back, wide receiver, and special-teams performer in the two seasons he spent playing football at Coatesville.
“I gave up the sport when I came to Carroll,” the 18-year-old said. “I do miss it at times, especially the physicality of blocking and tackling.”
With Chesnet providing experience and toughness behind the plate, Archbishop Carroll is 8-1 overall and 5-0 in the Catholic League. “He is the cornerstone of our team, a very good leader, and the other kids follow his lead,” Costanzo said.
The 5-foot-10, 175-pounder produced an RBI groundout to third base in the first inning as the visiting Patriots downed previously undefeated Archbishop Wood, 6-3, in Tuesday afternoon’s heated Catholic League matchup in Warminster.
Chesnet, who has committed to play at Penn State, is batting .400 (10 for 25) with 15 RBIs, 10 runs, and a home run. His homer came in an 11-1 nonleague victory at Haverford School.
Chesnet prepped for this season by playing in about 15 games in the West Chester Adult League and in tournaments for the All-Star Baseball Academy.
A former shortstop and pitcher, he became a regular backstop as a seventh-grader. “I enjoy the mental aspect of it, being involved in each play, and calling pitches about 50 percent of the time,” he said.
Chesnet and lefthander Jake Kelchner, an Alabama recruit whose fastball was clocked at 90 mph in the first inning against Wood, make up one of the area’s top batteries.
Kelchner, who transferred from Spring-Ford to Carroll before this school year, struck out nine, allowed three hits, and walked one in six innings on Tuesday. “He can throw in the 90s and then throw in the 80s and be just as effective,” Chesnet said.
In addition to Chesnet and Kelchner, who is an outfielder or designated hitter when not pitching, the Patriots are spurred on offense by junior centerfielder and relief pitcher Tyler “Bugs” Kehoe, a South Carolina recruit; sophomore shortstop Max Hitman; senior rightfielder Chris Grill; and senior third baseman Dan Crossan.
Grill delivered a two-run single and Crossan followed with a two-run double in a four-run third vs. Wood.
Two other area seniors will join Chesnet in State College: Episcopal Academy middle infielder Isaiah Payton and Downingtown East southpaw Hutch Gagnon.
Central Bucks West will recognize Dominic Liples, a youngster who died of cancer in December 2016, in its Suburban One League Continental Conference game against North Penn at 3:45 p.m. Thursday in Doylestown.
Players from both squads will wear gold laces on their spikes and Dominic Liples’ brother, Ciarlo, will throw out the ceremonial first pitch.
Donations can be made to the Go4theGoal Foundation, a non-profit charitable organization that provides supportive services to children with cancer and their families, at www.go4thegoal.org.
C.B. West’s baseball team will also accept toy donations to benefit Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s oncology department.