BELMAR – Coming off a season that saw it go 24-4 and an undefeated 14-0 in the Shore Conference B Central division and advancing to a state sectional final, the Purple Roses of St. Rose are expecting more of the same this season.
The Purple Roses were led on the field last season by the Maypother brothers in their junior campaigns. Riley Maypother, a third baseman, hit .520 with five homers, 12 doubles, four triples, and 37 RBIs and was named All-Shore First Team and the Class B Central Hitter of the Year by nj.com and the Asbury Park Press. Brody Maypother, a catcher, was an All-Shore Third Team selection.
“The brothers have been huge leaders, not just vocally, but through their work ethic,” head coach Rich Lanko said. “They come to practice and works their butts off. They’re constantly in the gym and do everything they can to take care of themselves and prepare for the season and that rubs off on the other guys. Everyone looks up to them, even the other seniors. Obviously they have the ability, but they don’t just go through the motions. They come to work and they put the time and effort in.”
Lanko, who is his second year as the head coach, is no stranger to the St. Rose baseball program. He served as an assistant from 2008-11. He noted the program wanted to get back to how it was run then.
“We run college-type practices and a lot of discipline and hard work, which I think they kind of lost over the last couple of years,” Lanko said. “The biggest thing that changed was them getting to buy into our philosophy and change all that. The seniors last year had three different head coaches, so it was hard for them to buy in, but eventually they all did and we had a pretty good run.”
If year one was any indication, it was a big success. And they are hoping for more of the same this season. From what Lanko has seen in practice, that can certainly be the case.
“Our kids know the system now,” Lanko said. “Things are going a lot quicker in practice. We’re moving through those things quickly and we’re banging out our situational stuff. But the biggest thing is guys are working hard, which is one of the things we had to change. Guys were just kind of going through the motions and doing what they wanted to do. That’s not the case this year. These kids did a lot of off-season work. Guys are in shape and it’s a huge difference in guys being ready to play and the level they’re practicing at.”