Portsmouth baseball team expects big things from hurler Peters

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PORTSMOUTH —  As the snow melts into the grass, flowers start to sprout and the “tings” of metal bats hitting baseballs ring in the ears of coaches and players, the one thing that baseball fans are looking forward to is the junior season of Portsmouth High School pitcher and infielder, Matt Peters.

“I have all the confidence in Matt, that he will put up the same numbers for this year, as he did last year, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him top them,” said Ian Smith, a junior infielder at PHS.

Peters had a batting average of .351 and 14 runs batted in at the plate last season. Peters earned three wins and one loss, while having an earned run average of 3.11 in 36 innings in seven appearances, according to maxpreps.com.

Peters started playing baseball at age 7. Last season for PHS, he played pitcher, second base, third base, shortstop and first base. He also has played for the In The Zone (ITZ) Thunder travel baseball program since he was 13 and he is now on the 17-and-under ITZ team.

After he graduates high school, he plans to play at higher levels of competition at the collegiate level.

“I plan on going to college and playing baseball. I’m looking at several colleges and next year I will be choosing the school that gives me the best opportunity," Peters said.

One of Peter’s best performances last season was his complete game against Chariho High School, where he had five strikeouts while walking only one batter and giving up only four hits. More of these performances are expected by his teammates and coaches next season. He will also be asked upon to mentor younger players in the program.

“We need to see leadership from him day after day, and if that happens, he will certainly play a major role in the development of the younger players,” said Ron Westmoreland, who has been the head coach of the PHS Patriots for two years.

“The team is confident when he is on the mound and he’ll be a leader since he is one of the returning players,” said Conor Struckman, junior infielder.

After a playoff lost last season to East Greenwich, The Patriots will look for Peters to dominate pitching and key hitting to help win important games against rival Middletown. Portsmouth will face Middletown at Gaudet Middle School on May 1 and at PHS on May 25.

As baseball season nears, Peters is going have to take on a large role in leading the team to a state championship in the near future.

“I expect him to be at the top of the rotation, but he will need to earn that, every day,” said Westmoreland.

Patriots Notes is an occasional column written by students in Sandy Oxx's journalism class at Portsmouth High School. Nick Cipriani is a sophomore.

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Jim McGaw

A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.