Melrose native Scott Searles takes over as coach

Published April 5, 2019


MELROSE—The Melrose Red Raider baseball team is in new hands as they start their 2019 spring season campaign.

Melrose native Scott Searles has taken over the reins as varsity coach, prepping the team for their season opener on the road on April 11 against Super 8 contender Lexington. Searles is replacing longtime coach Bill Hirschfeld.

Searles is a former Red Raider who coached most recently for D3 State Champ Austin Prep. His baseball background started in Melrose and now comes full circle. Searles was a three-year starter on the MHS varsity baseball team, where he was named a three-year All-Star and twice named to the All-Conference team. He played college ball at Catawba College in North Carolina as a third baseman and has played locally for the Intercity League since 2000 as a member of the Malden A’s and, more recently, the Wakefield Merchants. He has also coached at Wakefield High and the Rivals baseball program.

Searles takes over a Melrose baseball program with a winning tradition and an expectation for playoffs. Under Hirschfeld’s coaching, Melrose has made playoffs in all but one season over a decade. 

HARRY KELLEY, a senior captain hurler for Melrose, is among those returning to the 2019 Red Raider baseball team. (file photo)

This year they will be led by senior captains Liam Crovo and Harry Kelley. The duo will be essential this season as Searles gets the lay of the land. 

“Both have been fantastic so far, making my transition as a new coach easier,” says Searles. “The whole senior class has been great. It’s never easy when you’re dealing with a coaching change. It’s always a balancing act, having to throw a lot at that kids in a very short window, but not overloading them so they can handle the inflow of new information. The kids have definitely responded well so far.”

For pitching, look for returning starters Harry Kelley and Dillon Kaliris to lead Melrose on the mound. Says the coach, “I really like what I have seen from the pitchers so far. Harry and Dillon have been very impressive to me. Their ability to get ahead in counts and work in the zone makes them effective.”

Melrose has plenty of reserves on the bench. Rotation is still being determined, but look for pitchers like Brandon Mcsorley, Colby Moss, Pat Coen, and Zach Maguire to battle for those next spots and relief time.

Around the horn, there are positions to be filled with the graduation of a good amount of seniors. “Losing so many starters left spots open,” says the coach. “We will try a few different things early in the year to balance offensive and defensive abilities. It’s pretty fair to say that the lineup we have on game one, will not necessarily be the lineup for game 18 or 19.” 

One given is co-captain Liam Crovo as batterymate to Melrose pitchers. 

“Liam Crovo will start behind the dish and Harry Kelley will play some first when he is not pitching,” reports Searles. “We have a few guys over at first that will have a chance to earn time when Harry is on the mound.”

CURRENT WAKEFIELD Merchant and MHS alum Scott Searles is the new head coach of the Red Raider baseball team. (file photo)

Around the horn look for Aiden Ward, Kevin Nickerson, Dylan Robertson, Matt McDonough, Cole Lepler, Matt Morrissey, Cam Gorman, Liam McCall, Brian Pelrine, Eric McGovern, Mark Aylward, Christian Carrieri, Ronan Donahue and Gavin Donahue to make some noise for the Red Raiders. 

While Searle likes what he sees so far this season, he’d like the team to focus on baseball IQ. “I’d like to see them play smart baseball. We have some talent, but we are lacking in some of the mental aspects of the game. The one good thing is, the kids have been picking it pretty well.”

“Offensively, we have some work to do. I think the pitching is going to be our strength and the offense has a little catching up to do.” 

Melrose faces a challenging schedule right out of the gate. “The Middlesex League is always tough and every game is a grind,” says the coach. “There are no gimmes on this schedule. Lexington, Reading, and Belmont and the large teams are always going to be tough and we have to go through all of them. As for the Small, I believe that it’s up for grabs. If we keep showing up to the field ready to work than I think that we’ll definitely be in the mix.”

Making the most of their pre-season will help them gain that competitive edge. Concludes Searles, “I’ve told the kids that the theme for the season is going to be ‘focus’. We have to focus on every game, every at-bat, every rep. It is all about discipline. We cannot take plays off. If we develop that mindset then I feel really good about what this team could accomplish.”