The varsity baseball team gathered in a huddle as Coach Gary Simmons led them through practice. The team was gearing up for a tough opponent, and Coach Simmons reminded the players of their long history together.

His comments were directed particularly at the seven starting seniors on the team: Aidan Aliberti, Taber Caron, Mitchell Chaves, Elias Fhagen-Smith, Jonas Lukowitz, Chris Mayhew and James Sashin. Many of them have been playing together since Little League.

The experience has been paying off this season. After a difficult start with four straight losses, the team bounced back with a streak of seven wins. Wednesday's victory against Coyle & Cassidy puts their record at 9-5; they must win one more game to make the playoffs.

James Sashin is on the mound. — Jeanna Shepard

“Our summer teams and our Little League teams have basically been the same since we were little kids,” said Taber Caron. “So it’s finally the time where this group of kids is all together as seniors, and it’s coming together really nicely.”

Assistant Coach David Smith said the group’s uncompromising work ethic has built one of the strongest groups of seniors he has seen.

“They’ve all just worked really hard” he said.

The team’s seniors are almost all hitting over .300, a marked improvement from the team’s batting average of .240 last year. Coach Simmons added that the team is “the most professional, as professional as high school kids can be professional. It’s probably the closest thing we’ve had.”

Elias Fhagen-Smith connects at the plate. — Jeanna Shepard

Almost all the seniors hope to continue playing in some form in college, whether through club baseball or as walk-ons. After graduation, James Sashin will spend a year at Cushing Academy, where he will train to get recruited for college ball.

The boys are serious about baseball, but what makes the group particularly unique, according to coaches and the players themselves, is that they’re also good friends. Junior Varsity Coach Ernie Chaves put it simply: “They enjoy being around each other.”

Jonas Lukowitz describes a “team atmosphere of friendship” which is readily evident in practices and games. The players have nicknames for each other, and while traveling to away games they play cards — palace and rummy — on the ferry. During practice, they joke about Snapchat mishaps and rib each other about the upcoming prom.

“We talk in our little own language, we have a secret language,” Caron said.

Coach Gary Simmons talks strategy with his players. — Jeanna Shepard

“Like if someone gets embarrassed or something, we say they got exposed,” Sashin added. “That’s a big thing, we say exposed a lot.”

According to Coach Chaves, the group is a lot of “fun to be around.” He described a trip he took with many of the current seniors when they were 12 years old. He and another coach traveled with 13 kids for a week-long journey to the Cal Ripken baseball facility in Aberdeen, Md.

Coach Chaves laughed, remembering the trip. “If I didn’t enjoy being around them, I wouldn’t be taking those one-week trips with a bunch of 12 year olds.”

Though travel affords the team plenty of quality time together, co-captain Elias Fhagen-Smith said that they “hang out with each other outside the field... that really helps, being able to relax on the field knowing that you’re playing next to one of your pals.”

This familiarity also has a strategic advantage, according to co-captain Mitchell Chaves. “We’ve all been playing together since a really young age, so we all know each other, we all know pretty much where everyone can hit.”

Chris Mayhew agreed. “You can trust everyone to have your back, and if you make an error you know they’re going to pick you up.”

As Mayhew spoke, the team warmed up for practice, working through a series of somersaults, skips, log rolls and cartwheels to varying degrees of success (a collision during the rolls was narrowly averted).

Sashin reiterated the importance of his teammates both on and off the field. “The game will always be the same. We’ll always come out here and it will be the same exact way it was the day before. It’s always the same exact things we’re working on, day in and day out, but what changes is what goes on outside the baseball field.”

The next home game is May 19 at 3:15 p.m. against Somerset Berkley Regional High School.