Jun. 4—It was Steve Lomasney’s first summer, 14 years ago, with his Lawrence-based youth baseball program, “The Show Baseball Academy.” He took his best team to a tournament in Georgia to compete against the best.
“It was eye-opening,” said the Peabody native and former Red Sox prospect. “I remember we played this team from Texas. It was our second tournament. I think it was their tenth tournament. We had some very good athletes, very good players, but they were more seasoned, played more baseball than our kids.”
Lesson learned. Offer more opportunities to play more baseball.
Fast forward to June 4, 2021 … today.
If you see Lomasney today and he looks like he’s proud as a peacock with its colored feathers completely spread out, well, he is.
Today, four of his guys — Steven Hajjar (Michigan), Dom Keegan (Vanderbilt), Sebastian Keane (Northeastern) and Jared Dupere (Northeastern) — will be headliners when the NCAA Division 1 baseball tournament begins.
Hajjar and Keane, both of North Andover, will start in the school’s openers at their respective regionals in South Bend, Ind., and Fayetteville, Ark. Keegan and Dupere will both be batting third for their respective schools.
These are not four good players. These program-changing talents all have pro careers awaiting, probably very soon.
“Proud? Yes, I’m very, very proud,” said Lomasney, who oversees 28 baseball and softball teams in his program, which works out at The Show hitting facility in Lawrence, on the West Andover line.
“I keep in touch with all of them,” he said. “I text all my guys, wishing them congrats, checking in. I get messages back saying, ‘I wouldn’t be here without you, coach.’ Wow. Those messages mean a lot.”
Lomasney said all four have something in common, beyond work ethic.
“They all have very high compete levels. Very high,” said Lomasney. “It’s a mental toughness that is needed to thrive at this game at all levels. These guys all have different personalities, but their drive to win and be great separates them.”
This is not Lomasney’s first rodeo with great talent. He also helped develop a few other players currently in the pro ranks, including Methuen’s Jacob Wallace (Red Sox), Merrimack, N.H.’s Mickey Gasper (Yankees) and Peabody’s Pat Ruotolo (Giants) and Brandon Bingel (Indy ball) got the bulk of their AAU work under the tutelage of Lomasney and his assistants (Kevin Canty, Pete Delani and Ralph Polichetti).
What a year it has been for Lomasney’s foursome.
Hajjar was named first-team All-Big Ten at 4-1 with a 2.75 ERA and a remarkable 101 strikeouts over 75-plus innings.
Keegan led Vandy with a .369 average, 11 homers and 46 RBI despite missing seven games due to COVID-19.
Dupere was named the Colonial Athletic Association MVP with a .351 average, 21 homers and 48 RBI.
And Keane enters tonight’s tilt against Big Ten champ Nebraska, with a record of 6-1 and a 3.93 ERA.
Amazingly, at one point Hajjar, Keegan and Dupere played on the same team.
“Hajjar and Keegan were attracting most of the attention, but I’d tell the college coaches don’t sleep on Dupere,” said Lomasney. “It was amazing having these three talents together. You can’t predict what has happened to each of them, but I’m not surprised. They have the qualities needed to compete and beat the best in the country.”
Lomasney will be following all of them today. It will make for an interesting day and night. And it’s not just about showcasing “The Show Baseball Academy.”
“These guys are helping put Massachusetts and northeast baseball on the map,” said Lomasney. “They are proving that if they play a little more baseball they can not only compete with anybody, but they can be better. I love it. I can’t wait for (tonight).”
You can email Bill Burt at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lomasney on the Fearsome Foursome:
Steven Hajjar, Michigan
“The ultimate competitor. I was fortunate to have had him for three years. His compete level is through roof. There is an aura about Hajj, that he’s the guy. I’ve seen clips from interviews of his Michigan teammates and coaches, talking about his leadership. He’s not only great physically, with a mid-90s fastball and 85-mph hammer, but his mental makeup is elite, as if he’s saying ‘I’m going to win this.'”
Dom Keegan, Vanderbilt
“What Dom does with bat is special. I played 12 years of pro ball and have been around a lot of elite guys in big league camps. The things Dom can do driving baseball the opposite way put him in an elite group. The kid is a worker, outworking everybody. He has a great approach at plate. That’s how you hit .380 in SEC. Dom is a really, really good hitter who knows how to take a pitch. A true professional hitter.”
Jared Dupere, Northeastern
“He was my sleeper. I started coaching Jared when he was 12 or 13 years old, always electric kid. He played shortstop for me. He has great fast-twitch qualities. He’s also put a lot of time in the gym. There is no better physical specimen. His ability to drive ball to all fields makes him special. He needed to cut down on strikeouts and be more selective at the plate. And he did it. Pure athleticism. One of the best.”
Sebastian Keane, Northeastern
“A natural arm. He has a great ability to throw the baseball, like a God-given talent. Comparing him to Hajjar, Sebastian was a better strike-thrower with all three pitches. His ability to pitch and use off-speed and his location has separated him from others. He is still learning. He’s an impact arm at a great program as a sophomore. He’s got a very high pitcher’s IQ. He’s going to get better and better.”
The next stars?
Here is the next group of high schoolers and soon-to-be college stars, all of whom played under Lomasney’s AAU program, The Show Academy. This group has the potential of being on a par with current one playing in the NCAA Division 1 tournament this weekend:
Zach Fletcher, Bedford, N.H. (Purdue)
DJ Pacheco, Danvers (Richmond)
Jake Elberry, North Andover (Richmond)
Kyle Lavigne, Bedford, N.H. (Austin Peay)
Ryan Griffin, North Andover (Northeastern)
Brett Dunham, North Andover (Northeastern)
Brandon Hsu, Hollis, N.H. (URI)
Matt Maloney, Windham, N.H. (Dayton)
Brendan Holland, North Andover (UMass Lowell)