By Tris Wykes
It’s been a difficult year and a half for the Lebanon High baseball program.
Doug Ashey, the team’s 18-year coach, died of cancer in October, 2019. The 2020 season wasn’t played under his replacement, former Raiders standout Travis Pelletier, because of Covid-19 concerns. Last week came news that Pelletier had resigned after being charged with domestic assault.
Lebanon athletic director Mike Stone is left to scramble for a coach with spring sports practices scheduled to start March 29. A 14-game baseball season against local foes is slated to begin March 12 against Mascoma.
Here are a few thoughts on possible replacements, from the logical to the far-fetched.
Chauncey Wood (below): The presumed choice if he wants the job. He’s served three years as Lebanon’s JV baseball coach and is also the school’s wrestling coach. He previously coached at Newport. Known and respected for his firm but caring hand on the tiller, but he has a young family and may not be able to commit to demands of the varsity job.
Jim Broughton: Former Raiders multi-sport star started Colby-Sawyer College’s baseball program in 1995 but retired last month citing burnout and a desire to see his son, Caleb, play collegiately in Pennsylvania. If he could be talked into taking the Lebanon job for this season, it would be a home run for the school.
John O’Hara: Former senior American Legion Post 84 president, head coach and assistant was previously a high school coach in Western Massachusetts. Honest with his players but a true teacher of life and baseball and does so with a sense of humor. He’s another with a young family, however, and stepped away from his Legion duties to devote more time to it.
Rob Woodward (below): Lebanon High legend in the early 1980s who pitched for the Red Sox and has long directed the senior American Legion Post 22 summer team. The high school level might be too constraining and politically correct for his blunt personality, however. He’s old school in capital letters.
Rick Brown: Longtime assistant for Hartford High in the spring and Post 22 in the summer. Also old school but the lite version. Taciturn but has forgotten more baseball than many younger coaches know. Another Lebanon High star from the 1980s, he’s a local business owner.
Vince Kimball (below): 2010 Lebanon graduate and former pitcher who played golf at Southern New Hampshire and was later an assistant coach for the men’s and women’s links programs there. Works at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center and lives near Lebanon High. Has served as a Post 22 assistant in the past.
Sam Fazio: He’s worked as a Post 22 and Kearsarge High assistant and was the latter’s interim head coach in 2017. Director of food service at the Harvest Hill retirement community. Easygoing and friendly.
Spencer Coronis: 2015 Newport High graduate and three-sport athlete has coached Babe Ruth summer baseball and is the Kearsarge High boys basketball JV coach and varsity assistant. Works at his family’s food market in Newport.
Eric Bates (below): Father of Lebanon senior catcher Calvin Bates and sophomores Dawson and Sam Bates. Former Hanover police detective was long a successful youth baseball coach who loves the rules and intricacies of the sport. Opponents had better make sure they actually touch first base en route to second.
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