Coach Boland wins 300th baseball game
Last night's shutout victory is a special one for Whittier Tech baseball Coach Joe Boland -- it marks his 300th win after more than two decades in the dugout.
The Whittier Wildcats beat the Greater Lawrence Tech Reggies 1-0 during yesterday's 4 p.m. away game. Lefty Will Carpenter, a senior from Merrimac, led the charge with 17 strikeouts and two hits.
"Will was dominant, he pitched a gem today," Boland said yesterday. "I'm glad Will was on the hill for the 300th."
Boland's 300th comes after 25 years as the head varsity boys baseball team and 34 years with Whittier Tech.
A Haverhill resident, Boland, who also works as a Whittier Tech guidance counselor, has always had an interest in sports, particularly baseball and basketball. When the opportunity to begin coaching presented itself, he didn't hesitate to get involved -- first with the varsity basketball team, where he remained for seven years, and then with varsity baseball.
Throughout the more than two decades as a baseball coach, Boland has seen and experienced the ups and downs, leading his team to win or share 14 Commonwealth Athletic Conference league championships and win two Division 3 North championships.
His greatest accomplishment, however, isn't about the number of wins he tallied up. It's the students he's worked with over the years.
"Everyone always talks about the wins, but sometimes the losses are as big as the wins. They're more difficult, but you learn a lot," Boland said. "I've had some exceptional ball players that have made this job really rewarding. I hope that I've been able to make a positive impact on their lives as well."
Students looked for Boland's direction both on and off the field. As guidance counselor, a position he stepped into in 1994 after working as Whittier's physical education and health teacher for 10 years, Boland works with students on their career choices and offers life advice.
Shortstop Josh O'Brien, a junior from Ipswich, has played with Boland for the last three years and enjoys that he's able to make practices and games fun while still providing valuable tips for improvement.
"Everything we do, there's always a lesson we can learn from it," O'Brien said. "With Boland as a coach, he's really made us become a family."
Boland was raised in a family of teachers, both his mother and father were educators -- his dad began his teaching career at the former Haverhill trade school and later served as a Whittier Tech's guidance director. Following his dad's footsteps, Boland easily found his niche in the same profession.
And after a rewarding career at Whittier Tech, Boland will retire from his role as guidance counselor at the end of the school year, but plans to stay on as head coach of the baseball team.
"I'm not retiring from baseball," Boland said. "I'm looking forward to the next challenge."