Coach Costello Takes Over Walpole Baseball


Coach Costy

Ben Brownsword

By Ben Brownsword

Staff Writer

   For the Walpole baseball team, the 2016 season will be the beginning of a new era. William Tompkins, after 37 years as the head coach of the team, stepped down following the 2015 season. Tompkins led his team to 561 wins during his tenure, which places him in the all-time top 10 most successful coaches in Massachusetts baseball history.

  The team is left in the capable hands of new coach Chris Costello, who had a brief career pitching in the farm systems of the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Red Sox. He has been an assistant with the team since 1996 and helped to guide the Rebels to a state final in the 2004 season. Costello, who goes by “Costy”, plans to continue the legacy of Tompkins while putting his own stamp on the team.

  “There will be changes but the core values instilled by Coach Tompkins will remain,” said the new coach. “[Our practices] are going to be short timed/high repetition practice focusing on physical fundamentals but our overall approach to team situations will remain the same.”

Costello also set lofty goals for this season’s team. “[Our goals this season are] 1. Tournament qualification, 2. Herget Title, 3. Super 8 consideration.”

  Here’s a refresher for those unfamiliar with playoff system: the Super 8 tournament is the state playoffs between the eight best teams in the state, who play an elimination tournament. Last year’s Super 8 tournament was won by Braintree, who is coached by former Tompkins pupil William O’Connell.

  Although taking over for a legendary coach is no easy feat, Costello says he will not let the pressure of past success get to him.

  “I’ve been around the game for 35 years and the single biggest enemy to success is pressure,” said Costello. “Following Coach Tompkins is an honor. I know he’s got my back so I feel zero pressure.”

  Heading into the new season, the players are brimming with anticipation to get out on the field.

  “I’m excited to get going,” said senior captain Ian Fair, who is returning for a second year as captain along with seniors Nate Porack and Liam McCabe. “I’ve known Costy since Extra Bases camp as a kid and I can’t wait to work with him this season.”

  Last season, Walpole endured a roller coaster season to win the Herget Conference with a win over rival Norwood in the final game. However, the season ended in disappointment when they faced Norwood again in the Division 1 South semifinal. Norwood, the eventual Division 1 state champions, beat the Rebels 4-0.

  Walpole will be searching for revenge this season against their biggest rival, with games against them this season coming on April 29 and May 25.

    However, Costello has bigger ideas for the baseball program’s primary goals.

  “As a program the goal is to provide a positive experience for every player involved, improve every day, and have a program that the town of Walpole can continue to be proud of.”

  The team opened their season in thrilling fashion, with Tim Bender hitting a walk-off single in the last inning to win 1-0 over Wellesley.