Maybe Saturday’s Class L final against East Lyme at 7 p.m. is North Haven coach Bob DeMayo’s final game. In his 57th season coaching the Indians, rumors have swirled that the coach will call it a career.
He’s not even sure.
“We’ll see,” he said.
DeMayo said he has not thought about it much recently and with good reason. His team has been on a tear since stumbling into the postseason. North Haven lost six out of its last seven regular-season games, getting outscored 49-29. Then the Indians were no-hit by Shelton ace Mike Cowell in the opener of the Southern Connecticut Conference tournament.
Still, DeMayo’s seen a lot of baseball over the past five decades, so a late season slump wasn’t cause for too much concern.
“For whatever reason, I always feel confident going into states,” he said. “If we can get by the first game then we are on our way. And this team is very confident now.”
The Indians’ first game was no easy task, topping South-West Conference champion Masuk 7-3. North Haven then breezed to a 12-3 decision over Middletown, wore down Hand 4-1 in the semifinals and took care of Windsor 7-2 to advance to its first final since 2004.
“It was an amazing type of exhilaration,” DeMayo said. “I felt so appreciative of all my assistant coaches for the support and help to get me back in the groove.”
DeMayo missed all of last season recovering from knee surgery. He couldn’t stay away from the complex that bears his name down the road from North Haven High though. The coach would sit in his car at Bob DeMayo Ballfield and watch his team play.
Last season he said he was more advisor than coach. With his advisor duties well behind him, he can build on his state-best career win total of 853. In order to increase the number to 854, he said it’s going to start on the mound.
“Our pitching staff relies on control and hitting spots, so that has to happen,” he said,. “Our defense has to make all the plays. In the four games we’ve won, if the pitching faltered then the defense got tougher and vice-versa.”
He added even if everything goes according to plan, the team may still need some luck.
“We also have to have the baseball gods on our side,” DeMayo said.
And then, after Saturday’s final, the coach will ponder his future.
“I decided long ago not to make this decision during a season,” he said. “Once the season is over I will try to objectively deal with it. Coaching has been a huge part of my life and I am not sure that I am ready to give it up.”