1949 Dracut High School baseball team.
1949 Dracut High School baseball team. (VALLEY DISPATCH /)

Spring officially arrived in Massachusetts on April 9th when the Boston Red Sox had their home opener at Fenway Park.

That same week the Dracut High School varsity baseball team opened its season at Saugus High School. Baseball has a long history at Dracut High School. It was one of three sports offered when the high school opened in 1933-34 (the other two sports were football and basketball).

The first baseball coach at Dracut High was Jean Guenard. Guenard and his wife, Emma, immigrated to the United States from Canada in 1886. They settled in Lowell and Guenard found work in the mills. When Dracut High opened in 1933-34 and the athletic program was established, Mando Alberghini was named the football and basketball coach. Guenard was named athletic manager and baseball coach.

As athletic manager, he was responsible for setting schedules and overseeing what equipment was available for the players. His role was similar to today's athletic director. (I'm not sure how he became associated with Dracut High athletics but I suspect he was a friend of Nick Alberghini's.


Dracut’s Jim Dadoly at bat and sliding into third base in 1948.
Dracut's Jim Dadoly at bat and sliding into third base in 1948. (COURTESY PHOTO /)
Alberghini only lasted one year at Dracut High. He was let go in 1935 and replaced by Dracut High teacher Spencer Sullivan. Guenard was also let go).

Guenard and the first Dracut High School baseball team played their first game on April 24, 1934 against Howe High School.

In 1935 when Sullivan took over athletics at Dracut High, he had a great turnout for the team. Pitchers — Tony Teschaner, Fred Swindells, William Conole, and John Kondra. Catcher — Henry Gazlik. Infielders — Charlie Manousis, Henry Levnavre, Robert Dumont, George McEwan, Teddy Volis, Roger Guilmette, Paul Hamel, Al Aseiulonis, John Rachel. Outfielders — Joe Chatakowski, Arthur April, Jimmy Spanos, Teddy Alexakos, Christo Parascovopolous, Forrest Zupee, John Roddy (named captain in 1937), Nick Demitropolous and Fred Carvel.

The baseball team was scheduled to be the highlight of Charles L. Randall Day on May 20, 1937. Randall had served as superintendent of schools for 24 years announced he was retiring at the end of the 1937 school year. Charles L. Randall Day was held on Thursday, May 20 with track and field events for high school and upper elementary students, all students received a free luncheon at noon, and the high school baseball team was scheduled to open their season that afternoon at 3 on Pleasant Street Field (today's Monahan Field) against Keith Academy.

Baseball, in fact all athletics, were in danger of being eliminated at the high school in 1938. School Committee member Warren Fox proposed eliminating all athletics for a year. He had support for his motion in the community. The pastor at the Hillside Congregational Church, Rev. Ellsworth Ewing, supported Fox's motion and spoke at a School Committee meeting.

But, they were in the minority.

Two hundred high school students signed a petition stating they wanted athletics to continue. Elphage Phaneuf, President of the Franco-American Club, publicly stated his support of athletics at the high school. When the time came for the vote, Fox was lost 4-1. Committee members Joseph Daigle, Robert Chenevet, Harold Smith, and George Neofotistos voted in favor of continuing athletics. They did however put a limit on what could be spent in 1938. The three athletic teams were allocated a total of $350.

Ultimately, athletics were cancelled in 1943 due to World War II. After the war, Ed Murphy was hired in 1946 and was the coach for football, basketball, and baseball.

While there are many more than three sports being played at Dracut High School in 2019, those on the baseball team are fielding a team this spring for the 85th time since Dracut High was established.