The 2011 high school baseball season is expected to be one of the most competitive seasons in recent history. Lindenhurst returns valuable pieces of their 2010 State Championship team, while other contenders such as Calhoun, McGann-Mercy and George Washington all promise to give the defending champions in their respective conferences a scare. The Baseball Player Magazine team put together this “Teams to Watch” section that previews a select group of teams across Long Island and New York City. The BPM team, along with many contributors, spent many hours interviewing players and coaches in order to put together previews of the selected schools. With all this talk about the 2011 season, we can’t wait for that first pitch to be thrown.
2010 was a magical season for the Calhoun Colts (20-6) who surprised the Long Island baseball world by winning the Nassau County AA Championship. It seems winning comes natural for this group of Colts. This year tthere is an air of excitement about the upcoming season, with eight returning starters from their championship team.
“We have a great group of players returning,” said Calhoun manager Joe Corea. “This year the expectations will be high. Nobody is going to give us anything. We have to go out and earn it.”
The 2011 Colts will be led by their talented trio of seniors - Jake Thomas (BPM Preseason MVP), Dan Sullivan and Joe Christopher (BPM Pre-Season Cy Young). Calhoun returns a high-powered offensive attack (.353 BA and averaged 8.8 runs a game), led by 2010 Diamond Award finalist and team captain (C) Jake Thomas (.493, seven HR, 35 RBI). All-County (CF) Dan Sullivan (.404, three HR, 18 RBI) will again provide the spark at the top of the lineup. . RHP Joe Christopher (5-1, 45 Ks, 2.91 ERA) was All-Long Island last year and will be counted on to anchor the staff. All three Colts will continue their baseball careers at the Division I level next fall with Thomas at Binghamton, Sullivan at Siena and Christopher at St. John’s.
The Colts will again field a young team with a great crop of juniors. The Colts hope to have the multi-talented All-County second base Robbie Rosen (.321, three HR, 27 RBI) back, unless America makes him the next American Idol. Also returning are (SS) Zach Goldstein (.351, 14 RBI), (1B/P) Frank Trimarco (.366, 2 HR, 26 RBI) and OF Thomas Viverito (.345, 4 HR, 21 RBI). Corea expects contributions from Alex Ras, John Eyerman, Angelo Demateo, Alex Rodriguez and newcomer Alex Vargas.
Christopher and Trimarco combine to give Calhoun one of the best 1-2 pitching combinations on Long Island. Jon Goldberg, Mike Mugno, Mike Grossane, Vargas and Viverito will fight for the final remaining spots in the rotation.
Coming into the 2011 season, the Bonackers still remember narrowly missing the playoffs last year. , The East Hampton Bonackers look for a new group of leaders to emerge in the Spring of 2011.
Deilyn Guzman, a junior shortstop, plans to provide some pop to a lineup that, at times, had trouble scoring runs last year. Guzman has used the time since last season effectively, working on his range as well as his ability to hit to all fields. The coaching staff also likes what it sees from Guzman on the mound, and he’s an early favorite to lockup a starting spot in the rotation.
At the top of that rotation, however, will be four-year varsity starter Dylan Carroza. Not known for his velocity, Carroza instead finds success by staying around the strike zone and changing speeds. Carroza produces a lot of ground ball outs and will look to continue that trend this year. Pitching at home will be a little different this year for the senior, as the fence has been pushed back at the East Hampton field that for decades has been known as “the launching pad.”
The task of handling Guzman and Carroza behind the plate will fall on the shoulders of junior Ryan Joudeh, who showed promise in his little time on varsity last year. It’s a job Joudeh doesn’t take lightly, and the maturity and leadership within the catcher has shown during the offseason. He’s been getting comfortable with each of the hurlers and isn’t afraid to express what he thinks is working and what needs improvement.
Returning to the cleanup spot for the East Hampton Bonackers will be junior third baseman Cameron Yusko. A left-handed hitter who displays uncanny plate discipline, Yusko also has power to the opposite field. Quiet and hardworking, Yusko could have the kind of year that would have a major impact on the standings in League 6.
L to R: Nick Colasurdo, T.R. Waszkiewicz, Chris Vitale, Matt Oppedisano, Alex Brosnan
The Farmingdale Dalers head into the 2011 season with high expectations. After a solid 2010 campaign, the Dalers will be counting on experience to guide them to success in 2011. “We had a very good year last year playing against some quality teams,” said Head Coach Frank Tassielli. “We have our entire staff back including two seniors and a junior. Pitching is everything and I think we will have a good core. We made some noise last year and I have no problem with people over looking us.”
Playing ball in Nassau County, the Dalers know that they have to bring their “A” game each and every time they step onto the diamond. They’re confident in their offense to be able to grind out a high scoring game, but also have enough confidence to win low-scoring, pitchers duels. With a deep rotation that has experience pitching against tough teams, Farmingdale will have the opportunity to sneak up on some schools and get some big wins.
Playing against larger schools, Farmingdale will be expecting to put up a good fight in their conference. The seniors have been together for six years and have a feeling of unity and family amongst the other teammates. That will be tested as they go up against a tough schedule. “Our name is out there and we have done a good job getting our name out there and people know we have a quality program,” Coach Tassielli told BPM. “We haven't won the division in a number of years and that is always our goal at the end of the season.” With an experienced team, the Dalers will be looking to turn heads this Spring
The George Washington Trojans head into the 2011 season with high expectations. With 25 straight division titles in a row coming to a halt in 2009, the Trojans are ready to get right back on top. With two PSAL Championships already, the team is confident they have a chance for a third. Mandl says this year's team is the best GW has ever had. “They will be better than ever. They have seven pitchers who throw in the upper 80s and a few that hit the low 90s,” Mandl told BPM. “To go along with the strong pitching, they have an incredible offense. Nelson Rodriguez and Ferneleys Sanchez, both juniors, will be leading the offensive attack. Rodriguez played for the 2010 16U USA National Team. Last season, he earned All-Borough and All-City honors. As a catcher, GW will be looking for him to take the lead of the team once again.”
The Trojans are a well-balanced team with great chemistry, veteran leadership and the desire to bring home a championship. Playing against tough teams such as Norman Thomas, the Trojans will have to bring their best each day. Mandl is very confident the Trojans have what it takes to get back to the top of the Manhattan A East conference.
In the past, George Washington High School has produced many successful professional ball players. You may have heard of MLB players Manny Ramirez and Rod Carew, both products of GW. The team is excited for the 2011 season and with the team that is put together, they are worth the excitement. Keep an eye out for Rodriguez and Sanchez, as they will be leading the Trojans in 2011.
Tom Migliozzi begins his 17th season at the helm of the Half Hollow Hills West High School’s varsity program. The Colts earned a 14-4 record in Suffolk League 4 in 2010. The seven team league has changed with Hills West’s traditional rival, Smithtown West, moving out of the league.
“We expect to compete for the league title,” said Migliozzi. Based on history, it’s not a reach. The Colts have earned seven league titles, two county championships, one Long Island championship, and one State championship.
Mike Kaufman, a left-handed pitcher and first baseman, has committed to SUNY Binghamton for next year. Kaufman was voted to the All League team, as was Remy Jenco. Jenco is also a left-handed pitcher who will be playing for Duke University in 2012. Sure handed shortstop James Barone earned a spot on the All County team last year.
Talented Matt Cabezon can play every position on the diamond. He brings his canon-like arm behind the plate for Hills West this year. He will be relied upon for his strong hitting as well. Another junior, Dylan Mouzakis, will likely spend significant time in the middle infield. Sophomore Luke Stampfel will likely earn the starting spot at 3rd base this year.
Migliozzi describes his Colts as having a “pride in tradition. We like to win, but we like to develop men here at West.”
The Island Trees Bulldogs come off another successful season in 2010 as they made it to the Nassau County Class A Final Four for the fourth consecutive year. Coach Joe D’Auria starts his seventh year as Head Coach for the Bulldogs. Over the past six seasons Island Trees has won four conference titles and advanced to the County finals in both 2007 and 2009, winning it all in 2007. Island Trees looks to be solid once again in 2011 as Nassau County returns to league play based on enrollment. The Bulldogs will battle it out in League AV with Northshore, Manhasset, and Floral Park.
Senior third baseman and 2010 All County selection Make Manganiello returns for his 3rd year starting at the varsity level. The powerful Manganiello hit .392 last season with 4 HR’s and 25 RBI’s. The Bulldogs will look to him to fill the leadership void left by two time Diamond Award winner Bryan Verbitsky who graduated in 2010 and now plays for Hofstra University. Manganiello has accepted a baseball scholarship to attend Concordia in the fall.
Senior catcher Dom Raucci also begins his 3rd season with the varsity. Island Trees looks for Raucci to make big strides both offensively and behind the dish handling the Bulldog pitching staff. Junior shortstop Mike Jeannetti started as a sophomore last season and really came into his own down the stretch and into the playoffs. He has plenty of power and a strong throwing arm. The team looks for him to contribute on the mound as well in 2011.
Pitching has always been the strength of Island Trees baseball and 2011 will be no different. Senior lefty Mike Witteck had a terrific year in 2010 working in relief. Witteck struck out 26 batters in only 20 innings of work with a 2.10 ERA. He was tremendous in the playoffs and the team looks to him to become an integral part of the starting rotation. Junior Matt Bowen returns for his second year with the varsity. Bowen has three big league wins in the tough ability based League AI last year. He has pinpoint control and was selected All League in 2010.
Will Vega will be leading the Bucs behind the plate in 2011.
The Islip Bucs finished the 2010 season as the League 5 Champions with a 17-5 overall record, but lost in the quarterfinals of the Suffolk Playoffs, leaving them far from satisfied. The Buccaneers, coached by Pete Blumenauer (ninth year) were coming off three consecutive county titles and were hoping to add a fourth, but came up short in their quest for another, so they immediately got to work and have been preparing for the 2011 season ever since.
The Islip program has sent five pitchers to play Division I baseball over the last four years, including the 2010 Gibson Award winner Ed Macaluso. This years team will be searching for some candidates on the mound capable of filling some very big shoes. The pitching staff will be lead by senior R. J. Going (1-0, 0.00 era in 2010), who pitched a shutout in his only start last year and is comprised of varsity newcomers junior Matt Busch and Brendan Geraghty, sophomores Matt Nalbone and Zach Sanders and freshman Ronnie King. Coach Blumenauer is very confident in the talent of this group, but is quick to point out there is only one pitcher on the staff with any varsity game experience, so he expects the team will definitely have their growing pains early on.
Coach Blumenauer expects team defense to be a key to the Bucs success in 2011 and will help provide support for the young pitching staff, which will be handled by junior catcher Wilfredo Vega. Vega was an All-League player in 2010, as he played most of his innings at first base and hit .390 for the season with 15 runs batted in. The infield returns three of its four starters in All-League senior shortstop Jacob Seymour, senior second baseman Eric Purchacki (the team's most-improved player in 2010) and senior R. J. Going, who was the Suffolk County Gold Glove winner as a third baseman last season. Going will also be counted on to carry much of the offense and build upon his strong offensive numbers of 2010 (.433 average, 22 runs scored, 22 RBI, 15 stolen bases). First base will be split between junior Mickey Maron and sophomore Zach Sanders. The outfield will be patrolled by senior centerfielder Tyler Murphy (committed to North Carolina Central for college), who moves over from left field after a season in which he was named to the Academic All-League Team. The corner outfield positions will be a rotation of players between Geraghty, Nalbone, Busch, King and sophomore Mike Grudzinski, who will also see time at third base, as well.
2011 should be an interesting year as the young Islip Bucs strive to return to the level of success of past teams and get back to the top of the Suffolk County Baseball standings.
The 2011 John Glenn baseball team will be returning 12 players led by four year starter Tim Caputo. Tim was an All County selection last year as well as the starting shortstop for the gold medal winning Empire State Team. Tim has received a baseball scholarship to The University of Rhode Island. “Tim is a coach’s dream. He plays the game the right way and is a great leader on and off the field” stated 6th year Coach Stephen Robins. Along with Caputo the Knights return all league players Matt Toich, John Pierson and Rich Bartumioli. The Knights also return key players Scott Kunz, Tyler Mannix, Wyatt Day, John Marsicano, Tom Malloy and Logan Allen.
Last year was the 1st time in the last three years that the Knights didn’t capture the League 7 title. Glenn’s roster last year had only one senior and suffered through several injuries to key players but were still able to make it to the playoffs and defeat Bayport High school before being eliminated by Shoreham Wading River and Hauppauge. “Last year we were a very young team and suffered some tough breaks. We were proud of our late season run. Hopefully by having so many key players back we have a chance to have an excellent season” stated Robins.
On the mound the Knights will be returning Rich Bartumioli, Noah Raspler, Antony Postorino, Tyler Mannix and Logan Allen. The staff should have depth but will be looking for a pitcher to step up and become the ace of the staff. At the plate the Knights will be strong at the top of the order with Tim Caputo (.420), Matt Toich (.410) and Scott Kunz (.375) all returning, but will look to find hitters in the middle of the line-up to become impact players.
The Kingsmen have a rich baseball history. You can look way back, from future hall of famer Craig Biggio to current College World Series Champion Bobby Haney. After not making the playoffs for the first time in nine years, the Kingsmen went on to win the Suffolk County Championship in 2010. The Kingsmen finished third in League 5 with a 13-5 record and were given the sixth seed in the playoffs. Considered the underdog throughout the whole playoffs (and the away team), the Kingsmen went on to run the table going undefeated in the double elimination playoffs.
In the County Championships, Chris Pyz threw six innings of one run ball. With the score 3-2 and Kings Park headed into the bottom of the 7th, Henry Baker placed a bloop single just over the second basemen’s glove to score Mike Lenardi to win the game. Unfortunately the Kingsmen lost in the Long Island Championship to Wantagh 9-2.
For 2011, Assistant coach Mike Luzim will take over for Mike Prisco. Luzim, a Kings Park graduate is very excited. He will team up with another Kings park grad and former teammate John Dekams. “I don’t want to make any bold predictions, but I know we have a similar group with a lot of potential. If things fall into the right places, we can be dangerous.” This year’s pitching staff will be anchored by Nick Venier. “I have had the pleasure to see Nick develop into a very good ballplayer. He did not start playing summer baseball until a few years ago and now he has attracted many Division I coaches.” When he is not on the mound, Nick Venier will also be an offensive threat. In 2010 Venier led the Kingsmen in Homeruns (four) second on the team in batting Average (.382) hits (26) and RBI (13). The other pitchers who will contribute this year will be Matt Cahill, Kevin Gurlides and Joe Guercio.
On the field and at the plate the Kingsmen will be led by senior catcher Joe Auliano and shortstop Shane O’Leary. Both players started every game as juniors and are excellent defenders. Other key contributors this year will be (UTIL) Mike Zucker, (IF’s) Matt Capobianco, Henry Baker and (OF’s) Nick Borkowski and Brad Bisca.
With a good mix of talent, The Kings Park Kingsmen will look to defend their Suffolk County title this year. “Last year we were overlooked, this year we will be the team to beat.”
Back Row L to R: Steve Skon, Rich Vrana, and Mike Roehrig. Front Row L to R: Vin Valela, Alex Genao
The Lindenhurst Bulldogs head into the 2011 season as the defending League 2 State Champs. With 11 returning players from last year's championship team, Head Coach Mike Canobbio is very confident his group will have a strong showing in 2011.
Assistant Coach Rich Rogers has been handling the offense and has the team poised to put up runs in bunches at any given point. The Bulldogs rely on strong defense and an explosive offense to put teams away. With an offense that has the ability to put up five or six runs per game, the Bulldogs also have the pitching that it takes to win close games. Senior Rich Vrana is one of the most dominant pitchers on Long Island. Last year, he was 9-0 with an ERA under 1.00 and was named Second Team All Long Island. He will be one of the highlights for the Bulldogs in 2011, along with catcher Alex Genao, centerfielder/pitcher Mike Roehrig, who was the 2010 Gold Glove winner in centerfield, Junior second basemen Vin Valela and Steve Skon, a four year starter at shortstop.
The Bulldogs are looking at 2011 just as any other season. They’re “taking it one game at a time,” according to Skon. “We’re not looking ahead to anything. Once the season gets going, we're focused on each game individually and we go from there.”
“We have some kids that were on last year’s team that didn't get much playing time because they were underclassmen,” Canobbio said. “This year, they will have their chance to play and as long as everyone does their job, we will have a successful year.”
Coach Vin Causeman, Kevin Butler, Brett Ellers, Kevin Monahan, Jesse Tuozzo, Frankie Zeigler, Mike Koslowski Coach Steve Costello
Heading into the 2011 season, the MacArthur Generals coaching staff is keeping an eye out for players who will step up and make an impact for their ball club. As their head coach Steve Costello has said, “We’re starting from scratch.” (P/2B) Jesse Tuzzo will be the only returning player who saw significant playing time from 2010, and he will be the Generals on-field leader. Tuzzo is a hard-nosed ball player who is a “freak talent.” With his fastball in the high 80s, Tuzzo will be part of a solid pitching core for the Generals in 2011.
“We’re going to sneak up on people this year,” Tuzzo said. “Teams are going to think we’re not that good until we surprise a few teams and sneak up on them.”
As a program, the Generals have been able to develop the young kids that they have had in the program since they were nine years old. “It’s amazing to see how kids develop as you have them. Just to see their progression is great,” Costello said. “Baseball is a game of failure. If you fail seven out of ten times, you’re considered successful. It’s tough for the kids to measure their progression because sometimes they don't get the results they’re looking for. The process is more important than the result. We train them how to play the game correctly.”
As for 2011, Coach Costello said, “We don't expect any sort of decline from last year because we have great kids who work hard. We expect to compete for the county championship.”
Bishop McGann-Mercy finished last season with a loss to Friends Academy in the Long Island championship game, after beating Port Jefferson for the Class C title. With a big part of their team returning in 2011, another run to the big game may be in the making for the Monarchs.
Head Coach Ed Meier is very confident about this season. “We have a lot of talent and a lot of experience,” Meier said. “We have a few question marks, but I think we’ll be able to answer those questions as the season progresses.”
The Monarchs have a solid foundation with juniors Pat Stepnoski, Joey Crosser and Keith Schroeher. Stepnoski has been playing for Meier since he was in eighth grade and will be expected to be one of their starting pitchers this season. He will also see time in centerfield. “Pat is a five-tool player and will be hitting in the middle of our lineup. He can hit for power and average, he can run, he has a great arm and he is great defensively,” Meier told BPM.
Crosser will also be asked to pitch in 2011, as he saw time as the team’s closer in 2010. He will also split time at second base and is one of the leaders of the team. His double-play partner is Schroeher at shortstop. He returns after a productive season at the top of the lineup in 2010.
Coach Meier expects to return four seniors, including first basemen Rocco Pascale and outfielder Tom Kretz. Pascale got hot at the end of the season, hitting four homeruns in the team’s final three playoff games, including a grand slam in the clinching game of the Class C championship series.
As with every team, the Monarchs will be counting on their pitching in order to continue their success. With Stepnoski and Crosser penciled into the starting rotation, the rest of the pieces will fall into place.
L to R: Colin O'Gara, Adam Moossmann, Adam Lertora, Matt Lertora, Lucas Vallas, Brandon Fischer and Coach John DeMartini
The Northport Tigers head into the 2011 season with a senior heavy team looking to compete in League 2, one of the most competitive divisions in Suffolk County, if not on Long Island. Head Coach John DeMartini who is entering his 26th year with Northport leads the Tigers in their quest for a League 2 Championship.
Highlighting the Tigers in 2011 will be a cast of seniors, 13 in total. Colin O’Gara (3B), Adam Moossmann (SS) and Lucas Vallas (C) are all four-year starters for the Tigers. In addition, Matt (1B) and Andrew Lertora (CF) are the seniors to keep an eye out for. Brandon Fischer will see a lot of time as a starting pitcher, as he is returning to the Tigers as a junior. He saw significant time on the mound last season and will be looking to build on an impressive 2010 campaign. “Brandon will factor into our starting rotation this season,” DeMartini said. “The experience he got last year will benefit him going into this season.”
“Our team is mostly seniors,” DeMartini told BPM. “I think that our experience will play a big role for us in 2011. Most of the seniors are four-year starters and will use that experience to compete in our league. We have some guys that can hit with power, some line drive hitters. We also have good speed on the team and we have good arms on the mound. We are a pretty well-rounded team this year and we're pretty excited about this season.”
In addition to being good on the field, the Northport group are good students as well. Coach DeMartini also teaches in the school and said that each member of his baseball program are honor roll students.
The 2011 Patchogue-Medford Raiders will take the field this spring working to make the Suffolk County Playoffs for the ninth year in a row. The Raiders return six players to their starting lineup. Seniors Tyler Moston (OF), Tom Rubinstein (1B) and Brian Cioffi (2B), juniors Frank Capraro (IF) and Peter Agnetti (C/OF) and sophomore Matt Vogel (IF) all played a significant part in the 2010 season. Junior Tom Palmese and seniors Tyler Cork, Matt Gajewski and Dave Tornetta also return from the '2010 Raiders roster.
The success of this years team will depend largely on how quickly the young but very talented pitching staff develops. The right handed Vogel and Junior Dan D’Onofrio both saw significant action on the mound last year. They will anchor a staff that should include sophomore Dan Tierney, junior Chris Vaneron, and freshman left hander Peter Martino Jr. Senior lefties Moston and Rubinstein, as well as, Vincent Volpe should add depth and experience to the group.
The team is looking forward to the continued improvement of the hard throwing sophomore Matt Vogel. Vogel started as a freshman for the Raiders, something that was last done by Marcus Stroman. Stroman eventually went on to win the County MVP and was drafted by the Washington Nationals. He is in his sophomore season at Duke University. Vogel notched his first varsity win as a freshman and was also a standout on the Gold Medal Junior Olympic team. He has already caught the eye of several top college programs.
The Raiders last won the league in 2008 which was the third consecutive year they had accomplished that goal. During that time they reached the county finals two times. This years’ team reminds the staff of the 2006 team, that won the first League Championship in 20 years at Pat-Med. Those similarities start on the mound where the Raiders had two underclassman Mike Smith and Chris Phelan play a significant role in that teams success.
The Plainedge Red Devils return to their traditional rivals in 2011. Things changed last year when the team began doing morning workouts several days a week. By doing conditioning three days a week and hitting one night a week, the Red Devils are preparing just as they did for their successful run last year.
Head Varsity Coach Tom Pisani is in his third decade leading Plainedge baseball, and he is blessed with a wealth of experience. The pitching staff is led by junior Tyler Manez and senior Anthony Graziano. Graziano began 2010 as a reliever and earned his way into the starter role midway through the season. Manez also plays outfield on days he is
not on the bump. The wild card on the pitching staff is 6’ 8” senior transfer Kyle Halbohn, an early commit to San Jacinto Junior College.
Senior Brandon Swain will see significant time at shortstop. Senior Chris Rodriguez, who will be playing at Farmingdale State next year, will patrol third base this spring. (2B/SS) Ralph Caccavale says, “As Captain, I’m looking forward to leading this team by example.”
Setting goals is a team priority. For instance, (1B/P) Steve Miller has goals of a batting average of over .300 with 20 RBI’s. Team goals is to defeat rivals Island Trees, Division, Wantagh and Clarke, get past the semi-final round, and win the championship.
The Plainview - Old Bethpage JFK Hawks experienced a resurgence in 2010 under new head varsity baseball coach Justin Szwejkowski. The Hawks earned one of only two playoff spots from their conference and won their first round playoff game against fifth seeded Baldwin.
According to Coach Szwejkowski, “The entire conference is good, top to bottom. MacArthur has been at the top for a long time now. East Meadow is always strong. We met Baldwin in the playoffs, they were good. And Herricks won our division last year.”
Plainview returns three award-winning players. Pitcher Jake Faraci was an All-County Team selection in 2010, while posting a 5-1 record. The Hawks also return two All-Conference Team selections in seniors Gil Doremus and Dillon Burke. Doremus was a fixture at third base last year, batting cleanup and hitting a team-leading six home runs, batting .485. Burke batted in the three spot, with a .529 batting average and 32 RBI.
Ben Strack earned his way into the starting shortstop position mid-season last year, and is expected to continue there due to his sure hands and good range. Rob Rothman, with a solid high 80’s fastball, was last year’s ace and is expected to compete for one of the starting pitching spots. Rothman earned the playoff victory against Baldwin in 2010. Another contender for a starter spot is side-armer Shane Lovisi, who missed part of last year due to injury. Shane returned late in the season with impressive performances, including a playoff start against MacArthur.
The varsity also returns two juniors who earned playing time last year. Seth Noreman, a right-handed pitcher and outfielder, is a two-way threat. On the bump, Seth throws in the upper 80’s, and he hits for both average and power. Craig Heller, a left-handed hitting second baseman, is expected to be a contributor at the plate. There are several other players who could make significant contributions in 2011, including Stephen Stafford, another right-handed pitcher/outfielder who throws in the upper 80s.
The Port Washington Vikings baseball program enters the 2011 season looking to continue the recent success they have had. Over the past three seasons they have posted a regular season record of 43-11, won two conference championships and won two playoff games. The team has a dedicated and hard working coaching staff led by Matt Holzer, a Port Washington alumnus. Long time Port Washington coach Joe Del Gais is the varsity assistant coach and Phil Spotteck is the JV coach.
The players are dedicated, want to improve and focused on continuing the programs recent success. This group of players has worked really hard during the off season. They played fall baseball together and then attended indoor workouts throughout the winter. The team has eight returning players from last years team which ended the season on a six game winning streak and a slew of JV talent coming up.
The pitching staff will be led by Senior Jacob Schuckman and Junior Paul Mills, both two year varsity starters. Either, senior and second year player Max Mancher or junior Tim Costello will be the teams third starter while the other will most likely be the teams key reliever out of the bullpen.
Catcher is probably the teams deepest position. The team has two players returning for their second year on varsity, Senior Mike Weiss and Junior Wayne Baker. Both catchers swing a good bat and are solid defensively behind the plate. They should both play an important role on this years team.
The Viking’s infield will be anchored by the two guys up the middle. Second year player Danny Kaminsky will be taking over at shortstop, while junior and first year varsity player Aaron Feinberg will be at second base. Both players should hit at the top of the line up and are great with the glove. Either Jacob Schuckman or Paul Mills, who hit a homerun out of MCU Park last year, will be at thirdbase. Junior and first year varsity player AJ Friedman should be at first base. The Viking’s outfield defense should once again be strong. Senior and second year varsity player Johnny Conetta will battle Max Mancher, Tim Costello, and first year varsity player Grant Ogulnick for playing time in the outfield.
The coaching staff is excited about the amount of talented baseball players they have in the program and have high hopes for the season. The team has put in a lot of hard during the offseason and is looking forward to this upcoming season where they expect to have another competitive season and be in the thick of the conference race. Both the coaches and players are ready to take the field.
Seaford High School’s head varsity coach Mike Milano is very clear about his goals for the 2011 season.“Our expectations as a program is always to win the first ever County Title for Seaford High School” said Coach Milano.
The Seaford Vikings play in Nassau County’s large, highly competitive Class A Conference. “Where ever you fall in league alignment, based on enrollment, there is a tough team or two ready for you,” stated Coach Milano.
The Seaford Vikings are a senior-laden team in 2011. Senior Keith DeGeorge is expected to lead off again this year for Seaford because he hit the ball to the gap, stole bases, and scored runs prolifically. Catcher David Hraska should continue to hit for a high average again this year, and adding higher slugging numbers to his stats. Outfielder Eddie Schaller, an athletic multi-sport athlete, got many big hits last year, driving the ball to the gaps and striking out very infrequently.
Another senior, Michael Kalista, played all outfield positions and pitched as well, and stayed in the lineup all year because of the pop in his bat. (P/OF) Bobby Ryan ended last year as the Vikings most dangerous pitcher and also as a hitter with potential in 2011. Steven Szobesky came back from an injury in 2009 to solid season last year, posting victories against some of Seaford’s tougher opponents, earning his spot as one of the top pitchers on the staff. Milano expects competition from seniors, juniors, and even sophomores to fill those needed positions.
“The Vikings have never won a County Championship in baseball. I learned how very difficult the Class A baseball playoff bracket is to weave through to the title game. “We, as a staff, are proud to have been close to the Championship Round and to have had some championship caliber teams. We still must take the next step and deliver on our own expectations.”
Just as he sets goals and expects results from his ballplayers, Mike Milano has goals and expectations of his own. “At work, the most important thing that I can do is to remain a consistent professional. Never take anything for granted and always keep high expectations both for my students, athletes, colleagues and myself.”
Shoreham Wading River has their own version of the “Big Three.” Seniors Dan Sperruzzi, Ryan Mcalory and Matt Kneisel lead SWR's attack once again in 2011. Dan and Ryan were both named to the All-State team in 2010 and Matt was named to the All-County team. Sperruzzi will be the Wildcats' ace in 2011. He was a mid-season call-up two years ago as a sophomore and will be taking his talents to the University of Hartford next year. Mcalory splits time as a pitcher and at third base and is a three-year starter. He’s headed to SUNY Cortland next year. Another three-year starter, Kneisel looks to lead the team from behind the plate in 2011.
Last season, the Wildcats finished with an impressive 19-5 (16-2 league) record and a League Championship. They are led by Head Coach Sal Mignano, who is entering his 35 season as Head Coach. He is the only coach the SWR varsity program has had.
The Wildcats return eight starters, five of those being three-year starters and even more impressive, seven out of the eight players were named to the All-League team last year. With two juniors returning, the Wildcats are a deep team with a lot of experience. A player to look out for in 2011 is freshman Nick Bottari. He started for Mignano as an 8th grader last season, the first 8th grader to start on Varsity in the school's history, and hit .405 with 39 RBI. The 39 RBI is the second highest total in the program's history. Skeptical at first, the team took the youngster under their collective wing last season once they saw the kid could play.
Sticks and stones may join the illegal bat list, but no one is calling the Ward Melville High School baseball club names any more. Once the doormats of the all-powerful Suffolk County League 1, the last two seasons on Old Town Road featured 32 wins, a league title and the New York Mets' first pick in the 2009 draft.