The team that everyone wants to hunt down because of their nonstop successes: Wantagh. The Long Island Champions for the past three seasons are entering the 2019 season, on the pursuit of their fourth straight Long Island Championship. The biggest issue coming 2019 is the fact that Wantagh graduated many 3 or 4-year starters. In addition to that, the Wantagh Warriors graduated two Diamond Award winners, Jimmy Joyce (2017) and Anthony Donofrio (2018). In the end, the Warriors only have one starter returning, making it a very considerable challenge in the stacked league Wantagh plays in. However, that has not shifted Head Coach Keith Sachs’ mindset. The head coach will be heading to his 26th run as head coach for the Wantagh Warriors, and his ultimate goal for the team is to make the playoffs, which Wantagh has accomplished for 25 consecutive seasons since Sachs has joined the squad in 1994. Of those 25 playoff appearances, 17 of them went en route to the League Championship.
The sole player returning to the 2019 Warriors squad is Mason McLane, a shortstop and pitcher who was honored with an All-Conference Award. McLane has proved to Nassau County Baseball that he is complete in every aspect of the game. Although the team lacks experience in the varsity level, their noticeable strength turns to the players’ deep commitment to their team, as they each accept their roles and play out whatever that could help the team in the long run.
Aside from McLane, the other pitchers that will be in the starting rotation are Ethan Herman and Matt Saborio. Herman serves as the senior on the team, who was heavily used last year as a reliever. Meanwhile, Saborio will be coming out from the farm system after successfully completing his development by shutting out opponents mercilessly. After serving as the backup catcher, Dylan Scott will now play behind the plate full-time. Some of the other alternatives from last season that will have the opportunity to start full-time include John Bednor, Ray Rathgaber, and Spencer Gustafson, who will all be seniors now. Coming up to the varsity team from the farm system for Wantagh include John Jay Devito, Nick O’Connor, Peter DelGais, and Rich Russo.
The Wantagh Warriors look to continue to make a bold statement this run, despite losing many key players for college. With Coach Sachs’ great coaching abilities, he will be able to turn things around quickly to get the Warriors on track to win gold once again in the Long Island Championship. Don’t count them out just yet, as they are still bright and have a lot of fuel left for the 2019 season.