By Bill Landon
Comsewogue baseball boasts fresh arms at the mound and will lean on its first baseman and shortstop to keep the Warriors contesting this season, but head coach Joe Caltagirone is liking the commitment he’s seeing across the board.
“They want to get better,” he said, noting Comsewogue’s 5-13 2017 record. “These kids know they’ve got work to do, but they’re committed to it. They work hard even though we’re in the gym most of the time with this weather. It’s their work ethic.”
First baseman Joe Mancini has emerged as the senior to look to.
“He keeps the other guys in check,” Caltagirone said. “[He has] very good leadership qualities.”
He batted over .300 last season, and according to Caltagirone is one of the hardest workers on the team, demanding a lot from himself and expecting the same from his teammates.
“We’re more a team this year,” the Springfield College-bound senior said. “Last year was tough — we lost a lot of games later in the season. We’ll have to be better at our situational hitting and our pitching in certain circumstances, but our fielding is really solid this year.”
The head coach agreed, noting his younger student-athletes’ strengths lie in hitting and fielding.
Pitching proves to have the shallowest depth for the Warriors, who graduated four of five starting pitchers, with the fifth sitting out this season with an elbow injury.
“We have eight seniors on the roster,” Caltagirone said. “But they didn’t get a lot of innings last year.”
Junior shortstop Nick Lopez, whose coach said boasted a solid glove as a sophomore, impressing him early with a compact left-handed swing, also said the situational hitting needs to improve.
“Last season we left a lot of runners on base,” he said. “We could’ve gotten the lead early, but couldn’t get the runners in and two or three of those games were close.”
Even with the majority of practices being indoors, Caltagirone said he expects his team to be competitive, even after a loss in the first game of the season to Half Hollow Hills West, 18-5 March 26. The head coach said games against Hills West and Eastport-South Manor will be the most challenging for the Warriors this year.
Comsewogue moved up to League V this season. The Warriors’ March 27 game on the road at Deer Park was postponed to April 6. Comsewogue plays host to Eastport-South Manor April 2 at 10 a.m.