Written by Vinny Messana, firstname.lastname@example.org Thursday, 20 March 2014 09:20
Hicksville High School baseball is coming off a very strong season, in which they compiled a 16-3-1 record and won their league title before being eliminated in the postseason by Syosset in the best-of-three playoff format.
The Comets will have the challenge of replacing All-State pitcher/shotstop Ron Bauer who won six games on the mound, and is now playing for Division-II Molloy.
“We did lose some of our top players that helped us win the league last year,” said Head Coach Frank Ciaramitaro, in his 15th season with the program. “But, we feel we have strong players to come in and step up for us,” he added.
The Comets have the benefit of returning three All-County players, which is extremely rare considering many of the county’s top players are seniors. They will return ace Nick Schoen, a left-handed pitcher who will also play first base. The southpaw had a tremendous junior season as he recorded a win-loss record of 5-1 with an impeccable 1.12 ERA. He struck out 36 batters in 33 innings. He has the distinction of beating the reigning Nassau County champion Massapequa. His only loss came against Syosset.
Leading the offense will be Mike Reilly, a senior center fielder. Reilly, who will also join Schoen in the rotation, batted a healthy .373 last year, scored 13 runs, drove in 10 and stole 15 bases. Reilly, who was also All-County, will be joined atop the order with the third All-County player Andrew Purcell. The youngest of the group, Purcell is entering his junior season. As a sophomore, he led the team with 30 hits, compiled a robust .390 average and stole seven bases.
Despite the strong batting averages, Ciaramitaro feels that their true strength is on the mound. “We can go about five or six deep on the mound,” he said in reference to the team’s depth. “Good pitching will always beat good hitting,” he concluded. The team has a few candidates vying for the third starter role behind Schoen and Reilly, and whoever does not win the role will pitch in relief.
Ciaramitaro admitted that the team will be shooting for some redemption at Syosset this season, having had their season cut short by them. The real team wearing the target is Massapequa, he noted. “They are the county champions and will have the target on their back,” he said.
The Comets open up their season March 27 against Baldwin.