Written by Michael Florio Thursday, 03 April 2014 00:00
The New Hyde Park Memorial High School Gladiators baseball team will be looking to make the playoffs for the sixth straight season.
The Gladiators have made it to the postseason five seasons in a row and eight of the past nine years. They finished last season with a record of 10-9-1 and a first round exit in the playoffs.
After seeing four players that had started the previous three seasons graduate, head coach Doug Robbins will have his work cut out for him. This years Gladiators will start four sophomores game in and game out.
“We have a lot of talented youth players,” he said. “Right now we are just getting accumulated with each other and showing these younger players how we expect things on the varsity level.”
The younger players will have to perform while making these adjustments if the playoff streak is going to continue.
“Every team in the league, with the exception of Jericho, have been playoff teams the last five or six years,” Robbins said. “Wantagh, South Side, Carey Bellmore JFK have all been in the playoffs with us for years, so one team will not make it.”
The Gladiators play 18 league games this season, one non-league game, and only four of the seven teams will advance to the postseason.
If this streak is going to continue, a big part of it will fall on the shoulders of seniors Brennan Scanlon and Cody Campson.
Scanlon is a right-handed pitcher and center fielder. Campson is a lefty starter and first baseman. Not only does the duo bring the power on the mound, serving as the teams top two starting pitchers, they bring it at the plate too, batting in the three and four spots of the lineup.
“They have done a nice job of throwing strikes and showing great poise on the mound,” Robbins said. “They also show the younger players how the program runs.”
Robbins will also rely heavily on one of his younger players, sophomore, James Messina. He is the teams number three starting pitcher, shortstop and leadoff hitter.
“He’s our catalyst for sure,” he said. “He gets everything going.”
Robbins believes that his team can compete with any team in Nassau County, but said it’s just a matter of getting the younger players to believe so.
The Gladiators have gone 1-1-1 after a three game set against Garden City. After dropping the first game 6-5 and tying 3-3, the Gladiators were able to pull out a 5-3 victory last Thursday behind Messina’s complete game.