Written by Vinny Messana, firstname.lastname@example.org Thursday, 06 February 2014 10:00
Winning has become a rite of passage for the student-athletes of Massapequa, even playing in the ultra-competitive AA-I conference. And according Head Coach Tom Sheedy, the toughest conference in the league is about to get even more competitive. “This year Hicksville and Oceanside are added to the conference and Uniondale is out, which makes it even more difficult,” said Sheedy, the 11-year head coach at Massapequa. “Every team is playoff caliber. Usually one or two teams are solid but last year all six teams made it to the playoffs.”
But the coach said that will only motivate the Chiefs more this year, as the team came off another Nassau County title in which they finished the season at 20-6. They were defeated in the Long Island Championship game 1-0 at Dowling College. Sheedy said it was an excruciating way to end the season, but certainly nothing to be ashamed about. Both teams had terrific pitchers on the mound, and only one team can be victorious.
In fact, the Chiefs will have the starting pitcher from that game, Alex Cosenza, back to lead the team. Cosenza pitched brilliantly in the playoffs to lead the Chiefs to the Nassau AA championship. In 2013 he was named to the All-Long Island baseball team thanks to four post season starts, in which he had three complete games and was 3-1 with a 0.29 ERA, Cosenza was 9-2 overall with a 1.23 ERA and 50 strikeouts in 57 innings.
“Our starting pitching is strong,” said Sheedy. “Alex is a an All-State pitcher who’s playing college ball at Hofstra.”
Sheedy will use the next couple months to fill out the rest of the rotation, but he said he would most likely refrain from using position players in the pitching rotation. Instead, Sheedy hopes to find strong arms that he can dedicate to the mound.
“We’re just looking for depth,” he said. “We need to fill in the last spot of the rotation. There are candidates, but we don’t like to use position players in the rotation if we don’t have to.”
Despite the fact that the pitching will be the strength of the team, the offense will carry its weight as well.
The lineup will be led by Bobby Honeyman who was also an All-State player for the Chiefs last season. The senior shortstop will be heading to Stony Brook to play for Matt Senk’s Seawolves.
“I’m not going to say we’re going to be a long ball team or even a small ball team. It’s too early to tell,” said Sheedy. “We have the players in place though. I expect to be competing for a county title.”
The Chiefs always seem to be in the mix of competitive teams vying for a county title, as evidenced by the team’s total of 10 county victories. Impact players such as Honeyman and Cosenza will try to keep the winning tradition alive, even with the new challenges posed by the overall strength of the conference.
The Chiefs’ season gets into the swing of things on March 31, as the team attempts to defend their title and possibly take a shot against the best team Suffolk County has to offer in the Long Island Championship.