Friday, 11 January 2013 00:00
The SUNY Old Westbury Panthers had a fantastic 2012 season on the baseball diamond—finishing with a record of 30-12—but will be receiving a significant boost by adding Lou Bernardi to the coaching staff as the pitching coach.
“The team had a great deal of success last season, but we’re looking to build on that,” said Bernardi. “I’m looking to instill a good work ethic, and I feel I can help that beginning with their off-season throwing program.”
The New Hyde Park native has had extensive success on the mound. He finished his collegiate career at New York Institute of Technology (NYIT) in 2010 as the program’s leader in appearances (67), and led the team in saves in 2008 with three.
He went on to play professional ball with the New York Federals of the New York State League, prior to playing with the St. George Roadrunners of the Golden League.
His first coaching job was with his alma mater as an assistant coach for the 2012 season.
Regarding his time as a member of the coaching staff, Bernardi said “It was a great way to give back to the program that did much for me as player. It was pretty beneficial being involved with the program I am familiar with, knowing the system and coaching the upper classmen who I played with.”
Prior to his time at NYIT, Bernardi had one of the most successful careers any athlete has had in the history of Herricks High School. In addition to his leadership role of captain as a junior and senior, he was named the League MVP as well as a member of the All-State team. For his accomplishments, he was inducted into the Herricks High School Hall of Fame.
This summer Bernardi also gained a considerable amount of experience as a head coach with the New York Atlantics of the ACBL. His team won the championship of the Kaiser division.
Bernardi possesses strong character, as evidenced by being the recipient of the Harold J. Hirschfield Memorial Leadership Award in 2010 with NYIT. The accolade is given to the player who displays strong leadership qualities.
His guidance of the pitching staff will be crucial if the Panthers hope to unseat Farmingdale State Rams as the five-time defending champions of the Skyline Conference. The season ended in disappointing fashion as the Rams overcame a 6-run deficit in the ninth inning of the Conference finals.
That is in the past, however, and Bernardi is confident the Panthers can give them a run for their money.
“We’re going to compete. We will play Old Westbury baseball; good pitching, timely hitting and base running,” said Bernardi.
The team was led by its formidable offense, which ranked No. 1 in the nation in batting average (.362), runs per game (9.9) and stolen bases per game (5.79).
The pitching staff struggled to a 5.00 ERA, but the addition of Bernardi and his experience will provide substantial aid.
“I haven’t been a part of this conference but having coached Division-I helped me take on a role with bigger responsibility.”