The J. Taylor Finley Middle School baseball team endured its fair share of challenges this past spring. While everyone played hard, that didn’t translate into wins on the field.
Coached by Paul Caleca, the 23 player Blue Devil squad was captained by Joseph Toscano, Matthew Gerardi, Gavin Kata and Mike Mungo. The team compiled a 1-6-2 record.
“Coming together to function as a single unit,” the season’s most notable accomplishment according to Caleca.
Finley was led by Toscano (1B/OF), Gerardi (SS/2B/OF), Nick Sineno (3B/P) and Joe Algieri (C). “Jo Jo Toscano is a great young leader and a fine defensive ballplayer,” Caleca said. “Matt has improved greatly. Nick was our best all-around player; offensively, defensively and pitching.”
Finley’s only victory came against Oldfield. The Blue Devils had tie games with Northport and Elwood and dropped contests to Hauppauge, West Islip-Udall, West Hollow, Bay Shore, Commack and West Islip-Beach.
The roster included seventh graders Harrison Baliber, Kaedon Halbeisen, Theodore Leavy, Peter Leavy, Nikolai Lulewich, Matthew O’Connor, Dante Salgado, Dominic Verme and Jose Villatoro; and eighth graders John Acompora-Miller, Christopher Acompora-Miller, Joseph Algieri, Nicholas Cesario, John Crousillat, Matthew Gerardi, Gavin Kata, Jack Koopman, Costantino Posillico, Enzo Pupillo, James Rosselli, Nicholas Sineno, Joseph Toscano and Nicholas Zahn.
Just as it is on every other level of competition right up through the Major Leagues, pitching is the key to winning on the middle school level and Caleca knows it.
“The way our league is set up, you need to have four pitchers,” the coach said. “With a 75 pitch count [limit], you can’t finish a game with one pitcher and cannot play more than two games a week.”