The Huntington baseball team is battling to reach the Section XI playoffs for the first time in 14 years. The Blue Devils will square off against first place West Islip in a three game series this week.
Huntington is currently 6-6 in league play and 9-8 overall. It’s the most wins by a Blue Devil baseball team since 2005 when the squad went 16-8. Until this spring, Huntington had only won as many as five games in a season once.
The Blue Devils expect to have their hands full with West Islip, which has won 10-of-12 league contests and is 13-4 overall. But, head coach Billy Harris feels his Huntington squad can compete with anyone on any given day.
“We have a young team that has started to mature this season and is competing at a high level,” Harris said. “The sophomores are benefitting from having played a full year on varsity as freshmen. The team has been playing together and gelling since last spring. It’s a young team that has really come together and overcome early season injuries to compete for a playoff spot this late in the season.”
Kyle Colleluori has emerged as one of Suffolk’s best players. The sophomore is batting .410 with 25 hits, including eight doubles, 23 runs batted in, nine walks and 11 runs scored. Remarkably he has fanned only once in 72 plate appearances. He boasts a .472 on base percentage and a .541 slugging average for an OPS of 1.013. (OPS measures how well a hitter can reach base.)
Colleluori has also been masterful on the mound. In six games (including five starts) he has hurled 31.2 innings, fanned 33 batters and walked only seven. He has surrendered only eight earned runs all season, compiling an amazingly low earned run average of 1.77 along with a record of 3-2.
“We have been playing really well the last few weeks and we need to be able to carry it into the final week,” Colleluori said. “We can’t let up now. The team looks great and everybody’s contributing to every win. It’s been a fun season and hopefully we can end it in the playoffs.”
Senior Elian Pimentel is also in the midst of a fine season. The veteran is batting .353 with a .492 on base percentage, .569 slugging average and 1.061 OPS.
Pimentel has 18 hits, including three doubles, a triple and two homeruns. He has driven in 14 runs and scored 13 times. He has also walked 14 times.
Pimentel is also one of Huntington’s top pitchers. In seven starts he’s thrown 39 innings, striking out a team high 38 batters and compiling an ERA of 2.87.
Chris Segreti is the team’s shortstop and one of its finest hitters. The sophomore is batting .339 with 20 hits, including eight doubles and a triple. He has 14 RBIs and has scored 13 runs. The teenager has struck out just seven times in 74 plate appearances.
Aidan Bender is batting .323 with a .523 on base percentage. The sophomore is also one of Huntington’s top pitchers, sporting an ERA of 3.50.
Sophomore catcher Robby Harrington has been a strong defensive presence behind the plate. He’s framed the strike zone well for the Blue Devil pitchers and proven his worth on plays at the plate numerous times during the season.
Senior Justin Italiano returned from an injury after missing a month and delivered the game winning hit in a 3-2 league win over Comsewogue last week.
Alex Bellissimo has a team high 22 runs scored along with 14 hits. He’s also been hit by four pitches. A great contact hitter, he has fanned only eight times in 70 plate appearances.
Alex Gonzalez has been consistent in right field. The sophomore covers a lot of ground and displays a strong arm. He has nine hits, eight runs scored and five RBIs and has above average speed on the bases.
Senior Jonah Anastos has 11 hits while sophomore Zach Gordon has banged out 12 hits, including three doubles along with 10 RBIs. Sophomore Jaden Italiano has also contributed to the team’s success by scoring five runs and playing great at second base.
Huntington’s offense has produced 139 hits overall, including 31 doubles, three triples and two homeruns. The Blue Devils are batting a collective .283. The team has only 91 strikeouts in 599 plate appearances.
Huntington compiled a 2-18 last year and went 4-16 in 2017. The Blue Devils are markedly better this spring and all of Suffolk knows it.
After not qualifying for post-season play for 13 consecutive seasons, Huntington is on the cusp of finally reaching the playoffs again. “This is the biggest week a Blue Devil baseball team has had in a long time,” Harris said.