New Staff Named for Blue Devil Baseball Teams
June 9, 2023
A staff of four new coaches is set to take the reins of the Huntington High School varsity and junior varsity and J. Taylor Finley Middle School baseball teams. Huntington School Board members approved John Romano, Jake Torres, Nicholas Matarazzo and Thomas Tantillo as the Blue Devil diamond mentors.
A meeting will be held on Monday (June 12) at 3:15 p.m. in the gym for any Huntington student interested in playing varsity or JV baseball in 2024. Players can meet the new coaches at that time.
Romano will serve as varsity head coach. He has been a Huntington physical education teacher since September 2018 and is currently assigned to Southdown Primary School. He earned an undergraduate degree in sports management at Dowling College in 2007 and obtained a graduate degree in physical education at Adelphi University in 2011.
Romano played at Kings Park High School from 2000 to 2003, including as a sophomore when the team won the Long Island championship. Named All-League as a senior, he helped the team compile an 18-0 league record, winning the league crown before losing in the county finals to the eventual state champions.
Romano walked onto the Dowling College baseball team as a pitcher. When his playing career wrapped up, he dived into coaching as the varsity assistant at Kings Park. He helped his alma mater win a pair of league titles and the 2010 county crown. He even coached the JV for a season. He continued on to coach the John H. Glenn JV team for four years. He has served as a pitching and hitting instructor at BEAST training facility and Play Like A Pro in Hauppauge
Prior to being named Huntington High School’s varsity head coach, Romano had been working with youth organizations in Kings Park to help develop the baseball program in the community.
“The support I’ve received already from members of the community and the district has been amazing,” Romano said. “You can tell the community is passionate to get Huntington baseball back on the map. My job here is to develop the youth program and current players so we are contenders for years to come. Changing the culture of Huntington baseball is a top priority. I’m as passionate as they come when it comes to baseball. I eat, sleep and breathe baseball all year long. I hope my passion rubs off on the players and the community so we can develop a successful program for years to come. I’m going to put these players in a position to be successful. Their hard work and attitude is going to make us successful.”
Romano is looking to provide summer training opportunities for Huntington students interested in baseball. “We’re also looking to start clinics in January until our season starts in March for kindergarten through eighth graders,” he said. “These opportunities will focus on teaching and developing fundamentals and strategies of the game. They will start the process of building Huntington baseball.
Romano will be assisted by Jake Torres, a former Smithtown West star player who has coached summer baseball for five years, including Akadema, USG, Team Steel and the LI Jr. Ducks. A three year starter at Smithtown West and two-time All-League centerfielder, he previously coached at Nesaquake Middle School in St. James.
Torres earned an undergraduate degree in physical education at Towson University and is currently finishing a master’s degree in health education at SUNY Brockport. He covered a pair of physical education teacher long-term leave replacement assignments in Huntington UFSD this year.
Matarazzo will coach the high school JV team. A 2013 Huntington High School and Blue Devil baseball alum, he teaches art at Flower Hill and Washington primary schools. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in visual communications from Farmingdale State College. He has volunteered as a Finley baseball assistant coach for several seasons. Post-high school he’s played in a Stan Musial men’s league, including playing in the All-Star game at Ducks Stadium. He has coached three years in a youth league in Farmingdale.
Tantillo will be returning to coach Finley, which he led for many successful seasons earlier in his career. He came to Huntington UFSD in September 1997 and teaches science at Finley. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in biology at SUNY Purchase in 1995 and a Master of Science degree in secondary education at Hofstra University in 1998.
Tantillo was commended by Huntington UFSD in November 2000 for providing a student with life saving measures after he had cut himself and severed an artery.
Tantillo is committed to building interest and participation in the program and returning it to competitive status.
For more information about the Huntington baseball program send a message to Romano at firstname.lastname@example.org.