BY MARC MATURO
The Rockland OTB Pirates are back in action, bringing a high level of play to American Legion Baseball under the mentorship of John Greeley of Stony Point.
American Legion ball thrived in the county for decades until the middle of the last decade, if in a somewhat different form when Nate Salant ran the team and then Nick Farese.
Greeley is spearheading the current resurrection with senior (19U), junior (17U) and travel teams, with considerable and appreciative help from Tom Bohlander of Stony Point, big-time supporter George Nicks, and Ryan Fasano, who pitched at North Rockland HS, winning a state semifinal game, and then at Rockland Community College. (Fasano was recently released by the Milwaukee Brewers.)
“I love it, the people love it, we try to play every day,” enthused Greeley, who is the assistant coach at RCC under the veteran Joe Zeccardi.
“Legion ball is great, it’s high level and Rockland needs it. When we go to tournaments it’s nice to represent our area. They do things right,” continued Greeley, whose senior team has already annexed two championships – first on Staten Island against a quality field of 44 teams and most recently in Highland, beating the local squad to win the Ciaccio Memorial Tournament.
This weekend both teams will be competing in Northborough, Mass., at the New England Baseball Complex.
“We’re guaranteed four games, and if we win our pool we go from there,” said Greeley, who points to pitching as the team’s greatest strength, both in quality and quantity (17 players pitch and play a position, with a few limiting their work to the mound).
Two pitchers are Don Bosco Prep graduates Rob Iametti and Billy Manzo, both of Suffern. Iametti will attend St. Lawrence College in upstate Canton while Manzo is headed to Immaculata University in Malvern, Pa.
James Reilly of Garnerville and Albertus Magnus HS is a right-handed hurler while Rockland CC-bound Dan Wirchansky is a southpaw out of North Rockland HS. Another southpaw is Eric Sandusky of Stony Point.
The infield features catcher Frank Nigro of Stony Point, a Don Bosco Prep alum headed to Wilmington University; first baseman/center fielder Christian Nicolosi, a North Rockland HS grad headed to Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Conn.; second baseman Jordan Correa of Nyack; third basemen Brian Bohlander of Stony Point and Bryan Borruso of Blauvelt, a Tappan Zee HS alum who also pitches and is bound for Manhattanville College in Purchase; and shortstops John Greeley Jr. of Stony Point and Robert Ottaviano of Nanuet, both of whom also pitch. Greeley the Younger is going to George Washington University in D.C. as a pitcher while Ottaviano will attend SUNY Oneonta.
The Pirates, whose home field is at Rockland CC in Suffern, entertain Kingston for a scheduled 5 p.m. twin-bill on June 30. Greeley & Co. play at Monroe Woodbury on July 1 at 6 p.m., visit Kingston on July 2 at 6 p.m., and travel to Middletown on July 6 for a game at 4 p.m.
For further information on the Pirates access: http://www.rocklandotbpirates.com/
COLLEGIATE CLIPS: Recent Tappan Zee HS graduate Luke Gavigan of Blauvelt captured his second consecutive state outdoors title in the 1,600 meters at the New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHSAA) Championships in Albany. Gavigan, who will be competing at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill in the fall, was clocked in 4:10. Gavigan was third overall in the race, but led the way among Division I competitors, behind runner-up Jeremy Spezio of Division II Greenwich HS. Spezio was timed in 4:09 while the overall winner and Federation champion was Fordham Prep’s Conor Lundy, in 4:07. “Luke would probably tell you he was third, but 4:10 is an excellent time,” noted Jamie Kempton of Nanuet, a head coach currently building a new men’s cross country program at Dominican College in Orangeburg. Kempton, who developed a top-notch program during his time at St. Thomas Aquinas College in Sparkill, from 2004-07, was the Spartans’ first spring track-and-field coach and expects to have the Dominican Chargers running well, too.
My apologies, George: Last week, we (me) mentioned the well-known George Kopac of Tappan, long-time former owner of the Route 9W Driving Range in Palisades and the county’s first-ever scholastic schoolboy champion. We did not spell his surname correctly, and hope his colleagues at Blue Hill Golf Course in Pearl River also accept my apology for the typo!! Speaking of which, it is Bret (one T) Watzka, the head PGA professional. We added an extra “T” for good measure in the same piece lauding hardy hackers.
THIS & THAT: The North Rockland Sports Hall of Fame is having its Thomas M. Maloney Memorial Golf Outing on June 29 at Rotella Golf Course in Thiells. The cost is $130 per golfer which includes green fees, cart, breakfast at the golf course, dinner at the Haverstraw Elks Lodge No. 877 and a gift for each golfer. Hole sponsors are $50. Contact North Rockland athletic deirector Joe Casarella at (845) 942-3390. … The annual Orangetown Summer Concert Series, which is free and open to the public, gets under way July 10 at Veterans Memorial Park at 7:45 p.m. The James Dean Orchestra, saluting the music of Frank Sinatra, will be featured. Other concerts are scheduled July 17, July 24, August 7 and August 14. For information contact the recreation department at 845-359-6503 or access www.orangetown.com. … The Women’s Golf Coaches Association (WGCA), which represents more than 600 women’s collegiate golf coaches, is seeking a membership services representative to work out of its headquarters in Coral Springs, Fla. Contact executive director Roger Yaffe at firstname.lastname@example.org. … Rockland Boulders outfielder Stephen Cardullo was named the Pointstreak Player of the Week by the Can-Am League. He is the second Boulders player to earn the honor this year after catcher Joe Maloney earned the award in the first two weeks of the season. The Boulders are in Canada until returning home on June 29 to meet Kansas City at 7 p.m. at Provident Bank Park in Pomona. The five-game home stand ends on July 4 at 6:35 p.m. against the Garden State Grays. … Pat Kivlehan of West Nyack, who is showing power with the Tacoma Rainiers, a Class AAA affiliate of the Seattle Mariners, has been invited to take part in the Pan Am Games, scheduled July 10-26 in Toronto. Kivlehan leads Tacoma in home runs with 13 and is second in doubles (13) and RBI (40) in 66 games. Barring injury, expect Kivlehan to reach the big leagues before too soon. … The highly prestigious USATF National Championships are being held at the University of Oregon this weekend. This is a must-see event for such travel-minded sporting luminaries as Nanuet HS coach Larry Beckerle; former Don Bosco Prep coach John Nepolitan of Pearl River; Ralph Coleman of Stony Point, a one-time outstanding athlete at Albertus Magnus HS; and Pearl River HS cross country coaching legend Dan Doherty. We’re sure this gentlemanly quartet will have much to report upon returning to the county.