With Marc Maturo
Greeley’s Hawks finish with flourish; Pirates set sail
On the heels of a strong drive to the postseason tournament with the Rockland Community College baseball team, Coach John Greeley of Stony Point quickly shifted gears and took the American Legion-affiliated OTB Pirates on their first road trip of the season.
“We had a good season (with RCC), made a late sprint at the end of the year and made the (Region XV) tournament,” said Greeley, who completed his second season with the Hawks before beginning his third at the helm of a revived Pirates program.
“We’re playing Legion ball and representing Rockland County, which means something,” Greeley continued.
Versatile Ivan Rodriguez of Garnerville, who played a big hand at RCC, is also playing with the Pirates this season while two former Pirates players – second baseman Pat Bateman of Pearl River and first baseman Bryan Borruso of Blauvelt – were other keys as the Hawks surged to the postseason, winning their last six conference games including two against Sullivan CC and a sweep of Orange CC.
“We had two tough games (in the tournament),” Greeley recounts. “We lost to Westchester, the eventual champion, 3-1, and then lost to Dutchess — they broke open a tie game in the seventh (inning). The team really jelled.”
Rodriguez, who will return to RCC next season, has already shifted his talents to the Pirates, pitching a 5-0 shutout against Utica on an upstate trip that concluded with a game at Doubleday Field in Cooperstown.
“He’s very versatile,” said Greeley. “He helps us out a lot, and batted around .350 with RCC, with a good glove at third base.”
Rodriguez had other help, of course, with the Hawks. Coach Greeley noted the aforementioned Bateman and Borruso, along with North Rockland HS alum Brian Rotella, a shortstop who has drawn strong interest from Dominican College in Orangeburg; Clarkstown North graduate and catcher Austin Priesel, who is bound for Montreat College in North Carolina; Spring Valley HS alum Vinny Lea, a quality pitcher; and center fielder Brandon Respress, out of North Rockland HS.
Other Hawks who contributed include left-handed pitcher Pete Conti, out of Clarkstown North; and another North product and pitcher Bryan Shiver.
Pirates have promise
There is apparently no shortage of talent on the Pirates, either, which Greeley & Co. are hoping to showcase this weekend on another road show – this time to eastern Pennsylvania to compete at the Berks Classic Tournament.
The Pirates will first take on the Boyertown Bears, then defending New Jersey state champion Flemington, followed by a non-tournament contest against the West Lawn Owls, another top-notch Pennsylvania club.
Greeley, who was assisted at RCC by math professor Matt Matcotich of Suffern and former RCC, STAC and minor-league hurler Ryan Fasano of North Rockland, has a triumvirate of assistant coaches ready to lend a helping hand with the Pirates, namely: North Rockland graduate Phil Fratello; Stony Point tonsorial talent George Nicks; and former Pirates player John Michael Greeley, one of the coach’s sons (younger brother and RCC-bound Stephen Greeley will be behind the plate with the Pirates).
Albertus Magnus HS senior Joe Ottaviano of Nanuet is another backstop who also pitches and plays in the outfield, where he will be joined by several returnees led by center fielder John Daly, a Tappan Zee HS graduate; left fielder John Mesagno of Tappan, who is bound for the University of Eastern Pennsylvania; and Iona College-bound Ken Hoppe, an infielder/pitcher from Thiells, who is among the players touted by Coach Greeley for his academic as well as athletic success.
In addition to his veteran corps Coach Greeley is naturally enthused by the presence of a host of newcomers to the Pirates.
“We’re real excited about them” is how he puts it.
The list includes Binghamton-bound Jack Sheehy, a versatile catcher out of Tappan Zee HS; SUNY Cortland-bound first baseman/southpaw pitcher Ryan Weiss of Nyack; Raymond Pacella of Stony Point, who will pitch at Rider University in New Jersey and will play first base when Weiss is on the hill; Albertus Magnus graduate Chris Cooney of Stony Point, who is a second baseman/outfielder and who will attend Villanova University; Albertus Magnus senior middle infielder Frank Margiotta of Congers; and North Rockland HS senior outfielder/pitcher John Freeman of Stony Point.
James Clifford of Stony Point, yet another Albertus Magnus alum who is bound for Virginia Tech University, will play first base and in the outfield, while STAC-bound Mike D’Andrea of Stony Point can usually be found at a middle infield position.
The Pirates also feature two pitchers from Nyack in SUNY Albany-bound Colton Stemkowski and Thomas Muratore, who will attend Marist College in Poughkeepsie; Nyack HS southpaw pitcher Michael Pavelchak of Valley Cottage; and right-hand pitcher Michael Dunne of Stony Point, an Albertus Magnus graduate who will compete at SUNY Oneonta.
The sixth Rockland County Sports Hall of Fame Night is set for June 29 at Palisades Credit Union Park in Pomona when the Rockland Boulders celebrate the visiting Cuban national baseball team. The event also serves as a fund-raiser for Tommy McGuire, the former Clarkstown South football quarterback who is paralyzed from the waist down after a tragic swimming pool accident in June 2016. Supporters will set in the Sunset Deck area along the third base line, with the first pitch scheduled at 7 p.m. Tickets, priced at $35, includes a menu of hot dogs, hamburgers, grilled teriyaki, chicken, pasta salad, soda and battled water, plus unlimited popcorn, peanuts and chips & salsa. Beer will be available for discounted purchase and a bar is located in the left field area. There will be a pre-game on-field presentation recognizing the Hall of Fame, and a fireworks display immediately following the game. Contact Karen McCombs at 845-364-0009, ext. 207. If you cannot attend the game but would like to support McGuire, make checks payable to “Tommy McGuire” and send to: Peter Scheibner, RCSHOF Chairman, 1 Capt. McGovern Drive, Stony Point, NY 10980.
HAIL TO THE CHAMPIONS
The Pearl River High School track and field team capped a stellar season that included county and section titles with victories at the state championship at upstate Union-Endicott.
Matt Politis, a member of the triumphant 4×800 relay team, added a victory in the boys D2 division with a personal-best 4:16.32 in the 1,500, which placed him sixth overall. The relay team that led the small-school bracket included Brian Mahoney, Patrick McCann and Brian Flaherty.
Flaherty also clicked with Nick Malfintano, Joe Metcalfe and Thomas Wilson to win the 4×400 relay with a clocking of 3:24.51. Wilson, who missed the winter season following leg surgery, later added a silver medal in the 400-meter, finishing fourth overall in 49.72.
The St. Thomas Aquinas College baseball team ended its historic season following a 7-3 loss to Cal San Diego at the NCAA Division II Championships in Grand Prairie, Texas. The Spartans, under the mentorship of veteran coaches Scott Muscat and Jon Garvey, finished in third place in the tournament, ending their outstanding season with a 44-17 record. STAC junior outfielder ovovanni Dingcong of Daly City, Calif., was selected to the all-Tournament team, batting.313 with two homers, five RBI, two runs and three walks in four games. He also slugged .688. Anthony Morris of New City helped anchor the pitching staff throughout the season. The senior right-hander, an alum of Clarkstown South High School, posted a nearly unblemished 10-1 record with a 3.42 ERA in 17 appearances, with 13 starts.… The Dominican College golf team, advancing to the national championships for the first time in Chargers history, finished ninth at the NCAA Division II Golf Championships at The Watson Course at The Reunion Resort in Kissimmee, Fla. The Chargers, who were hoping to make the match-play final under Coach Keith Prokop, were led by sophomore Hunter Wescott of Portland, Ore., who had a three-day total of 229.
THIS & THAT
Lee Brentnall, a retired teacher, coach and athletic director at Suffern High School, passed away on June 17 at 81 after waging a 30-year battle with Parkinson’s disease. Memorial contributions may be sent to Parkinson’s Disease Foundation, 1359 Broadway, Suite 1509, N.Y., 10018 or www.SupportPDF.org or to United Hospice of Rockland, 11 Stokum Lane, New City, N.Y. 10956. … The Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) summer convention will be held June 28-July 2 at the Grand Hyatt in Manhattan. Registration is at http://sabr.org/convention/2017/registration.