BY JOE GREEN
With an 8-4 record, varsity baseball has clinched at least a wildcard berth in the Nassau County Conference II playoffs. The top six teams in Nassau Conference II make the playoffs. The four wild card teams played each other June 10 and the two wild card winners advanced to the best of three semi-finals starting June 12. The two winners advanced to the championships June 16-18. While MacArthur, East Meadow and Mepham have one great pitcher each, Garden City has many. Seniors committed to play NCAA baseball. They include Frank Santeramo (SUNY Maritime), Matthew Mohen (American International), Joe Frandina (Gettysburg) and Chris Blum (Saint Olaf’s); Santeramo and Mohen were ranked in the preseason top 50 players by Nassau Baseball. In addition, the pitching corps includes southpaws Pat Heber, Frandina, Simon Ferris and right-handed pitchers Gabe Beschloss, co-captain Aidan Magnotta, and Liam Rooney; their combined ERA is 2.17.
The season opener versus New Hyde Park disappointed; the Gladiators started St. John’s commit Luke Orban throwing fastballs in the high 80s, who held the Trojans to just two runs. Garden City turned around quickly in the second game as Frandina took the mound surrendering only one run; the Trojans scored five times, with the remarkable emergence of freshman shortstop Jack Fanning (.351), who had his first multi-hit game. In the Trojans third game versus New Hyde Park, Heber threw a three hitter, although the Gladiator’s Orban stirred up excitement with a 400-foot home run. Trojans catcher Joe Infante (.447) showed his own power with his first home run, and Magnotta contributed 2 RBIs; Mohen recorded his first save.
Pitching has been complemented by improved batting averages as the season has progressed including Joe Wood (.316), Charles Iovino (.333), Francesco Ingrassia (.269) and Heber (.286). The lack of preseason scrimmages had a negative impact on the defense.
On May 13, Heber made a magnificent start against East Meadow, striking out nine batters and hitting a home run, as Ingrassia drove in two runs and scored one and Mohen earned his second save. On May 24, Santeramo turned in the Trojans first complete game start, defeating MacArthur 5-1, with Fanning continuing to make all the plays at shortstop, getting three hits and driving in one run while scoring two. The Trojans then pounded Long Beach in two consecutive games: Varsity faced off at home against Long Beach, with an impressive start by Aidan Magnotta, followed by another impressive start by Heber and scoreless relief efforts by Beschloss and Ferris.
The varsity had climbed into second place by Memorial Day, setting up a showdown with first place and the undefeated Calhoun Colts; Santeramo took the ball against a voracious offense and threw a three-hitter, walking nobody, leading the Trojans to a 3-0 holiday victory; he threw 59 strikes in just 84 pitches. Calhoun was stunned, but came out with guns blazing the next day and demolished Garden City. The two teams might see each other in the playoffs. The remaining games are against Great Neck South and Mepham, the latter who will likely throw Bucknell commit Tyler O’Neill against the Trojans.
Article statistics are compiled from actual game box scores through June 1.