FEATURES

Max Nielsen: What I’m Thankful For

UCONN-commit Max Nielsen in to pitch for Motus pic.twitter.com/tBziUcLSt6 — Axcess Baseball (@axcessbaseball) October 13, 2017 (Editor’s Note: Max Nielsen is a 2019 graduate of Ward Melville HS. He committed to UCONN during his sophomore season and he followed that up with a dynamic season for the Patriots. He is among the top LHP in the state. The following words are his own.) Thanksgiving to me is all about thanking all the people that make my life so special and meaningful. I am thankful for all my coaches; they always push me more and more everyday. Some coaches that I am very blessed to have in my life are Matt Marsh, Chris Lemorocco and Lou Petrucci; they had such a big impact on the baseball player that I am now. They all have really pushed me to get better whether it was earl...

Jason Diaz: What I Am Thankful For

(Editor’s Note: Jason Diaz is a 2019 graduate of Kellenberg HS. He fired a CG shutout of St. John the Baptist to clinch the CHSAA championship earlier this year. He has a fastball that sits 90-91 MPH and tops at 93 MPH. He is committed to the University of Miami. The following words are his own.) Thanksgiving really brings out the positivity in people and it makes me think about what I’m thankful for. To me baseball is the greatest thing on this earth and it’s not even close. What kid growing up didn’t want to throw a ball as hard as they can and what kid didn’t want to hit bombs over the fence? The game of baseball has showed me that success isn’t just given to you and it makes me thankful for when the times are tough because it just encourages me to ov...

Q & A with Joey Ricciardi

When you play for MacArthur, playoff berths are par for the course. The General are coming off a 16-win season, but they had their season cut-short by rival Division in the second round of the postseason. They will be looking to avenge that loss this season. One of the players they will be counting on is left-handed hitting senior outfielder Joey Ricciardi. He announced his commitment to play at York College of Pennsylvania a couple days ago. Prior to that, he put on an impressive performance at the charity Home Run Derby at Calhoun last month. He spoke with Vinny Messana about a variety of things, and here’s what he had to say… Talk a little bit about the college recruiting process and how you made your decision? The recruiting process was very stressful. I attended a lot of c...

Who Is Trevor Virno?

by Andres Rivas For Bellport to finish with a share of the league title for the first time in 51 years, it took a complete effort. While the pitching staff was led by three experienced starters in Sacred Heart-commit Joe Greco, Southern New Hampshire-commit Ryan Baumann and talented junior LHP Anthony Jacabacci, the team was looking for a player to step up and win the starting catching position. Enter Trevor Virno. A natural shortstop, Virno was asked to go behind the plate and corral a pitching staff that was expected to be very talented. Behind the plate he had 22 assists and threw out six runners. He finished the season with a hit in eight of his last twenty at bats (.400). Additionally, he logged some innings on the mound and compiled a 2.76 ERA over 12.2 IP. Following this season he a...

Veterans Day: Brandon Stahl On Deciding to Join the Army After Baseball

(Editor’s Note: Brandon Stahl is a 2010 graduate of St. Dominic HS, where he was an Under Armour All-American and three-time All-League selection. He attended Div-I Old Dominion in Virginia before transferring to Adelphi, where he enjoyed a breakout season in 2013 with a .309 AVG and .356 OBP. The following words are his own.) By Brandon Stahl Deciding to join the military was definitely one of the harder decisions I have ever had to make in my life to this point. Many people talk of a “calling” when it comes to this line of work and one day that calling hit me and I never looked back. In my personal opinion, serving and defending this country is one of the most honorable endeavors a person can immerse themselves in and my passion for this has stuck with me since I was a young kid. S...

Dom Gatti: At the Forefront of Instructors Teaching New-Age Techniques

Dom Gatti pulls out an iPad and opens up a video editing program that has the swing of every prominent Major League baseball player. “Let’s look at (Jose) Altuve,” he said to me. He opens up two videos; one from his rookie season in 2011 and another from 2017. He begins drawing lines with his finger pointing out the subtle differences in the length between his feet in his batting stance, his leg kick, the angle his back leg forms at the point of contact and where Altuve’s bat is in regards to the “hitting window”. The words flow with confidence, as if Gatti has been preaching this his entire life. Gatti represents a new flock of hitting gurus that subscribe to the new theory of creating launch angle that is conducive to higher OPS and average distance. W...

Will Kennedy: Why I Committed to Hofstra

Editor’s Note: Will Kennedy is a 2019 LHP from Smithtown East. He plays his summer ball with the HDMH Titans. After a terrific summer season in which he went undefeated, he also dominated down in Fort Myers, FL where I watched him throw 4.2 shutout innings with six strikeouts in a victory. He committed to Hofstra University last Friday. The following words are his own.) The recruiting process started for me when Titans recruiting coordinator Tom Downey met with me and my family to go over what I needed to do to prepare for being recruited. He advised to me to figure out a major I was interested in, how far away I was willing to travel for college, and when I should be taking standardized tests. He also outlined how important my GPA would be in getting aid from schools. He was very in...

Art Canestro Reflects On Professional Career, Growing Up on LI

Art Canestro was never nervous on the mound–except maybe for this time, he admitted. Pitching in the first ever game at Coors Field, there was a capacity crowd of 60,000 people despite being a Spring Training game. “I just remember looking up in the stands and being blinded by the people. It was just a wall of people. I was never nervous pitching, but that time there was definitely some butterflies,” says the current Head Coach of Calhoun HS. “I didn’t even really get to enjoy it; it was over after eight pitches. I got two pop outs and a ground out and the inning was over,” he added. That was the closest he got the big leagues, but the left-handed pitcher enjoyed a glorious high school career at Wellington C. Mepham HS. He graduated prior to the inceptio...

Up Next: Don Wille

It’s not often that you see catchers 6’3″ or taller at any level of baseball. At the Major League Level, for example, only Joe Mauer and Matt Wieters stand that tall (both 6’5″). The main reason for this is that it is difficult for them to quickly get out of the crouching position and into a throwing position as efficiently as a shorter player. Don Wille (Sachem East 2020) is not only 6’3″, but he curtails the running game as well as anyone. In fact, playing on JV last season, he threw out every runner that attempted to steal off him. I had the opportunity to watch him training with Charles Galiano this evening and it became evident pretty quickly just how much of a weapon he is behind the dish. He possesses very strong wrists for a 15-year-old tha...

Sal Agostinelli: The Story of How An Undersized Long Island Catcher Became One of the Most Influential Men in Professional Baseball

(Editor’s Note: Story was originally published on Nov. 12, 2016. We will have coverage of the Agostinelli Memorial Tournament beginning tomorrow at Baseball Heaven.) It was 1993 when Jay Hankins approached the Triple-A catcher for the Philadelphia Phillies with a question. “Hey Sal, did you ever think about being a scout?” “The only thing I know about scouting is that it’s old guys in chairs,” Sal responded. “Well, I think you would make for a good one,” he stated. As fate would have it, that catcher was Long Island native Sal Agostinelli, who went on to accept a position as the area scout for the Phillies and his area would be New York and New Jersey. As time went on and he had success in his coverage area, the front office tasked him with more and more territory. The next year was ...

Nick Schwartz Commits to St. John’s

This weekend was filled with positive experiences for many people down in the WWBA Underclass World Championship in Fort Myers. For Massapequa catcher Nick Schwartz, it was potentially life changing as he gave his verbal commitment to one of the best baseball programs in all of the nation; St. John’s University. They are coming off a 42-13 season in which they made an appearance in the NCAA Regionals. Schwartz spoke with Vinny Messana about his decision and here’s what he had to say… Talk a little about your experience with the college recruiting process and how you wound up committing to St. John’s… The college recruiting process with St. John’s started last year when I went to their mini camp for the first time. After the mini camp, the coaches became ...

Nick Herzog and Bryan Kaufman Discuss Playing in College World Series

2017 has been a year to remember for two Long Island natives, Bryan Kaufman and Nick Herzog, while playing for UMASS-Boston. They put together a great season (38-12 overall record) that culminated in an appearance in the Div-III College World Series in Appleton, WI. They were able to win one game in the CWS, but ultimately had their dreams cut short by North Central College, 5-4. Kaufman, a senior pitcher from Farmingdale HS, had a stellar season. He compiled an ERA of 1.03 over 61.1 IP with an unblemished record of 3-0 with five saves. Herzog, a junior from Riverhead HS, compiled a slash line of .291/.385/.370 over 189 AB with 40 RBI. The duo spoke to Vinny Messana and here’s what they had to say… Vinny: Can you describe the 2017 season which culminated in an appearance in the...

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