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Max Effort Baseball: On the Cutting Edge of Baseball Training and Education

When it comes to being a successful hitter, there is nothing more frustrating than being geared up for a fastball only to hopelessly flail at a change up in the dirt. Believe me, as a .220 hitter as a senior in high school I can attest to this. There is no amount of hours in a batting cage that can prepare you for the challenge of off-speed pitches and tight breaking balls. Enter Senaptec and Hack Attack Pitching Machine. These revolutionary devices represent the next-wave of baseball training, something in which several Major League Baseball teams have purchased and begun to implement into their organizations. Both of these do not come cheap, however, and unless you are able to book an appointment at Yankee Stadium or Wrigley Field you won’t be able to utilize their limitless potent...

Catching Up With Will O’Brien

One of the forgotten story lines of Wantagh‘s championship run in 2016 was that they were able to withstand the loss of their two-time All-State RHP Will O’Brien, who suffered an arm injury. Although Jimmy Joyce and Bobby Hegarty did just fine in his absence, the Warriors had a pitcher that had compiled other-worldly numbers over the course of a two-year stretch. 2015: 5-1 record, 0.71 ERA, 66 K (5th team All-State) 2016: 7-0 record, 1.21 ERA, 88 K (1st team All-State) He is currently at St. Thomas Aquinas. He spoke with Vinny Messana and here’s what he had to say… Describe the 2016 run by Wantagh. How difficult was it being sidelined with injury but also how proud of your teammates were you to pick up the slack? I think what made the 2016 playoff run so special was...

Q & A With Joey Grillo

(Photo Credit: Joseph D. Sullivan) One of the story lines that slipped through the cracks in Suffolk County Class A was the terrific season by Rocky Point in 2017. They began the season 13-1 and finished with an overall record of 17-5. Their team was led by James Weisman, Joe Grillo, Brian Forbes, Rob Milopsky among others. Grillo, a University of Bridgeport-commit, will be back this year and is setting his sights set high. He batted .411 (30-for-73) with 3 HR, 20 RBI, 21 runs, .500 OBP and 1.158 OPS at the plate. On the mound, he was 4-1 with a 2.22 ERA and 35 K over 34.2 IP. He didn’t mince words when he discussed his goals for 2018 with Vinny Messana. Here’s what he had to say: Talk a little about your experience with the college recruiting process and how you decided to com...

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...

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