For the first time in four years, Francis Lewis coach Randy James does not have the luxury of throwing Jonathan Lewis every third day in Queens East A.
Lewis, who dominated last year with a 6-2 record and a 0.54 ERA, is now at Stony Brook and is one of the top pitchers on the Seawolves staff.
Also gone are two of last years top batters in Jonathan Hecko (Adelphi) and Eric Moglin (Buffalo), who helped lead the Patriots, who fell to Grand Street Campus in the second round of the playoffs, to a 13-4 record
But James is optimistic and has the entire infield returning, with the exception of Hecko at first base, including junior catcher Adlai Allen, who threw out 19 of 26 runners last year, and junior second baseman Chan Yi Chiang, who batted .417 last season.
Also returning are three experienced junior pitchers in Mario Santiago, who is the ace of the staff and went 4-2 with a 2.57 ERA and tossed a no-hitter, Mike Guarnieri and Joe Silva.
Cardozo returns a wealth of talent from a team that went 13-4 last season and fell to James Madison in the second round of the playoffs. Leading the returnees is junior Danny Rosenbluth, who will be one of the teams top pitchers and will also play first base. He was 3-2 last year with a 1.53 ERA.
Douglas will also look to Mike Lenzo, a 6-foot-2 lefty, and sophomore Mike Errigo to add quality innings.
In the field, junior shortstop Bernie Estevez is back after batting .528 as the lead-off man last season, as is senior centerfielder Jack Medic, who batted .429 last year, and senior Landon Veissy, who batted .444 last year and is recovering from Tommy John surgery.
John Bowne coach Ed Brown knows the key to this season, with its cross-over games and four-game weeks, lies in a strong pitching staff.
Ive just been working with the pitchers, watching their motion, working on their mechanics, Brown said. Pitching is definitely our strong suit.
Top returning players include Saul Sanchez, a senior captain who will pitch, play second and bat cleanup this year after batting .432 and going 4-0 with a 3.15 ERA on the hill. Also back are Edison Alba, a senior pitcher/shortstop who batted .455 last year and was 2-1 with one save and a 3.67 ERA, and Jensil Langumas, a sophomore outfielder who can also pitch and, has natural talent and will bat near the top of the lineup, Brown said.
Also back is scrappy Marc Jusino, a utility infielder who can also pitch.
Bayside, 9-6 last year, has made the playoffs 14 of the last 16 seasons and the young Commodores should compete for one of the four post-season berths again.
Anthony McCarty, a junior pitcher, is the ace of the staff and the only pitcher with real high school pitching experience. He was 2-1 last year with a 3.21 ERA and had 26 strikeouts in 26.1 innings pitched.
With the exception of Carl Freda, who is one of three seniors on the team and will start at first, Bayside has an all-rookie infield.
Thomas Edison loses five players, including the bulk of a pitching staff that went 8-8 last year as the Inventors lost to Tottenville in the first round of the playoffs last year.
Back for coach Jerry Levy are the Espinal twins, Angel, a junior centerfielder, and Miguel, a junior shortstop/pitcher.
Senior Joel Duran is the teams top pitcher and will also play third base. He was 4-2 last year with a 1.36 ERA and 37 strikeouts in 36 innings.
Richmond Hill is in its first season in the Queens A East division after going 3-12 last year. The Lions are a young group who have only three seniors. But one of those seniors, lefty Jorge Rivera, who was 1-4 last season with a 2.68 ERA and had 31 strikeouts in 31.2 innings, second-year head coach Greg Reo considers, one of the best lefties in the city.
Jason Martinez, who batted .389 last year, is a junior catcher/pitcher and probably the best all-around player on the team.
Some of the top young players are sophomore Chris Esposito, who will start at third base, and freshman Anthony Villardi, who will start at first and should bat fifth.
Van Buren struggled last year, going 4-11 with three wins coming against winless Hillcrest, and should struggle again this season.
Senior Brian Berg, who will bat third, is the top pitcher. He was 2-4 last year with a 5.15 ERA.
Junior Jose Diaz is a three-year starter at catcher and will bat fourth in the lineup, senior Jason Pezzotti will play second base/shortstop and is a left-handed pitcher and senior Carlos Molina will pitch and play third base.
Reach Associate Sports Editor Dylan Butler by e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 143.
©2002 Community News Group
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