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Westchester Rockland Wood Bat League:2008 Team Previews  
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Paul Marino
Croton-on-Hudson, New York

  2008 Team Previews  

2008 Bronx Astros
Logo-astros welcome logo

Team Name:             Bronx Astros

2007 Record:             13-13 (Wild Card Berth)

Manager:                    Kevin Grimley 3rd season –28-51 overall

Key Returns:             Ramon Santiago, Adrian Santiago, Carlos Quintana, Eddie Rodriguez, Rob Borman, Steve Vera, Vic Gaines, Elvin Gutierrez, Carlos Frias, Tom Kehrer, Kevin Bright, Anthony Vontobel, Anthony Bonilla, AJ Samela, Chris Murdock, Aaron Geddins, Craig Beatty

Key Losses:               Mike Cochrane, John McElwee, Jon Wedrogowski, Richie Benes

Key Additions:             Termaine Purvis, Bobby Baile, Kevin Lorme, Dominick Angotta, Wilson Rios, Wayne Theiss, Brett Sliverstein 

Keys to Victory:         Improved Situational Hitting, Defense, Speed & Pitching

Player to Watch:            Chris Murdock                     

Outlook: Elvin Gutierrez, Richie Benes, Chris Murdock, Carlos Quintana and Adrian Santiago. They were the cornerstones for success in 2007. Those were among the youthful players who helped the Bronx take another big step forward last season from the pit of 24 losses in 2005 to consecutive playoff appearance in the next three years. The Astros have four out of the five above-mentioned players returning on top of some key additions. With a new team name and attitude, the Astros can look forward to another competitive season here in 2008.

 Last year the Bronx started the season off strong going 7-3 in their first ten games. After a dismal trip to the NABA’s Atlantic City Tourney in May, the Astros seemed to lose their edge and just couldn’t put away those winnable games due to lack of situational hitting and poor defense. As the season progressed, the Bronx remained inconsistent: at one point in the season they held the 5th place standing for two weeks, but finished the season in 9th with a playoff berth. Despite remaining a competitive ball club all of last year, everyone can agree we expected more from the Bronx. This year the Astros need to remain committed all season long and emphasize smart baseball and utilize the depth on their roster. This is the biggest key to stacking up the W’s this season.

Four key members of the Astros have moved on. (SP) Mike Cochrane, (SP/1B) Jon Wedrogowski, (1B) John McElwee and (IF/OF) Richie Benes. These four players helped propel the Bronx each season and will be missed. The Astros have filled those holes with some great newcomers and even one or two returnees from seasons past.

To the Mound we go...The Astros will start 2008 with twelve hurlers to choose from. (RHP) Adrian Santiago who bagged the ’07 team Cy Young award returns along with (RHP) Craig Beatty, (LHP) Anthony Vontobel, (RHP) Tom Kehrer and (RHP) Kevin Bright. Right-handed power-arms Rob Borman, Eddie Rodriguez, Ramon Santiago and Chris Murdock will also see time on the mound this year given the depth the Astros have acquired on the infield this off-season. The first two ‘newcomers’ aren’t so new after all. (RHP) Bobby Baile makes his return to the Bronx after a short stint with the Yonkers Indians and in the Stan Musial league out of N.J. Bobby is a tall right-handed power pitcher with great control and a variety of pitches. The Astros will rely on Baile for quality starts and innings out of the pen all season. The second son to return is (LHP) Wilson Rios. Wilson is another great pitcher with variety and arm strength. Despite being the Astros best defensive first basemen, Rios will most likely serve as a starter this season. You can bet on Wilson taking first base when he’s not on the mound. The third newcomers is (RHP/IF) Brett Sliverstein (Drew University). Sliverstein is a 6'5 hard throwing righty that can play any infield position. The Astros will call on Brett to fill the holes in the infield and throw some quailty innings as a starter or out of the pen. The ’08 rotation is projected to see Adrian Santiago, Rob Borman, Bobby Baile, Craig Beatty, Eddie Rodriguez, Brett Sliverstien and Wilson Rios starting games, The Bronx bullpen will consist of Tom Kehrer, Kevin Bright, Anthony Vontobel, Chris Murdock and Ramon Santiago all eating up innings and closing out games.              

Around the diamond: The Astros have an abundance of depth around the horn. Filling in behind the dish for Elvin Gutierrez will be Dominick Angotta (Scared Heart University). Angotta gives the Astros the ability to move Gutierrez and others around the infield when either Borman or Rodriguez takes the mound. Dominick has a great bat, solid defensive skills, and a great leadership presence behind the dish. Grimley expects big things from Angotta in 2008. Another 'Stros rookie this year filling the holes behind the dish and in the IF will be Frank Schursky. Frank made his way to the Bronx from the NR Tigers and will plug up any holes playing the all-important back up role this season. Infielder Wayne Theiss (Mercy) is another solid glove/bat the Bronx can run out there this season. Wayne has a great swing and sure glove at second base. Theiss will serve as the swingman in the infield for the Bronx. Another newcomer who is no stranger to the WRWBL is (1B) Kevin Lorme. Kevin made himself a home with the Astros and will no doubt see time at first base and in the lineup. Kevin brings experience and a strong bat to lineup here in 2008. The ‘Stros still have all the main cogs intact from last year: (3B) Vic Gaines, (2B) Ramon Santiago, (SS) Eddie Rodriguez, (3B) Rob Borman, (IF) Anthony Bonilla and (IF) AJ Samela.      
The Astros’ outfield is projected to be even quicker and more defensively sound than last year’s team. The team could start Steve Vera in centerfield with Carlos Quintana in right and Chris Murdock in left. The final Astros rookie we need to mention is (OF) Termaine Purvis. The Astros have no doubt that Termaine will be out there patrolling the outfield. Purvis has a great bat, tremendous speed and probably the strongest arm on the entire squad. Termaine is another player Grimley expects big things from this year. You can also bet on seeing Carlos Frias and Aaron Geddins rounding out the outfield here in 2008.

Player to Watch: The Astros player to watch this year is outfielder Chris Murdock. Chris will be returning from school (Colby) in late May. Despite the late start the WRWBL can expect Murdock not to miss a beat. In 2007 Chris has the rookie jitters at first but settled in as a main stay in the lineup and outfield. He finished the season hitting .283 with a .371 OBP and the team’s ROY award. Murdock will definitely be the player to watch on the Astros this year!

2008 Danbury Barons
Logo -- Barons (team preview)

2007 Record: 21-7, WRWBL Runners-Up 

Manager: Matt Reilly, 2nd season (21-7 overall) 

Key Returns: Casey Robinson, Chris Carlucci, Melvin Castillo, Lou Vernagallo, Elliott Morales, Tom Thulin, Gary Dunn, Joe Hackert, Connor Thorp, Ron Isler, Nick Rhodes, Tyler Montrone, Ben Stephenson, James Huestis, Kevin Rettig, Jeff Slane, Brent Morris, Brian Krost, Alex Judge 

Key Losses: Jeff Brooks 

Key Additions: Jim Dunn, Mike Howard 

Keys to Victory: Regular Attendance, Improved Pitching 

Player to Watch: James Huestis 

After a season of transition in 2007, the first in team history without Hall of Fame manager Vinny Carlucci and with a large roster turnover, the 2008 Danbury Barons return almost fully in tact from last summer.  Armed once again with one of the most explosive lineups in the WRWBL and a potentially dangerous pitching staff, the “Boys in Black” once again enter the season as one of the top teams in the league and will look to capture an unprecedented 4th WRWBL Championship in 2008. 

Manager Matt Reilly returns for his 2nd season at the helm in 2008.  Reilly has the ability to play both corner infield positions, as well as fill in when necessary in the outfield, and his bat still carries a good amount of pop.  The infield will have a veteran feel to it in 2008, as Reilly brings back three longtime Barons in Casey Robinson at first, Chris Carlucci at second and perennial MVP candidate Lou Vernagallo at third.  Robinson will regularly find his way into the Baron lineup and will most likely see time on the mound as well in 2008.  Carlucci, a 4-time gold glove winner at second base, will team with shortstop Mel Castillo to create a dangerous double play combination up the middle.  Castillo has one of the most powerful bats in the league, and will certainly benefit from another year of collegiate baseball at nationally ranked D-III powerhouse Eastern Connecticut State University.  Vernagallo returns for another year at the hot corner in 2008, and is one of the premier left handed hitters in the WRWBL.  Expect another MVP-caliber season from Sweet Lou this summer.  Elliott Morales returns for a second season in black and orange and has the ability to play all four infield positions if necessary. 

In the outfield, Tom Thulin returns for his 4th season in left.  Thulin will regularly bat in the middle of the Barons lineup and will once again be among the league leaders in many offensive categories in 2008. Gary Dunn will once again patrol centerfield for Danbury.  The speedy leadoff hitter was named second team all-league last summer, and the Barons expect another excellent year from the former UCONN star.  In right, 2007 WRWBL Rookie of the Year Connor Thorp will be back for his second season.  Thorp was a bright spot for the Barons in 2007 and Reilly expects more of the same from the current West Chester outfielder.  Joe Hackert, still regarded as one of the more dangerous left handed hitters in the WRWBL, will also see plenty of time in the outfield, while also spending some time at the DH spot.  Nick Rhodes is returning in 2008 as the DH, looking to once again terrorize opposing pitching staffs with his powerful bat. 

The depth of the pitching staff was one of the weaker areas for the Barons last summer, but in 2008 the team will look to veterans and fresh faces alike in their quest for a 4th WRWBL Championship.  At the top of the rotation, James Huestis and Kevin Rettig return to form as formidable a combination as there is in the WRWBL today.  Huestis, the hard-throwing righty, was a Cy Young Award Finalist last year after going 5-1 with a 2.86 ERA, and the Barons expect more of the same this season.  Rettig won a team high 6 games in 2007, and the former Cy Young winner will look to continue to baffle hitters with his finesse game in 2008.  Behind the top 2, righty Brian Krost and southpaw Brent Morris provide Reilly with more options.  Krost, who is simply unhittable at times, will likely see time both as a starter and reliever in 2008.  Morris will also spot start and help set up for closer Jeff Slane, who enjoyed a successful first season as the ace of the bullpen last year.  Expect another excellent year from Slane.  Super-sub Alex Judge, who played all three outfield positions as well as coming out of the bullpen in 2007, will also return to give Reilly more options.  Newcomer Mike Howard, from Franklin Pierce, will provide Reilly with a hard-throwing righty out of the pen, something the team lacked last season.  Behind the plate, Tyler Montrone and Ben Stephenson both return to handle the pitching staff.  Montrone was thrown into the role of starter last year and played well, but the team expects an even better season in 2008.  Stephenson will backup and provide Reilly with a solid righty bat off of the bench. 

The Barons player to watch is big righty James Huestis.  Huestis was unhittable at times last year, and this year will be leaned on more than ever to be the ace of a mostly young Baron pitching staff.  Huestis’ experience and leadership of the staff will go a long way toward determining the success of the Barons this upcoming season. 

After a disappointing finish in 2007 with a Championship Series loss, the Barons have spent the off-season regrouping and preparing for another run at the WRWBL Title.  With the entire core of 2007 remaining in tact, the Boys in Black are ready to reclaim the WRWBL Championship and again establish themselves as the premier organization in the league in 2008.

Thursday, May 10
2008 Rockland Cavaliers
Logo -- Cavaliers (team preview)

Coaches- Phil Murtha  (1st year manager), John Reidy (1st year coach; 8th with franchise)

Key losses- Joe Currieri, Jeff Deluc, Artie Garcia, Pat Gorman, Chris Lemonis, Tim Meehan, Mike Pasch, Joe Wallentin

Key Additions- Jonathan Della Monica, Chris Denisar, Chris Durso, Joe Frambach, Pat Fury, Justin Leon, Mike Mobbs

Key Returners: Ted Broderick, Pete Daly, Marc Duncan, Ty Della Monica, Joe Farina, Rob Golemba, Matt Gizzi, John Moolick, Mike Morel, Gerard Moreno, Scott Picerno, Donnie Roth, Joe Seminara, Dan Silva


Player to Watch: Gerard Moreno

Outlook:  The 2008 version of the Rockland Cavaliers will once again have a solid nucleus of veteran players but should be energized with the addition of several local college stars. In total, the Cavaliers will have 7 new signees inked by opening day with a few more expected by May 1.  This influx of youth is attributed to a vigorous off season of recruiting by GM John Moolick and new skipper Phil Murtha.  Murtha, featured on the Cavaliers website earlier this season, comes into a pressure situation in his first year as Head Coach of a team who has finished no lower than fourth in the regular season since 2004 and has been two semi-finals and one finals appearance during that run.  The team’s goal is to get over the Championship hump in 2008.  The combination of returning and new players should give Murtha a consistently long lineup and the pitching staff should once again be among the league’s best.  With the blueprint for success already cemented, the only task for team management in the offseason was to upgrade the roster in a few key areas.  After a 19-inning Game 3 victory over the Yonkers Indians in the first round of the playoffs and a devastating loss to the Danbury Barons in the bottom of the 9th inning of last year’s semi-finals, it was clear that the Cavs needed more horses. With that, the team set three major goals in the off-season:   (1) to bolster the lineup with more youth and athleticism (2) to retool a bullpen depleted by age and injury and (3) to hire a game day manager.  Time will tell, but it seems all three objectives were met. 

The biggest challenge for the 1st year head coach, Murtha, will be to quickly handle the many different lineup options that he will have at his disposal.   He will be provided with a nice balance of veterans and first year players that will be joining the Cavs in early May.  Player-coach turned full time Coach John Reidy will look to make the transition to his new role in support of Murtha.  The talkative Reidy will be in Murtha’s ear all season as he knows the team and the league inside and out. 

Around the Horn:     The Cavaliers infield will once again be led by two-time gold glove winner and 3 time all-star second baseman, John Moolick.    Moolick, entering his 5th season in the league (8th with the franchise), has gained the reputation as one of the premiere table setters in the WRWBL.   The Cavaliers are counting on Moolick to once again exceed 20 runs, hits and walks as well as collect double digit steals.   The second part to the 1-2 punch this year will once again be third baseman Joe Farina.   Farina, the 2007 WRWBL league MVP and 5 time all-star is entering his 6th season in the league (8th with the franchise) and continues to provide the Cavaliers with a rare blend of patience (30 BB’s) and gap power out of the #2 hole of the lineup.   He continues to be among the league leaders in runs, walks, hits and RBI’s.   On the defensive side of the ball, Farina, a two-time utility gold glover, will split time again between catcher and third base.    Unlike previous years, the Cavs may have another all-star 3B in the mix.  Newcomer Justin Leon (RCC) could potentially take over at third by mid season.  The 6’4, 230-lb, Leon should also add some power to the middle of the order.

The Cavs longtime backstop, and franchise career RBI leader (111 RBI’S over 4 years), Matt Gizzi will be back for his 5th season in the league (8th with the franchise) albeit on a part-time basis in 2008.  The former gold glover, and  3-time all-star  is nearing the end of his career but the Cavs hope the cleanup hitter, once described as “a guy who seems to have two RBI’s as soon as his car enters the parking lot”, still has some pop left in his bat.   In order to lighten the load on Gizzi, the Cavs will turn to the 2007 WRWBL All-Rookie teamer Dan Silva, a product of Stevens Institute of Technology, who batted .327 with 18 hits as a rookie. Also spelling Gizzi, particularly through April and May will be Ted Broderick.  Broderick, a stalwart of the Cavaliers partner franchise, the Nyack Indians, will again be counted on to provide power in the middle of the lineup and guide the pitching staff deep into the playoffs along with Gizzi, Silva and Farina.

Rounding out the middle of the diamond will be the super athletic, Donnie Roth (Concordia College), former independent player Marc Duncan and Joe “Colonel” Frambach.  Roth and Duncan are gold glove candidates at short and provide coach Murtha a nice mixture of youth and experience.  As a rookie, the younger Roth played flawless defensively during last year’s playoff run and in the July 4th Spam Town Challenge in Austin Minnesota.    Roth’s speed and general makeup give Coach Murtha the flexibility to bat him leadoff, second or as another leadoff type hitter in the back end of the order.    Duncan, though his availability is limited as he is a cog in the Nyack Indians lineup, provides the Cavaliers with a terrific bat to plug in the middle of the order in his 4th season with the Cavs.  Frambach will be all over the diamond for the Cavs this year giving coach Murtha much needed flexibility in the infield and outfield.

At first base, Ty Della Monica, a 6’4, 240-lb lumberjack, who had a taste of the WRWBL intensity last season is on a mission to cement himself as the # 5 hitter from the get go in 2008.  Joining the Cavs in mid-season in 2007 after finishing his college career at STAC, Della Monica has the potential to be an intimidating force in the middle of the lineup.  With high OBP players in front of him, he should consistently come to the plate with runners in scoring position.    Also at first base, when not catching or DH, will be Dan Silva.  Silva got off to a fast start last year with the bat and the Cavs hope he can build on last year’s all rookie performance and have a strong finish in 2008.    Veteran Rob Golemba can also provide coach Murtha with solid defense at first when not playing outfield or pitching.

The corner outfield positions will continue to be patrolled by savvy veterans Mike Morel in right and Rob Golemba left.   Both players are entering their 5th season in the league (8th with the franchise), and have been anchors on the corners.  Golemba has played gold glove caliber defense over his career, and looks to regain his all-star form of 2006 when he batted .400.   The fiery lefty, who collected his 100th WRWBL hit last year, will be looked upon to maintain his consistency while helping to mentor the younger college players.   Morel, the team’s vocal leader, will look to duplicate his solid production from 2007 in which he collected 20 hits and was second on the team in plate appearances.   Though not known to be quiet around his teammates, Morel has quietly approached the 100 hit mark needing only 18 to reach it in 2008.  If past years are any indication, Morel should be a lock to surpass that this summer.     Both Morel and Golemba provide the Cavaliers solid options to hit up and down the lineup.   Due in part to Golemba’s role as a reliever and 2008 Player to Watch Gerard Moreno’s role as a starting pitcher / utility man, the most important newcomers this off season might turn out to be Fordham University Sophomore Mike Mobbs and former Dutchess Community College slugger Chris Durso.  While generally a corner outfielder in college, Mobbs will see time at all three outfield positions in 2008 and could potentially replace last year’s gold glove centerfield Tim Meehan.   Mobbs, who saw significant playing time as a Freshman at Fordham in 2007, has the size and speed to fit nicely into the lineup and will also log some innings on the mound.   Durso, who along with pitcher Chris Denisar, had one of the strongest springs on the team, will also see time at all three outfield positions.  Former North Rockland High School star Pat Fury, freshman at FDU Division I, will also be in the outfield mix for the Cavs this season.  Coming off an arm injury, Fury will be around the diamond as he gains arm strength.  Finally, Mr. Cavalier Pete Daly will be back for his 10th season.  Although family obligations will limit his availability for the first time in 2008, Daly will be counted on in the outfield, DH and for veteran leadership.   Daly has been the longest tendered Cavalier and most dedicated player in team history.  He has seen the highs, lows and in-betweens, lived through team mergers, sponsors, fundraisers, changes in management and made immeasurable contributions to the club both on and off the field.  In consideration of this, the team will recognize his contributions after the season with the first ever “Pete Daly award,” given to this year’s top rookie in honor of Pete’s dedication and commitment to the Cavalier baseball franchise. 

The Cavaliers pitching staff will again be the key to the season and last year’s top three starters are poised to have another solid season.  All three returning starters registered at least 40 innings pitched last year.   The work horse will again be last year’s all-star and all-rookie RHP Scott Picerno (Stevens Tech).  Picerno logged 49-innings in last season en route to the 2007 WRWBL ERA Title (1.46 ERA).  His counterpart will be RHP Joe Seminara, who was also recognized with his first all-star appearance in 2007.  Known as “Dinner Time” because he looks like 6:00 when pitching out of the stretch, the tall righty is a combined 12-2 lifetime in the WRWBL.  2008 will be Seminara’s 5th season with the Cavs and has improved each season.  The underrated Seminara is often overlooked when it comes to listing the top pitchers in the league, but he has posted a remarkable winning percentage during his career.     The # 3 pitcher will be the player to watch Gerard Moreno.  Moreno showed his best stuff last year at the Spam Town challenge as he carried a no-hitter into the 7th in a dominating Game 2 win.  The spot starter will be lefty Rob Golemba who can also be used as long reliever, a role he excelled in last year.   

The bullpen became an immediate off-season priority at the end of last season.  The off-season signing of two relievers to date with another potential signing in the wings will undoubtedly bolster the staff.    The main weapon out of the pen will be Jonathan Della Monica, who is the brother of Ty Della Monica.   Della Monica has been penciled in as the closer for STAC, and at press time had already recorded 4 saves for the Spartans featuring a blazing fastball to go with a nasty slider.   RHP Chris Denisar is the other highly touted reliever hailing from Dutchess Community College.  Two years removed from Tommy John surgery, Denisar will be used as the closer to start the season and will compete for a starting role by mid June as he builds arm strength.  Denisar has also swung a hot bat this spring and will see some time at the plate.  The Cavaliers coaching staff was immediately impressed by his mound presence and is very excited about the pure stuff this right hander possesses.  One Cavs catcher remarked, “he may be the team’s best pitcher by the playoffs”, high praise for a staff consisting of last year’s ERA Champion.

Player to Watch:   The Cavalier’s 2008 player to watch is the multi-faceted utility man and RHP Gerard Moreno.     Moreno, also known as “DEUCE” because they couldn’t have two Gerard’s when he arrived at Stevens in 2004, will look to build on his first two seasons in the WRWBL and could be the team’s # 2 pitcher.   The 2008 all-star played in 24 games last year in which he batted .348, scored 21 runs, swiped a team high 19 bases, and collected 24 hits.   He accomplished all this at the plate, while pitching himself to a 4-1 record on the mound, with a respectable 2.72 ERA in 40 innings.   Moreno saw time at all three outfield positions, 2B, SS, 3B and P in 2007.  Moreno’s raw skills coupled with his consistent maturation as a player has the Cavaliers feeling like this is the year that Deuce comes into his own and leads this team to the championship. 

Wednesday, March 26
2008 Westchester Cubs
Logo -- Cubs (team preview)

Team Name:             Westchester Cubs 9th season 88- 114 overall record in Eight years

2007 Record:             12-15

Manager:                 Greg Locke  

Key Returns:             Greg Locke, Reggie Armstrong, John Robinson, Tim Mentrasti, Chris Mentrasti, Chris Roemer, Chris Tsagaris, Dave Mcorsin, Anthony Pujia, Joe Difrancesco, Terrence Murphy, Nathan Ginsberg

Key Losses:              N/A

Key Additions:             Jeff Sosis, Erik Dodge, Jason Cusumano, Greg Valvano, Tyler Rush, Luke Rush, Paul Marinis, Chris Selenow,  Dean Bellas, Paul Liberatore  and after a season off Anthony Ascanio,  and Mike Maselli.

Keys to Victory:         Improved Situational Hitting, Defense

Player to Watch:            Every one, with a young team the Cubs will need to get the key hits and play fundamental baseball

Thursday, May 10
2008 Somers Cyclones
Image- Andy Panos
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Team Name: Somers Cyclones

2007 Record: 11-15

Managers: Drew Panos, Jon Pollock

Key Returners: George Bassolino, Doug Lugbauer, Tim Buccolo, Al Vinberg, Jon Pollock, Drew Panos, Artie Mendola, Joe Diaferia, Danny Garcia, Ricky Gundert, Steve Chrapowitzky, Steve Smith, Jerry Nardone, Dennis Petterson, Steve Schult, Joe Diaferia, Al Vinberg.

Key Losses: Andy Panos, Kevin McElligot, Joe Gunshor, Mike Park, Andrew Bissagna.

Key Additions: Chris Carday, Eric Holtz, Matt Ciraco

Keys to Victory: Start strong

Player to watch: Matt Ciraco

Outlook: Despite a dismal 1-12 start, the 2007 Cyclones bounced back, winning 10 of their last 13 games and coming within ½ game of a playoff spot. The Cyclones attribute their success to fine pitching, timely hitting and a commitment to winning and to each other. The 2008 Cyclones look to pick up where they left off last season and contend for a playoff spot.

The Cyclones begin their 2008 campaign in a bit of a hole, losing long time manager and team founder Andy Panos. Despite his age, Andy did everything behind the scenes for this team as well as set the lineup and catch. Drew Panos and Jon Pollock will attempt to pick up the slack as co-managers. Andy will be sorely missed, but his lightheartedness and spirit of fairness will continue to influence the personality of the Cyclones.

The starting infield of Tim Buccolo (1b), Jon Pollock (2b), Danny Garcia (SS) and Ricky Gundert (3b) will be returning for their third full season together. Their positive chemistry has translated into good communication and a solid infield defense, which the managers hope will be a strength going into the new season. Drew Panos, Artie Mendola and Chris Carday will also see significant time given that Pollock and Garcia also pitch. Joe Diaferia and Al Vinberg will add depth and veteran leadership. Doug Lugbauer and George Bassolino will handle the pitching staff.

The Cyclones outfield took a big hit with the loss of their centerfielder and leadoff hitter, Joe Gunshor. However, the presence of veteran centerfielder Steve Smith will hopefully soften the blow. Steve Chrapowitzky (RF) and potential gold-glover, Jerry Nardone (LF) will fill out the corner spots. Newcomer Eric Holtz will also provide depth. The return of long-time Cyclone Dennis Petterson is a huge boost, as he plays all nine positions.

Last season’s turnaround was greatly influenced by solid pitching. While the cyclones lost relief aces Mike Park and Andrew Bisagna, they retain their top three starting pitchers, Steve Shult, Drew Panos, and Jon Pollock. Shult will look to bounce back from a disappointing 2007 season but the big lefty will be counted on to be a stabilizing force at the top of the rotation. Last season was Panos’ finest and he will look to continue to eat up innings and confuse hitters with his funky delivery. Although Pollock was dominant at times last season, chronic arm problems continue to hamper his ability to sustain his success throughout the entire season. The Cyclones hope that he can stay healthy and give them a hard thrower in the rotation and at the end of games. Danny Garcia, Joe D., and Big Al all contributed big innings out of the bullpen last season and will be counted on to pick up the slack left by the departures of Park and Bisagna. Eric Holtz will also see significant time in a relief role.

The Cyclones offense really clicked last season with a combination of timely hitting, power, and speed on the base paths. The team will look to Smith and Garcia to set the table for the Cyclones’ big hitters. Both have an innate ability to get on base and will also challenge for the team lead in hits. The heart of the Cyclones lineup consists of Pollock, Buccalo and Gundert. Although Pollock is more of a contact hitter these days, he has a knack for picking up RBIs and is one of the league’s top base stealers. Buccalo and Gundert carried the team for about a month last season with their combination of power and average. Gundert will look to repeat as team MVP. Newcomer Chris Carday and league homerun champion, Steve Chrapowitzky will supply the power for the Cyclones while Jerry Nardone, Drew Panos and George Bassolino will add patience and timely hitting at the bottom of the order. Dennis “MV”Petterson will also be counted on as one of the team’s top hitters.

 The 2008 Cyclone’s player to watch is 18 year old Matt Ciraco. When he returns from school, Matt will patrol centerfield like few can. He is one of the fastest players in the county and can track down almost anything hit. Along with blazing speed, Ciraco has a discerning eye at the plate and uncommon pop for a leadoff hitter. Undecided between a number of Big East programs, Matt will challenge for the league stolen base title and rookie of the year.

Thursday, May 10
2008 Yonkers Indians
Logo -- Indian2

2007 Record: 18-12 (First round loss to Cavs) 
Manager: Bill Benedetto (1st Season) 
Key Returns: Larry Castrovinci, Mike Oliva, Lou Gigante, Marc Casey, Dino Scuderi, Greg Casey, John Magaletti, Mike Ciccotelli, Pete Milani, Mike Tecklenberg, Chris Alleva, A.J. Mendoza, Jordan Mummert, Phill Sallustio, Rob Falcaro 
Key Losses: Anthony Saciolo, Nick Botticelli, Marcos Castillo, Chris DiBiaso 
Key Additions: Matt Pisseri, Chris Marin, Peter Allen 
Keys to Victory: Being Consistent, Pitching Depth 
Player to Watch: Pete Milani 
Outlook: To sum it up:

      The Indians are coming out hungry.  After losing a heartbreaking 19-inning game to the Cavaliers in the playoffs last season, the Tribe still has a bad taste in their mouth.   First off, long-time Indian Bill Benedetto, has taken over the reigns as manager.  Hopefully this will take some pressure off of Casey, Gigante, and Castrovinci. Bill has always been a dedicated leader and is a great fit as Indians manager.  

      The off-season has been dedicated to putting together a club that can be in a position to win a championship when August comes.  The Indians have virtually every one of their core players returning, including all four of their 2007 all-stars.  There have also been some very key additions that Indians management is hoping will put them “Over the Top” like Sly Stallone.  

Will this be the year?  That remains to be seen.     
This offseason the Indians put a lot of their efforts towards keeping their pitching staff in tact, as well as finding some new arms to fill holes. The biggest concern is the bullpen, since the Indians went through most of last season relying on Marc and Greg Casey along with John Magaletti for most of the innings.  

Returning Pitchers 
Marc Casey (Mercy College) (9-2, 2.10,) The Indians will once again be expecting a lot from the 2007 WRWBL Cy Young Winner at the top of their rotation.  Last season he pitched, pitched, and pitched some more, setting the League Record for innings pitched in a season at 98.1.  However, with some new additions, hopefully they will not have to rely on him as heavily to throw a ton of innings this season.  The lefty is the Indians career leader in wins, strikeouts, and games started. Marc is a 4 time WRWBL all star.  

Greg Casey (Mount Saint Vincent) (3-2, 3.96) is a big righty who has been with the Indians since 2004. He is always a big part of the staff, having pitched over 45 innings in each of the last four seasons.  Last season, he pitched better than the stats will tell you.  He was injured early in the year, but bounced back to put up some great numbers and really helped the Indians down the stretch.  He will be slated as one of the Indians starters to open the season.  
John Magaletti “J-Bone” (Brown University, Can Am League) (3-6, 4.63, 71 Ks) returns to the Indians rotation after a roller coaster year in ’07.  The former CY Young candidate had ups and downs all season long, but still managed to finish with some decent numbers.  He led the league in strikeouts and had a respectable E.R.A. at 4.63.    John is a 3 time WRWBL all star

Phil Sallustio (Iona College) returns to the Indians after leaving the team with an elbow injury last season.  If healthy, Phil can really be a factor in the bullpen and as a spot starter.   

Chris Marin (WCC) is a veteran of the WRWBL coming over from the Rockies/Tigers organization this off season.  His resume includes  numerous all-star game appearances, as well as being a member of the New York Iron horse back in 2003 & 2004.  The Indians will look to Chris for a lot of innings whether they are middle relief, closing, or starting. 


Larry Castrovinci (Concordia) - The “Cap” is back.  After missing the entire 2007 season, the Indians all-league, all-world shortstop will make his return in ’08.  He is as consistent as they come, hitting over .300 in every season he has ever played, and is a perennial gold glove candidate at SS.  Larry is the Indians’ all time leader in games played, hits, and stolen bases.   
Lou Gigante (U of New Orleans, Scottsdale CC) - Lou is the centerpiece of the Indians lineup. Lou had an “off” year by his standards, but a year many other people would consider their best: .344, 20 RBIs, 13 SB. Lou does it all for the tribe: hits, wins gold gloves, and even steals some bases. He looks to anchor a very solid Indians lineup. 
Chris Alleva (WCC) - Chris had a great sophomore campaign (.352 BA, .410 OBP, 7 SB) The former rookie of the year will be looking to duplicate his numbers when he rejoins the club after his college season at WCC.  

Dino Scuderi (Mercy College) The 2005 WRWBL comeback player of the year moves to the infield from catcher due to the addition of gold glove catcher Matt Pisseri and the departure of longtime Indian Nick Botticelli.  Dino is a solid stick and will be looked upon to produce somewhere in the middle of a stacked 2008 lineup. 

A.J. Mendoza “JA, JA” (Chicago White Sox Organization) The league MVP runner up from last season does nothing but hit, hit, hit…….. Literally.  Last seaon he posted some monster numbers (.423, 35 RBIs, 9 2B) and the Indians are looking for much of the same in ’08.  A.J. is primarily a DH but will see some action at 1B this season. 


Matt Pisseri- The former Cub was a league MVP candidate last season, and also won the gold glove at catcher.   The Indians are expecting big things from the perennial all star whether at the dish hitting, or behind it calling pitches.  Management is penciling Pisseri into the lineup at either 4, 5 , or 6.  

Jordan Mummert- (Gettysberg) A fine addition to the Tribe last season.  Jordan hit .295 with 8 RBIs, and also did a great job catching the bulk of the innings.  This year he will be able to catch his breath a little more behind the plate with the addition of Pisseri, but it still essential to the Indians’ success. 

Mike Tecklenburg (U of Albany)- Big bat in the middle of the lineup who can also swipe bases. Good defensive player with a strong throwing arm. 
Mike Oliva- (U of Albany) He is truly a five tool player and a workhorse. Mike had a stellar year last season with an OBP of around .500 in limited duty due to an early injury and some schedule conflicts.  He looks to be somewhere in the top of the lineup. 

Rob Falcaro - A great addition to the tribe in mid season of ’07.  In 14 games played, he hit an astounding .444 with 5 SB and 7 RBIs.  He is a candidate for the leadoff spot, and a plus defender in the OF. 

Peter Allen –(Fairfield) A senior at Fairfield, and late addition to the Tribe this year, Peter was selected to the all MAAC first team in the pre-season poll, and will look to add some serious power to an already loaded Indians lineup when he joins in mid-May. 

Mike Ciccotelli (Villanova, Mariners Organization) Mike was the Indians player to watch last season, and everyone watched him do a ton of damage.  Mike hit .354 with 10 extra base hits, including a league leading three homeruns to go with 28 RBIs.  He also “vultured” a few wins.  If he can even approach these numbers again this season, the Indians are in business. 

Player to watch 
Pete Milani

The Stony Brook alum joined the Tribe about halfway through last season, and had an immediate impact on the team.  In only 17 games, he batted .306 with 8 RBIs, and played some stellar defense.  Management describes Pete as one of those “intangible” guys that just knows how to win.  The Indians are projecting him to be a big bat somewhere in the middle of the order, and with a full season ahead, the sky is the limit for Milani.

2008 North Castle Lookouts
Logo -- Lookouts New (team preview)

North Castle Lookouts 

Manager: Dino Mazzotta (2007 - 2008); Player: Lookouts 2003 – Present, Carmel White Sox 2002 

Key Returns: Joe Grillo, RJ Grant, Mike Ferrauto, Billy McClure, TJ Vericchio, Scott D’Ottavio, Hercules Jones, Sean Kahn, CJ Fleming, Colan Scheidenheim, Dino Mazzotta, Dan Nieves, Chris Marsek  

Key Losses: John Praino, Jared Monti, Matt Belmont 

Key Additions: The Ahrenberg brothers, Frank Vericchio, Todd Katz, Kevin Mulvihill 

Keys to Victory: Solid pitching and a steady offensive attack. 

Players to Watch: Dan Nieves and Chris Marsek 

Outlook:  The North Castle Lookouts look to get back on top this coming season. Last season’s .500 record and poor showing against the Danbury Barons in the first round of the playoffs have left the squad hungry for more. Many legendary Lookouts have decided to hang up their spikes for the 2008 season. The retirement of Lookout standards John Praino, Jared Monti and Matt Belmont will be big challenges to overcome. Luckily, the team is stocked with veteran players up to the task of leading the squad to the top of the standings this coming season.  

The Lookouts infield has a stellar look with perennial all-stars Scotty D’Ottavio and Joe Grillo up the middle, TJ Vericchio anchoring third base and Billy McClure taking care of first base. The Lookouts are stocked behind the plate with returning player/coach Dino Mazzotta and newcomers Donny Ahrenberg and Kevin Mulvihill, giving Mazzotta’s old knees a breather for doubleheaders. Some have even spotted Mike Ferrauto with some gear on during practices as he looks to regain his catching form for the 2008 campaign. Do not be surprised if you see the catchers manning the corners during the season or even the possibility of Scotty, Grillo or McClure patrolling the outfield or in the bullpen. This is squad built around its ability to adapt to anything that the league throws at it and everyone is up to the task.  

The Lookouts outfield has a completely new look. Seven players will roam the outfield this season: Dan Nieves, Colan Scheidenhelm, Chris Marsek, TJ Vericchio, Todd Katz, Mike Ferrauto, and Brian Pisano. Defensively they will cover the cavernous expanses of Purchase College with speed and agility. Offensively they will have to play a big part in various spots in the lineup. Big bats Ferrauto, Vericchio, Katz and Scheidenhelm will provide some pop, while Nieves, Marsek and Pisano will give the Lookouts speed at the top of the lineup.  

While the defensive alignment is practically set for the Lookouts and the offense looks to regularly put up runs, the team will only go as far as the pitching staff can take it. Veteran RJ Grant will be the number one starter this season. The Lookouts will need to see the same gutsy performances that he had last year. TJ Vericchio will close, with some spot starts until college players return. Newcomers Don and Chris Ahrensberg will be called upon for quality starts. After three seasons of spot starting and relief appearances in the US and Australia, CJ Fleming will be called upon to be a full time part of the starting rotation. The youngest veteran ever, Sean Kahn, will move towards his new role of setup/closer for the squad and will see as many innings as the Rockland native can handle. Hercules Jones will continue his work as a spot starter/reliever. He has finally purchased a new glove and cleats and has already begun to show shades of his former glory from his days as part of the Bedford recreation teams of the mid nineties.  

Look for a few key signing and acquisitions to come in March. A few more additions and the squad will be poised for a big season and a return to vintage Lookouts baseball.

Wednesday, March 26
2008 New York Monarchs
Logo -- Monarchs 'M' (team preview)

Team Name: New York Monarchs

2007 Record: 8-20

Manager(s): Paul Herron & Travis Thornton (1st season)

Key Returns: David Lloyd, Paul Gardella, Ray Lacen, Mike Diaz, Paul Herron, Travis Thornton, Luke Thornton, Dave Ducille, Mike Roig

Key Losses: Joel Perez, Ben McBride, Jesse Waters, Alex Roig, Mike Neff, Sam Alberts, Steve Sisenstein

Key Additions: Daniel Bohm, Michael DeGaspari, Richard Alicia, Daniel Rodriguez, Jason Ianozzi, Andre Boykin, Richard Kelly, Daniel Lopriore, Edward Fabian, Max Pachner, Pete Correa, Nelson Colon

Player(s) To Watch: Edward Fabian, Nelson Colon, Pete Correa

Keys To Victory: Situational hitting, Consistent Lineup, and playing 27 outs.

Outlook: With maybe the biggest complete makeover in the team’s history, the 2008 New York Monarchs will look to build on a disappointing 2007 season with fresh new faces, new uniforms and a brand new coaching staff.

After the retirement of veteran lifetime player/manager Joel Perez, the club was ready for a clean slate. First year managers Paul Herron & Travis Thornton worked hard all winter/spring to bring over 20 roster moves (including released ballplayer & new signings) for a solid nucleus on the corners, up the middle, in the grass and on the hill.

With the loss of Alex Roig and Jesse Waters in the dirt, The Monarchs fresh start begins with the teams’ biggest moves, the signings of the middle infield trio of Edward Fabian (2B), Pete Correa (SS), and Daniel Lopriore (3B). One of the main ingredients missing from last year’s lineup was POWER, and this trio, two of which coming from the MSLB Westchester/Putnam League, has the ability to make an instant impact to the teams new look. All three ballplayers have a reputable 5 tool talent, and will immediately jump into the middle of the Monarchs lineup. With one eye on the teams every pitch, first year manager veteran ball player Paul Herron (Utility, OF) will again mix things up at the top of the Monarchs lineup adding situational hitting, a trigger for hit & run, and the ability to score runs with the new added power. Third baseman Rick Alicia and Max Pachner will add depth to the left corner will first baseman Andre Boykin and Richard Kelly will add power and depth on the right corner - all four of these guys will be called upon to drive in big runs this year.

Behind the dish, veteran catchers Paul Gardella and Ray Lacen, and newcomer Michael DeGaspari will handle a pitching staff mixed with veterans and rookies. Ace David Lloyd will again anchor the club - with the ability to mix up his pitches and locate with consistency. Look for Lloyd to win a few more ball games with a much better back end of the rotation. With the same challenge that any player/manager has, Travis Thornton will look to concentrate solely on the hill when he's not in the dugout. Thornton, known as the clubs rubber arm, will make a hand full of starts and relief appearance adding fuel to the middle of the rotation. Young talented southpaw Mike Diaz looks to bounce back from a sub-par 2007 season and will get his innings on the hill.

In the later innings of the ball game, Herron & Thornton will have plenty of guys to call on. The Monarchs are coming into the season with six new arms. With three ball players coming out of the pen with an above 80 mph fastball, rookies Thomas Clark (WCC), Daniel Rodriguez (John Jay) and SS Pete Correa will have one goal of being the stopper.  Each has the ability to overpower the hitter - look for them to build game in and game out on consistency. Rookies Jason Ianozzi, Daniel Bohm, and Daniel Lopriore come highly touted and will see the hill throughout the entire season.

With the loss of all-stars Ben McBride in center field and Steve Sisenstein in left field, young speedster Luke Thornton will take over the grass up the middle while rookie Nelson Colon will take over in left field. Right field will be a wide open race this year, and will see a hand full of players getting starts - look for Andre Boykin, Dave Ducille, Paul Herron, Jason Ianozzi, and Luis Bido to all pitch in.

The Monarchs expect to add two starting pitchers to the roster as the club looks for its first playoff appearance in four years.

2008 New City Outlaws
Logo -- Outlaws Skull (no text)

New City Outlaws 2008 Preview  
2007 Record: 22-4 (Regular Season) 29-5 (including playoffs) 40-7 (overall)  
Manager: Joe Maggino (7th Season -- 133-35 overall regular season) 
Key Returns: Mike Amendola, James Caroleo, Brian Brophy, Chris Berretta, Chris Granata, Guerrin Raff, Rocky Maggino, Scott Seabury, Ryan Lockee, Jason Finley, Bill Eller, Chris Conover, Adam Josephart, Wayne Poppe, Justin Michalek, Alex Walters 
Key Losses: Dan Neil, 
Key Additions: Matt Mattcovich, Wes Poppe, Chris Robinson, Paul Bannaros, Mario Martinez, Eric Nanton

Keys to Victory: Pitching and Solid Defense. Team Speed, Ability to get the two-out hit. 
Player to Watch: Justin Michalek 
Outlook: The nucleus stays in tact for another year with the hope of repeating as WRWBL champs.  With the additions of some quality young arms and the acquistion of Bannaros and the re-signing of Martinez, the Outlaws look more to team speed and added gap to gap power.  
The Outlaws return a strong outfield anchored by James Caroleo, Scott Seabury, and Justin Michalek.  Caroleo is among the league’s leaders in homeruns, doubles and RBIs. Coming off what many would call a great season, Caraleo looks to improve his numbers to years past. Seabury will continue to be an on-base machine and is deadly on the basepaths. He has consistently been one of the team leaders in hits, runs scored, and stolen basses. Scott is looking to hit more consistently this year and return to his all star status. Matt Granata and Paul Banaros are versitle players who will fill in when needed in the outfield and be slotted in as DH and EH

The infield is stocked with talent, including returnees Brian Brophy, Billy Eller, Mike Amendola, and Wayne Poppe. Eller is one of the most sure-handed infielders in the league. A consistent bat and a steady player, Eller will be looked upon once again to provide big plays in important situations. Amendola is coming off back-to-back impressive offensive seasons and a tremendous post-season where he was named playoff MVP (Amendola says he has something to prove defensively after not getting his 2nd gold glove after a full season in which he had well over 120 chances and 0 errors). Ryan Lockee will be the team’s every day first baseman. A gold glove reciepient, he provides another solid left handed stick at the plate. Chris Conover will come off the bench to provide some pop. Rocky Maggino provides his speed as a valuable asset off the bench. Coach Maggino will have his work cut out for him this year with keeping all players happy, but as winning teams know, the deeper the team the better. 
The pitching staff will once again be anchored by efficient righthander Chris Granata and southpaw Chris Berretta. Neither is overpowering but both get hitters out with changing speeds and low walk totals Adam Josephart underwent elbow surgery last offseason and hopes to be at full strength at the start of the season. The Outlaws added a few young arms to this year’s rotation: RHP Chris Robinson (Cortland St.) Wes Poppe (Wayne’s younger brother and current RCC ace as well as formerly being All Rockland County and Pitcher of the Year and and an All Conference election in his first season at the college level last season), Left hander Matt Mattcovich (the big left hander is a control pitcher who rarely walks batters and is currently the #2 or #3 starter at RCC) Returning catcher Guerin Raff will handle the staff with the help of former Outlaw Mario Martinez.  Martinez took a one year hiatus after a phenomenal rookie campaign.

The Outlaws player to watch is Justin Michalek. The right hander has tremendous talent and is a gap hitting machine. Michalek is looking to build on a phenomenal rookie season in which many feel he was a league MVP candidate.

2008 Rye Patriots
Logo -- Patriots Star (team preview)

2007 Record: 2-24

Manager: Adam Weiss, 2-24 overall- 2nd Season

Key Returns: John Ruffolo, Chris Paolercio,  Michael Marcasciano, Jason Ostrowski, Blaine Taft, Josh Adelsberg, Greg Difalco

Key Losses: Sunil Bangali

Key Additions: Deron D’Avanzo, Dave Dunkelberger, Steve Sisenstein, Dan Vitro, Matt Corvo, Dan Murdoch, Mike Tavares, Eric Vingo, Anthony Saciolo

Keys to Victory: Teamwork, Aggressive Play

Player(s) to Watch: Josh Adelsberg, Greg DiFalco, Chris Paolercio, Eric Vingo

Outlook:  The Patriots entered the 2007 with a slew of fresh faces and great optimism.  The youth movement had arrived for new manager Adam Weiss, but the potential on paper failed to translate to wins on the field.  The mix of losing key pitchers early and the inexperience of the young team, proved to be the downfall of a season to forget. Bright spots for the season were; the play of key players such as veteran Blaine Taft (P), as well as rookies Greg Difalco (1B) and Chris Paolercio (C).


The Patriots have made incredible strides this offseason and certainly look like a team with playoff potential for 2008.  The key addition of multiple WRWBL veterans and promising rookies has reenergized the team. The lineup finally has legit middle of the order depth, as legitimate middle order depth and protection to keep opponents off balance.  The pitching staff has more than doubled in size and now includes three lefthanders and five workhorse starters.


The Rotation features veteran Blaine Taft, as well as returning righties Josh Adelsberg and Russ Singer.  Joining their potent 1-2-3 attack are rookie Dan Murdoch, and veteran Dave Dunkelberger.  The bullpen consists of Adam Weiss and the three lefties Matt Corvo, Dan Vitro, and rookie Mike Tavares.  The entire staff has a bulldog mentality, mound presence, and a great mix of secondary pitches.


On the diamond, there is a mix of new and old faces, all ready to compete.  The infield has great power at the corners, in John Ruffolo (3B), Greg DiFalco (1B), and Deron D’Avanzo (1B).  The middle infield boats some solid hitting and athleticism from Eric Vingo (SS), Adam Weiss (2B), along with the help of all-diamond player Giovanni Ruffolo (Utility).


The outfield includes some solid depth, led by veteran Michael Marcasciano (CF).  Joining him are veterans Steve Sisenstein, Bobby Stockert, Anthony Saciolo, and rookie Mike Tavares.  Long-time WRWBL veteran Jason Ostrowski will be in the mix as a Utility outfielder.


The team goal for 2008 is to bring intensity and heart to the field - every game, every pitch. The new cast of Patriots gives will give this team a legitimate shot at a winning season, and possibly a playoff berth.


2008 Pleasantville Red Sox
Logo -- Red Sox (team preview)

2007 Record: 14-14 (Play-In) 

Manager: Matt Meyers (3rd Season)/James Cisco (2nd Season) 

Key Returns, Scott Perlman, Matt Meyers, DJ Price, James Cisco, Joe Damico, Rich Salerno, Dan Rootenberg, Joe DiLeo, Brendan O'Rourke, Aaron Johnson, Andrew Martirano, Mike Arias, Luis Amador 

Key Losses: Anthony Cervini, Ron Humer, Chris Lopez, Leon Feingold, Pat Dahlgren, Jimmy Kennedy, Lou Annunziata 

Key Additions:  Andrew Hargadon, Dave Jiminian, Joshua Wolin, Dimitri Patsalos, Rob Weeks, Richie Aleman, Shlomo Lipetz, Antaun Barnett 

Keys to Victory: Improved Pitching  

Players to Watch: Dave Jiminian, Shlomo Lipetz 

Outlook: The 2007 season for the Sox was filled with many ups and downs. Change at the top brought in a new attitude and James Cisco and Matt Meyers did an incredible job of keeping the team together, but the loss of several veterans due to injury, and other commitments including Dan Rootenberg, Ron Humer, Anthony Cervini, Chris Lopez, Leon Feingold, Brendan O’Rourke, Richie Salerno, Joe Damico and Scott Perlman took a huge toll on the team both on the field and emotionally.  All season the Sox were forced to play several games with multiple pitchers in the batting line-up and were forced to play several first year players with little or no wood bat experience. The result was a team scrambling every week of the season to find players to fill in positions. The middle of the order had one of its best seasons ever, but the pitching staff had multiple games with 10 walks or more and that could not string enough wins together, but still had enough talent to finish at .500. 2007 brought some new faces to the Sox that will give the players who are returning from their other commitments a tough battle for their starting spots.  In 2008, it will be a whole new ball game for the Sox. 

The holes from 2007 have been filled and the Sox are now ready to attempt to make a return to the top of the WRWBL.The Sox infield will once again led by veteran 1B and manager James Cisco (Fordham) who is an All-Star caliber player. He doesn’t get as much credit as some of the other power hitting first basemen in the league, but hits for a high average, and is like a middle infielder defensively. 2B saw Luis Amador (Stony Brook) step in and become a 1st time All-Star as a Sox player. While Amador was terrific filling in at 2B, his real strength is being able to fill any defensive position on the field.  3B Matt Meyers (Oneonta) has already won a gold glove and has become a better hitter each season. Matt exceeded expectations last season and finished with a .400+ batting average and was a finalist for the league MVP award.  Expect some big numbers once again from Meyers who will bat somewhere in the middle of the order hitter. SS is where the Sox found their voice both on and off the field as new captain Joe DiLeo (Saint Leo/Concordia)) was one of the Sox best player both offensively and defensively. DiLeo can be expected to shine in 2008, and the Sox SS position which has traditionally been an area of weakness may now be their greatest strength. Aaron Johnson (Miami OH) showed that he can handle all of the infield positions and carries a good stick, and will see time at 2B as well. Richie Aleman will assume the part time DH role.  At 6’5” 250, Aleman adds the power threat the team has been lacking since the departure of Lou Osso, and brings with him independent league experience.  Andrew Matriano (St. Peters) who joined the team last season demonstrated great defense and offense, and will only improve with a year of wood bat play under his belt.  He will also see time at 3B.   Dimitri Patsalos (Fordham) is an up and coming corner infielder with a great swing.  Also returning to man the 2B position is 16 year veteran Joe Damico (WCC). Joe will be attempting to swipe his 100th stolen base sometime this season.

Rich Salerno (Dominican) who has become an offensive force in the WRWBL will see time at catcher and DH. Backing up Salerno will be Aaron Johnson who has proven that he can control the game behind the plate. Matt Meyers will continue to be the emergency back-up catcher.  There are college players who could potentially enter the picture later in the season.The Sox outfield is anchored by gold glover, DJ Price (Iona College). He will be flanked in right-field by Dan Rootenberg (Binghamton) who returns from a professional stint overseas, and will once again help lead the Sox on offense and defense.  Rootenberg spent time in the independent leagues and offers steady leadership and offensive pop to the lineup.  In leftfield Antaun Barnett will add power to the middle of the order.  The Fairfield grad and former Falcon hit 21 homeruns in college, and is a legit MVP candidate who bats from the left side.   The Sox also will use Mike Arias (Cortland State) who batted .333 and displayed power to all fields as well as Rob Weeks (Oneonta) who returns after a year away from the Sox.

The pitching staff was in transition last season and several pitchers who were expected to contribute failed to play an inning for the Sox.  This year the new recruits must step up in ‘08 for this team to contend.  Gone are part time starters Chris Lopez, and Leon Feingold, two talented players who were frequently unavailable.  Brendan O’Rourke (Manhattan), one of the WRWBL’s pre-eminent starters is again back in the rotation. O’Rourke has won a league high 31 games in the last five seasons. O’Rourke is tied with Perlman, having won a league high 31 games over a 5 year period. Perlman, who just turned 41, suffered a severe knee injury while training this off season and it is unknown if he will be available as a reliever in ’08 or if he will be forced to retire.  Aaron Johnson proved to be one of the top young pitchers in the league, and the Miami (OH) product was dazzling both as a starter and reliever in 2007 and will get the first shot at joining the starting rotation. Andrew Hargadon (Concordia) is expected to battle for one of the remaining starting rotation spots.  The hard throwing righty last pitched for the Lookouts in 2005.  Richie Salerno, Matt Meyers, Rob Weeks, Matt Maltese and Josh Wolin (Albany) all can provide quality innings out of the pen.  James Cisco will once again be the closer having led the league in saves last season.

Players to watch: Dave Jiminian and Shlomo Lipetz - Jiminian has been a force in the NJ NABA for several seasons, and is dominant right-hander who has won his league’s CY Young award 4 times, has a career batting average over .400, and has won his leagues MVP award.  While his commitment to the team is questionable due to his continued allegiance to the NJ White Sox, Jiminian could be a difference maker come playoff time.  Lipetz, who is committed to the Sox is an Israeli born pitcher with extensive international experience.  Last season he played profesionally in the Israel Baseball League and was the leagues dominant reliever.  The Sox who lost several times late in games last season could reverse that trend with Lipetz on the bump.


2008 NYC Thunderdogs
Logo -- Thunderdogs (team preview)

2007 Record: 17-11 
Manager: Matt Silvestri/Dave Lopez (2nd Season, 17 - 11) 
Key Returns: Dave Lopez, Kieran Farrell, Ben Hamm, Sean Merriam, Matt Barad, Joe Thornton, Matt Silvestri, Adam Gross, Bill Reilly, Dan Linden, Adam Pennacchio, Derek Kelly, Matt Berninger, Noah Cooper, Russ Tatro, Kyle Saud, Frank Delgado, David Gibbs, Will Smith. 
Key Losses: Danny Leon, Dan Heavens, Chris Hunter, Jimmy Voyages, Tom Maletta. 
Key Additions: Dan Reineke, Jon Huerta, Josh Shaver 
Keys to Victory: Middle Infield defense, consistency behind the plate, commitment   
Player to Watch: Will Smith
Outlook:  The Thunderdogs rebounded from a disappointing 2006 season to post the best regular season record in the team’s 6 year history.  Led by a revamped pitching staff, the Dogs improved across the board last season, winning games that the Dogs of old would have lost.   The 2008 version will bring a very similar look as all of the main cogs from the 2007 team return.  There have been a few additions to shore up some of last season’s biggest weaknesses. 
The Dogs’ pitching staff went from being a major question mark year in and year out to being one of the team’s main strengths.  The rotation will be led for the second year in a row by the 1-2 punch of Derek Kelly and Joe Thornton.  Kelly, a league leader in just about every major pitching category last season, will once again take the ball on opening day.  Kelly brings a bulldog mentality to the mound every time he takes the ball, and will provide the team with consistency at the front end of the rotation.   Joe Thornton, the team’s second ace, returns for his first full season.  The former UPenn pitcher finished his ’07 season with a stellar performance against the Tides in the playoffs and has since followed that up with a dominating performance in the 2008 Citrus Classic, so all signs point to a monster season from him. Following these two in the rotation will be Ben Hamm, David Gibbs and newcomer Dan Reineke.  Reineke, a former college teammate of Nate Fish (and Kevin Youklis) at Cincinnati, joins the team with some Independent League experience.  The tall right-hander brings pinpoint control and a fastball that has been clocked as high as 93 mph.  Gibbs will join the team in June and should slot back into his spot in the rotation.  Matt Silvestri will once again be the first arm out of the bullpen to eat up innings.  Reliable Sean Merriam returns for his 6th season on the team and will provide a dependable arm.    Another newcomer, Josh Shaver, a high school teammate of Silvestri’s, will be the long man out of the pen.  Matt Berninger will return as the team’s closer following the conclusion of the Columbia season.

The infield will look identical to the infield the team had for the first 16 games last year.  Matt Barad will take his familiar spot at 3rd base and will look to build on his best season as a Thunderdogs in which he hit .329 and drove in 25 runs.  Nate Fish returns to play shortstop.  The team sorely missed Fish’s bat and solid defense in the second half of the season following his departure to the Israeli Pro-League.  Fish will slot right back into the 3rd spot in the order and will provide some pop in the middle of the order.  Kieran Farrell returns to man first base for his 6th season.  The Dogs’ offense took a step back last summer following Farrell’s (and Fish’s) departure at the end of June.  With both back, Will Smith (Kenyon College) will be able to slide back in the order.  Smith will be the regular DH, but will also split time with Farrell at first.  Second base is arguably the team’s deepest position as Dan Linden, Adam Pennacchio and Frank Delgado all return and figure to see time.  Linden and Delgado are both versatile players with the ability to play short and the outfield if necessary. 

The Dogs biggest off-season acquisition is Jon Huerta.  The former Colby College catcher brings a ton of experience with him as he assumes the starting catcher’s spot.  Huerta showed at the Citrus Classic that last season’s catching mishaps are a thing of the past as he was superb defensively and showed that he can and will take control of the game by guiding the pitching staff.  With Huerta on-board, the team’s most glaring weakness has been corrected. 

In the Outfield, the Dogs return everyone from 2007.  Dave Lopez returns for his 5th season manning centerfield.  Lopez rebounded from a sub-par ’06 season to have arguably his best season in the WRWBL.  A finalist for the league MVP award, Lopez won his 3rd straight gold glove, and should continue to be the catalyst at the top of the Dogs’ lineup.  Returning for his 4th season is Adam Gross.  Gross shifted over to leftfield last season and continued to provide solid defense in the outfield.  After an up and down season at the plate, the team needs Gross to provide a little more consistency.   Kyle Saud, Russ Tatro and Noah Cooper all return as well.  Saud and Cooper will re-join the team in May following the conclusion of their collegiate seasons at Purchase and Columbia.  Both players will compete with Tatro for the starting right field spot, although all three will see significant time.  Tatro has looked extremely impressive in off-season workouts, and should see his numbers improve in 2008.


2008 Peekskill Tides
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Team Name: Peekskill Tides 

2007 Record: (18-10 - 4th seed) 

Manager: Paul Marino  (5th year - 72-42 overall)

 Key Returns: Tom Banca, Corey Borowitz, Alex Brooks, Chris DiSisto, Ryan Kay, Ryan Kealy, Marc Kenyon, Andy LeRay, Paul Marino, Kevin McGovern, Carlos Moscoso, Anthony Muccioli, Neal Rosengren, Michael Shea, Paul Strang, Michael Strutt 

Key Losses: Hayes Hobbie, Julian Lugo, John Mullen, T.J. Walsh 

Key Additions: Jese Abruzzese, Ben Brooks, Dan Bucci, Frank Cebek, Dave DeLaRosa, Dan Heavens, Dan Walker

Keys To Victory: Bullpen, Maintain Defensive Excellence, Timely Hitting, Minimize Mental Mistakes 

Player To Watch: Andy LeRay 

OutlookOnce again, the core of the Tides is returning for a successful 2008 campaign. However, due to a slew of new-comers (comprised of rookies and veterans), the squad is prepped for a championship season. Although the previous two seasons have ended with a loss in the semi-finals during the deciding contest versus the eventual WRWBL champions, the Tides are determined to make the next step. 

The Tides feature an offensive line-up of consistency, patience, on base percentage and timely hitting. Neal Rosengren returns to the top of the line-up and provides a unique approach to hitting. As a finalist for MVP during last year’s season, Rosengren will be called to once again produce at the top of the order.  Providing a rare combination of speed and power, Marino believes Rosengren is primed to have yet another successful campaign.  Michael Shea will likely follow Rosengren, and accumulate a healthy on-base percentage. Shea hopes to rebound from a sub par season both in the field and at the plate.  A standout at Purchase College (he batted over .450), Shea’s magician-like glove-work and excellent bat will be a key to the Tides victory.  Marc Kenyon, the Tide’s shortstop will bat third and continue to provide a mix of superlative offensive talent and instinct.  Kenyon, a perennial gold glove winner, is the leader of the Tides on the field and possibly one of the best clutch hitters in the league.  In the fourth spot, Alex Brooks will continue to produce runs in the attempt to repeat his 2004 Most Valuable Player honor. Andy LeRay, the Tides’ super utility player, should provide the Tides with some extra “pop” in the middle of the order.  Marino believes LeRay is primed for a breakout season and on the cusp of WRWBL stardom.  Kevin McGovern and Paul Strang are two of the best athletes for the Tides and provide great defense in the outfield and can swing the stick (both batted at or near .400 over the last two years) are stand-out outfielders.  David DeLaRosa provides much needed gap-to-gap power and veteran leadership to the team; Marino believes that David should be able to pepper the Tides Stadium short porch in right field all year long. Anthony Muccioli, one of the fastest players in the WRWBL (6.5 in the 60yrd), should provide excellent speed on the bases and in the outfield; Marino expects big things from Muccioli this year. 

Second year returnees, Chris DiSisto and Ryan Kay can play anywhere on the diamond. Last year, the two provided profound leadership qualities as well as solid statistics during the 2007 season and will contribute on a greater scale this time around.  Former All FCIAC selection Ben Brooks returns to the Tides this year and will provide a valuable bat off the bench and defensive help at first base.  The ever reliable and always good natured Carlos Moscoso will share the catching duties with newcomer Dan Heavens.  Moscoso, one of the nicest all around players in the league, should provide solid defense and hitting for the Tides.  

In the field, the Tides consistently send solid pitching to the mound. Leading the pitching staff will be left-hander Corey Borowitz; a tremendous big game pitcher who allowed 2 runs over 3 games in the playoffs.  The former Marist Red Fox and Bayside Yankee will anchor what Marino believes to be the best pitching staff the Tides have had to date.  Newcomers Dan Bucci and Frank Cebek come highly touted as the Tides are excited about these hard-throwing righties and each should slot in nicely behind Borowitz.  The hard throwing Ryan Kealy will come out of the bullpen for the Tides and make some spot starts when needed.  Marino expects Kealy to close out most of the Tides games this year.  Newcomer Dan Walker will provide left-handed relief out of the bullpen.  Furthermore, Ben Brooks comes out of semi-retirement to provide some quality innings. The always reliable Tom Banca is readily available to hop on the mound. Position players Neal Rosengren, Andy LeRay, Paul Strang and newcomer Dave DeLaRosa will also provide relief to an already potent pitching staff. 

 Defensively, the Tides field at a remarkable percentage. With gold glove potential at each position, the Tides remain as one of the WRWBL’s perennial fielding squads. 

For the 2008 season, the Tides are proud to have signed 4 rookies and 3 veterans. Leading the way will be former Lookout Dave DeLaRosa. He will provide the team with a sweet left handed swing coupled with defensive expertise at various positions. DeLaRosa will be featured in the middle of the Tide’s line-up. Dan Heavens, a former Thunder Dog and current assistant coach for the Tides, is slated to be one of the Tides starting catchers. Heavens is an excellent defensive catcher and contributes a veteran’s mentality. Ben Brooks, the brother of Tide Alex Brooks, has been on hiatus and will return for his 4th year. Previously mentioned Dan Bucci , Frank Cebek, and Dan Walker provide the Tides with some youth for the pitching staff. Finally Jese Abruzzese, a switch-hitting catcher, is in his first year with the Tides. 

The Tide’s player to watch is Andy LeRay. Andy LeRay is a versatile player with a sweet swing and good glove that can play anywhere in the infield. Marino believes that this is the year LeRay goes from good to great.  With his short stroke and ability to drive the ball, Marino believes that LeRay will provide gap-to-gap power for the Tides.  Furthermore, LeRay is a valuable part of the Tides bullpen.  Throwing in the mid-80s with accuracy, LeRay has a heavy sink and slide action on his fastball that makes him effective out of the pen. 

2008 New Rochelle Tigers
Logo- NR Tigers (team preview)
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New Rochelle Tigers 2007 Preview
2007 Record: 3-25

Manager: Joe Mandile Sr. (4th Season 12-71 overall (.145)

Key Retuns: Matt Welton, Kevin Gallagher, Brad Trangucci, Jimmy DiMele, Cliff Mahoney,  Matt McAuley, Bobby Miley, Erik Shattenkirk, Chris DelGrosso, Frank Spada, John Mandiile,  Dale Gregory, and Nick Maranino

Key Losses: Chris Marin, Brian Wallace

Key Additions: Stephen Pinto, Nick Parente, John Kain, Will Micik, Mark McCaffery,  Paul Blejec,  Chris Sager, Steve Arroyo Falcon, and Jason Monforte

Keys to Victory: Offensive Production, Consistent Defense & Strong Pitching

Player to Watch: Stephen Pinto

Outlook: The New Rochelle Tigers are hoping that this year’s additions of some young local college players will spark a successful season.  The Tigers are coming off a disappointing 2007 season that saw the team lose two of its key players: Joe Mandile, Jr. and Bobby Crosby to a professional team in Texas.  The Tigers took on a new name in 2007 in hopes that the change would bring success, following a disappointing 2006 season as the New Rochelle Rockies. The Tigers have endured three dismal seasons in a row and the tension and pressure to win is beginning to rear its ugly head.  Loss of key players like team captain Jimmy DeMile to a torn labrum in his throwing arm and Kevin Gallagher going down with a broken hand in our opening game along with inconsistent pitching and lack of run production left the Tigers in the cellar most of the season.

In 2008 the New Rochelle Tigers will again host a roster that will be among the youngest in the WRWBL. In 2007 pitching broke down early despite adding some fresh arms after losing key starters like Craig Beatty.  In 2008, the roster will again be young but there is a developing nucleus of talent returning that should make some progress this year and presents them as a real interesting team this season.

The Tigers are strong up the middle and it starts with catcher Matt Welton. Welton has been with the team since its inception and is steady as a rock behind the dish. In the middle the team has two fine infielders in second baseman Cliff Mahoney and shortstop Jimmy DiMele. Both are catalysts for the offense and will need to have big years at the plate if the Tigers are going to contend. At the corners the Tigers will have Erik Shattenkirk back at third base and Chris DelGrosso at first base. John Mandile will return and backup Chris at first base.  The Tigers have added some pop to their line up with the addition of Center Fielder Stephen Pinto who the Tigers are looking to put up some big offensive numbers along with Nick Parente, Jason Monforte and Nick Maranino batting in the middle of the order. Also returning is the hard playing Kevin Gallagher, Matt McAuley who will be spending some time in the outfield and as DH along with newcomers Will Micik, Paul Blejec, and Chris Sager. Nick Parente been added and will catch some games to give Matt Welton a break and will also play the outfield.    

The Tigers are coming in with fresh new arms this season with the addition of starters John Kain, Mark McCaffery, Steven Arroyo Falcon. Also returning to the hill is lefty Brad Trangucci and right hander’s Dale Gregory, and Frank Spada who are all big factors in the Tigers’ plans.

If this young core of players can remain consistent then the Tigers will be a team to contend with all season long.

Westchester Rockland Wood Bat League
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