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Rivertowns Sports

Local Baseball Squads Ready for Season

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March 31, 2024

By Tom Pedulla—

The Hudson Independent previews the local varsity high school baseball teams:

DOBBS FERRY

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The Eagles return an excellent one-two punch on the mound in senior right-handers Chris Archer and Jon Galland. Success will need to start with them.

Archer, an All-League performer as a junior, led the team in innings and starts last season. “He’s comfortable on the mound and is definitely capable of continuing to lead our staff,” said Coach Frank Adamo. Archer, a team captain, also is an excellent defensive outfielder.

Much is expected from Galland, another captain. “He worked really hard in the off-season to have a big senior season,” the coach said. Galland contributes in the middle infield when he is not pitching.

Looking for leadership? Leaders do not come any better than shortstop Luke Arone, a two-year baseball and basketball captain. He possesses a high baseball IQ and is a disciplined middle-of-the-order hitter. All-Section catcher Leo Brunenavs is very tough to keep off the bases.

Right-hander Alex Graff and high-energy outfielder Jerry Foley are two more seniors of note on a team that may do heavy damage in 2025. The roster features 13 juniors and a sophomore.

“The big thing for us is going to be defense,” Adamo said. “We have a lot of guys who throw strikes, so we have to be ready to back them up.”

He is encouraged by the way the team is coming together. “The willingness to work for each other, the willingness to do what we have to do to achieve goals, that’s something we’ve seen,” he said.

HACKLEY

There is change at the top with Jim McVeigh succeeding Steve Frolo as coach. McVeigh, 51, brings vast coaching and playing experience. He played shortstop for Mercy for four years and competed at the semi-pro level for 25 years.

As McVeigh sees it, much of his job will revolve around the mental aspect as he works to build confidence in strong sophomore and freshman classes. “We don’t just belong on the field with the best teams. We can beat the best teams,” McVeigh said. “It’s all about confidence.”

Conor Ranawat, a first baseman, and fellow senior Adam Gall, a second baseman, are solid defensively and offensively. They will work to get on base for slugging junior Sam Suniewick.

Much will depend on the brothers Carpenito. Andrew, a sophomore, brings ample talent to the mound. There is hope that Ryan will be able to recover from a shoulder injury in time to be a factor later in the season.

Logan Wissner, Tyler Parrot, Nate Becker, Brandon Acosta, Alex Aybar, Severin Rodrigo and Annabel Previdi are all underclassmen who bear watching. Acosta and Previdi are especially noteworthy. Acosta already has emerged as a backup catcher after never having caught before. Previdi, a junior, left softball and showed enough as an infielder and pitcher to make the baseball team.

IRVINGTON

The Bulldogs have a tremendous talent in junior centerfielder Scott Edwards, who comes off All-Section honorable mention honors. “Scott is a do-it-all player,” said Coach Rocco Cipriano. “He hits really well. He plays great defense. He’s a coach’s dream.”

The pitching rotation features senior right-hander Stu Graeber, a member of the varsity since he was a freshman, and junior right-hander Sawyer Chalsen. Graeber brings a tough-minded approach to the mound and should log plenty of innings. Chalsen has made encouraging progress. “I’m looking for him to take the next step to become one of the better pitchers in the league,” Cipriano said.

Right-handed sophomore Jaxen Brewster and Jake Epple will be counted on in relief roles. All of the pitchers benefit from throwing to junior Massimo Ferrari. He has started since he was a freshman and works with pitchers extremely well at setting up hitters. He is expected to provide a strong on-field presence. Look for first baseman Jacob Constantine to provide clout in the middle of the order.

The Bulldogs are eager to improve on last season, when they lost to Putnam Valley, 4-2, to start the playoffs. “A lot of kids are battle tested from the last couple of years,” Cipriano noted. “Now, it’s finally their turn to step up and take charge and leave their mark on the program.”

MASTERS

This program continues to be a work in progress for Coach Neil Jaggernauth. The good news is that he has two skilled senior captains to lead the way in right-hander Henry Hubner and third baseman Connor Toporoff-Richman.

Hubner, a mainstay, is committed to playing for Bard College at the next level. Toporoff-Richman should provide plenty of offense. He may play some shortstop in addition to third base. Senior Leo Horton will look to complement Hubner in the pitching rotation.

The contributions of two sophomores will be critical. Lucas Freedman offers considerable potential on the mound and in the field. Jaggernauth said of Freedman’s pitching, “He had some control issues last year, but he can throw the ball pretty hard.” Freedman will play first base and outfield when he is not on the mound. Daniel Hwang brings punch to the middle of the batting order.

Masters has been working its way back since the program was deeply impacted by the pandemic. Jaggernauth is hopeful that better days are ahead and is counting on good pitching and defense to lead the way. “If we can keep scores down,” the coach said, “I think we have enough hitting to be really competitive. Our hope is to get to .500 and maybe even have a winning record.”

SLEEPY HOLLOW

Junior Rey Uribina appears to have all the tools necessary to enjoy a big season with a strong fastball, slider, changeup repertoire. The key for the powerfully built right-hander will be staying consistent.

“When he’s on, he throws a heavy ball. When he’s pitching with confidence, he’s fun to watch,” said Coach Ryan O’Rourke. “He works quickly. Guys are on their toes on defense. As long as he can stay mentally tough, he’s got the stuff to do it.”

The Horsemen also feature two All-League players in senior utility man Jasper Davis and center fielder Gibby Poll, a junior spending his third year on the varsity. Poll pitched primarily as a reliever last spring. Now, he will be expected to step up in the starting rotation.

Catcher Marcus Spataro is making the jump from modified level to varsity as a freshman. That says much about his potential. O’Rourke views him as a key building block for the future. “He speaks the game of baseball,” the coach said. “As a freshman, the way he interacts with our pitchers made the decision easy to call him up as a freshman. He’s already got the maturity of a senior and the skills to go with it.”

A major step for the program is the return of a junior varsity team that will revolve around a strong freshman class. “Having that team back is huge for us,” O’Rourke said.

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