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Rivertowns Sports

Local High School Baseball Squads Enter Season Swinging

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April 3, 2023

By Tom Pedulla—

The Hudson Independent previews the local varsity high school baseball teams for the 2023 season.

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Everything depends on how well the Eagles can compensate for heavy graduation losses that claimed the entire infield and diminished other key elements of the team.

Christian Leon, who will man first base when he is not pitching, is a senior who should step up as a significant contributor. Junior right-handers Chris Archer and Jonathan Galland are two more members of the pitching rotation who will be counted on for solid innings.

Archer is impressive in his ability to be around the strike zone with everything he throws. “He has great command, a great feel for all of his pitches,” said veteran coach Frank Adamo.

Junior Luke Arone is a slick fielder, whether he is asked to play third base or shortstop. Junior utility man Anthony Palumbo is another defensive standout. Dom Polimeno, a senior shortstop, will be an offensive catalyst. He is an outstanding contact hitter with a knack for working his way on base.

The outfield features strong-armed senior Diego Foster, who possesses the range to play all three positions, and another upperclassman who can cover a lot of ground in junior Jerry Foley.

“We have a lot of learning to do, a lot of experience to gain,” said Adamo. “The returning players, I already see they are up to the task of bringing up the younger players and kind of teaching them pretty quickly.”

“We have a lot of holes to fill and we have a lot of people in new positions. But the juniors and seniors will, I think, make that transition seamless.”


The Hornets are short on experience and numbers, with only two seniors on an 11-man roster. Fortunately, Aiden Aybar is one of those seniors and the underclassmen are promising.

Aybar, who is joined by outfielder Joey Reyes as a senior captain, will be the team’s pitching ace. He also plays shortstop and may be pressed into service behind the plate.

“He’s going to have to do it all for us, drive the bus to away games also,” said coach Steve Frolo.

Junior first baseman Conor Ranawat returns after emerging as the team’s second-leading hitter last season. His offensive production will be key.

The future appears to be bright with a well-armed sophomore class. Ryan Carpenito, Max Neibhardt, Sam Suniewick, and lefty reliever Dean Chung are all capable of getting the job done on the mound.

Until last year, Hackley had not played a full season since 2019 due to the pandemic and ongoing concerns stemming from that. “We’re still young, but they got a good year under their belts last year and they are looking like they’ve grown up a little bit,” Frolo said.

Freshman Andrew Carpenito is a name to remember. He can pitch or play shortstop or center field. “He’s an outstanding athlete. He can do it all,” Frolo said.

Sophomore Ronen Fleck and freshman Rodrigo Severin bring welcome versatility.


Rocco Cipriano, an assistant to Mike DiNardo the last four years, brings plenty of enthusiasm to his first opportunity as a varsity baseball coach. The 28-year-old former left fielder inherits a solid roster led by standout seniors Alec Schrader and Jacob Nierman.

Schrader, a shortstop and right-handed pitcher, earned All-Section honors as a junior. The Bulldogs can count on him to lead the way as a team captain.

“He’s a very competitive kid. He keeps his spirits up. We go the way he goes,” Cipriano said.

Nierman offers extraordinary versatility. He can catch one day, move to first base another day or patrol the outfield. “He’s kind of a coach’s dream,” Cipriano said. “There is always a spot for him. He plugs a lot of holes.”

Sophomore center fielder Scott Edwards started every game as a freshman and will grow from that experience. He will be counted on to make things happen at the top of the batting order and is a five-tool talent.

Unflappable Stu Graeber and Sawyer Chalsen, who has excellent command to go with good velocity, are key members of a strong pitching rotation. Junior Jake Epple will be counted on in relief and will likely make occasional spot starts.

Cipriano is emphasizing the need to play “small ball” by manufacturing runs. He expects effort and enthusiasm. “We want to play every out of every game,” he said.


Due to its approach to the pandemic, Masters comes off its first full season in three years. And it is clearly in a rebuilding mode after winning one game last spring.

Three juniors to watch are Henry Hubner, Connor Toporoff-Richman and Leo Horton. Hubner returns to anchor the rotation. Toporoff-Richman will be counted on to generate offense at the top of the order. Horton has a good repertoire of pitches but must overcome command issues and learn to trust his stuff.

Jagger Gossett will likely be most prominent among four seniors on the roster. The first baseman-designated hitter is aggressive at the plate and possesses good power.

Coach Neil Jaggernauth is extremely encouraged by what he sees in his underclassmen. Freshmen Lucas Freedman, Jake Raab and Zachary Gotthelf all have exciting potential. Freedman will be asked to make an immediate impact on the pitching rotation. Middle infielder Raab brings a great deal of athleticism. His fast bat makes him a tough out. Gotthelf can handle any position and may be asked to catch.

“We have a young team and a nice corps to build around, hopefully in the next two years,” Juggernauth said.

He is keeping it real with his expectations.

“What I want to see is growth from the beginning until the end of the season,” the coach said. “I want us to be competitive in games, fighting for all seven innings.”


The Horsemen must compensate for the graduation of an outstanding senior class led by John Nisco, one of the county’s most potent hitters. It will not be easy.

Coach Ryan O’Rourke is counting on the Brother Pirozzi, Mike and Chris. Mike is a third baseman and right-handed pitcher. Chris is a left fielder who will be moved to the leadoff spot in the batting order to capitalize on his abundant speed.

“They both got ample experience last year, so they are going to have to take on a much bigger role,” O’Rourke said. “They are both mentally tough, so we believe they can take on that role now.”

Junior Tucker Junge and sophomore Gibby Poll are up-and-coming talents. Junge is a shortstop who also pitches. Poll made great strides in 2022 and emerged as Most Valuable Player of the Briarcliff Tournament.

O’Rourke describes senior Dan Gallaso as “an old-school lefty junkballer.” He delivered in some critical relief roles as a junior and will be counted on heavily.

Utility man Rey Uribina heads a talented sophomore class. “He’s one of the strongest physical guys on our team,” O’Rourke said. “We think he’s ready to mix it up with the big guys.”


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