02/21/14 8:00am
02/21/2014 8:00 AM

McGann-Mercy athletic director Paul Mastronardi, who previously coached at Eastport-South Manor, said he will coach football and lacrosse at Mercy, but would not be the head coach. (The Press News Group/Kerry Monaco photo)

From Mercy High School’s humble beginnings in the 1950s, when 47 students in a temporary building on Roanoke Avenue made up its inaugural class, the small Riverhead school has served as the East End’s home for secondary students seeking a Catholic education in a close-knit community. As the school expanded, eventually becoming Bishop McGann-Mercy Diocesan High School in 2002, students there continued to gravitate toward athletics as a part of their education.

The Monarchs, while successful at times in certain sports, have never been known as a powerhouse program.

Administrators now hope to change that.  (more…)

05/03/13 9:26pm
05/03/2013 9:26 PM
ROBERT O'ROURK PHOTO | Bishop McGann-Mercy's starting pitcher, Kevin Thomas, came off the mound to handle a ground ball.

ROBERT O’ROURK PHOTO | Bishop McGann-Mercy’s starting pitcher, Kevin Thomas, came off the mound to handle a ground ball during Friday’s win over Port Jefferson.

Designated hitter Pat Marelli’s three-run double keyed a four-run sixth inning to boost Bishop McGann-Mercy to a 9-5 home victory over Port Jefferson in a Suffolk County League VIII baseball game on Friday.

The Monarchs averted a three-game sweep after losing, 9-2 and 14-6, earlier in the week.

Third baseman Greg Gehring’s two-out, bases-loaded walk snapped a 5-5 tie just before Marelli delivered his bases-clearing blow to left field for the Monarchs (5-10, 5-10).

Port Jefferson (6-9, 6-9) overcame a 5-2 deficit by scoring three runs in the fifth inning off starting left-hander Kevin Thomas, who struck out five of the first 11 batters.

Right-hander Ray Ellis, normally a starter, pitched one-hit ball over the final two and two-thirds innings to register the win.

McGann-Mercy second baseman Kurt Bahnke reached base every time he made a plate appearance, scoring three times on a single, two walks and a hit by pitch.

The Monarchs will finish the regular season with a three-game series with Babylon on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday.

04/16/13 7:35pm
04/16/2013 7:35 PM
GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Mattituck's Will Gildersleeve diving safely back to first base while Bishop McGann-Mercy's Christian Lynch awaited the attempted pickoff throw.

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Mattituck’s Will Gildersleeve diving safely back to first base while Bishop McGann-Mercy’s Christian Lynch awaited the attempted pickoff throw.

TUCKERS 12, MONARCHS 2

Bats can do a lot of damage, especially in the hands of the Mattituck Tuckers.

Any doubt about that? Look at what Mattituck did on Tuesday when it opened its three-game League VIII baseball series against Bishop McGann-Mercy: 15 hits, two home runs (one from the No. 9 batter), hits from 10 players, multiple runs batted in from four players. The Tuckers had at least one hit in the first six innings. They staged successive four-run rallies in the fourth and fifth innings.

It all added up to a 12-2 result, Mattituck’s fourth straight win.

The field at Bishop McGann-Mercy Diocesan High School is unquestionably batter friendly, and there was a breeze blowing toward the outfield, but there was also no doubting Mattituck’s ability to put the ball in play.

“We’ve been practicing hours upon hours of just hitting in the gym and everything, so it definitely showed here,” said Chris Dwyer, who drove in three of Mattituck’s runs.

Mattituck (7-4, 7-3) scored in double figures for the third time in four games. John Schultz and Ian Nish both homered. The leadoff batter, Joe Tardif, supplied three hits himself, two of which were doubles, not to mention a pair of RBI.

“We’re a pretty good hitting team, and today was a good day,” Mattituck coach Steve DeCaro told reporters.

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Mattituck third baseman Will Gildersleeve focuses on fielding a ground ball.

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Mattituck third baseman Will Gildersleeve focuses on fielding a ground ball.

Both teams traded two runs each in the first inning, with Ryan Finger posting a two-run single for Mattituck, and McGann-Mercy’s Christian Lynch socking a two-out, two-run triple over left fielder James Nish.

Schultz, batting ninth in the order, launched his first home run of the season in the second to give Mattituck a 3-2 lead.

Then the game really got away from McGann-Mercy in the fourth. That was the inning when Nish clubbed his fourth home run of the season, a two-run shot, to make it 7-2. It capped a four-run rally that Mattituck duplicated the following inning when a ground-rule double by Dwyer brought in the last two of those runs for an 11-2 count.

Even less experienced players got into the act. Dylan Hahn, brought to the plate as a pinch hitter in the sixth, bounced a single down the left-field line to score the game’s final run. He is 3 for 3 in his brief varsity career.

Later that inning, John Dwyer, Chris’ younger brother, was given his first varsity at-bat, and it’s one he’ll remember. He knocked a single through the left side of the infield.

“Now John Dwyer has a higher batting average on the varsity than Chris Dwyer,” cracked DeCaro.

The beneficiary of all this offensive production was Cameron Burt (3-0), who turned in a complete-game performance. Burt, who had excellent movement on his curveball, did not allow a run after the first inning. He recorded 10 strikeouts, gave up six hits, walked two and hit a batter.

“You look at the score and you’re like, ‘Ohhh,’ ” McGann-Mercy coach Ed Meier said. “You want to feel bad, but I don’t really see what else we could have done.”

It was the first loss in four games for the Monarchs (3-4, 3-4).

Lynch said the best thing for his team to do was have selective amnesia. “We can’t dwell on this game,” he said. “We got to move on.”

Chris Dwyer, who normally plays second base, moved over to shortstop while the team’s regular shortstop, Marcos Perivolaris, sat out his second game with a concussion. DeCaro said he hoped to have Perivolaris back on Monday.

For all of the hitting, DeCaro said what he really liked was the fact that Burt threw strikes, and the fielding behind him was impeccable. “I think, more than the hitting, those two things appeal to coaches,” said DeCaro.

Even so, it was quite a hitting display, one that didn’t go unnoticed.

“There’s no break in that lineup, and it showed,” Meier said. “These guys can hit, 1 through 9. That’s a very good hitting club. That’s what they do, and they did it today.”

bliepa@timesreview.com

04/01/13 6:00pm
04/01/2013 6:00 PM
DANIEL DE MATO PHOTO | Marco Pascale, who had been a corner infielder, has moved to shortstop to fill a need for Bishop McGann-Mercy.

DANIEL DE MATO PHOTO | Marco Pascale, who had been a corner infielder, has moved to shortstop to fill a need for Bishop McGann-Mercy.

With a new position, a good deal of pressure and responsibility has been placed on Marco Pascale’s shoulders. Then again, it shouldn’t be anything that Pascale cannot handle. Following in the footsteps of his older brother, Rocco, one of the best hitters the Bishop McGann-Mercy baseball team had seen in its recent history, Marco has set about blazing his own path and making his own name for himself.

Rocco Pascale graduated from the Riverhead Catholic school two years ago, not before turning in a remarkable senior season in which he led McGann-Mercy to a Long Island Class C championship. His numbers that season were staggering: a .588 batting average, a .702 on-base percentage, seven home runs, 39 runs batted in, nine doubles, three triples. No wonder he was selected the League VIII most valuable player.

“He was the most clutch hitter I think I’ve had,” McGann-Mercy coach Ed Meier said. “The bigger the moment, the more likely he was to come through, and with power. Unless you threw 85 [miles an hour] or above, there was no way to get him out.”

The Monarchs were so loaded with talent in that 2011 season that there wasn’t room for young Marco Pascale, who had to wait until last year to make his varsity entrance as a freshman. Illness and injury (tendinitis in his right throwing shoulder) cost Pascale several games, but when he was healthy he was in the lineup.

Pascale, speaking in an interview during a break in Monday’s practice, said his shoulder feels better than ever now. That should come in handy for his new job. Pascale had been a first baseman or third baseman all of his baseball life — until this spring, that is. McGann-Mercy’s plan to play Kurt Bahnke at shortstop had to be amended after Bahnke suffered a torn labrum and was moved to second base. That meant the Monarchs needed a shortstop, and Pascale was turned to as the answer.

Although Pascale had not played the position before and is hardly a prototypical shortstop, Meier said the sophomore brings quick feet, a strong arm and a good glove to the position. The rest of the infield has Christian Lynch or Ray Ellis at first base, and Greg Gehring at third.

Pascale made a good showing for himself in McGann-Mercy’s season-opening Suffolk County League VIII series in which the Monarchs were swept by Center Moriches, 9-1 last Wednesday, and 6-5 and 9-2 on Saturday. In addition to playing shortstop in all three games, Pascale went 3 for 7 with two RBI and three doubles against the Red Devils, who are considered to have one of the top pitching staffs in the league.

“I felt like I played well, but in the end it’s about getting the win, not about me,” said Pascale.

Pascale, who bats third in the order, credits Lynch for providing protection behind him. “I’m getting pitches to hit, thanks to him,” said Pascale.

Pascale bears a strong resemblance to his brother, just not in the batter’s box. In contrast to Rocco, who had an unorthodox swing that worked for him, Marco has a much more traditional swing that Meier called “textbook.”

Meier said the result is the same: “They can both just hit.”

Asked for an explanation for the different hitting styles, Marco said: “I guess different coaching over the years. I’d go to certain guys and he’d go to other guys.”

How do the two brothers get along?

“On the field, great,” Marco said. “Off the field …” He didn’t finish the sentence, leaving the impression that like many brothers, they have their issues from time to time.

Marco said he listens to advice from Rocco, such as looking at a lot of pitches and waiting for a good one. “Obviously, he’s had a lot of success, so whatever he can give me, I’ll take that from him,” said Marco.

Marco said he likes it that baseball is a thinking game. “It’s all mental, you know,” he said. “It challenges you to think and make good decisions.”

These days Marco is devoting a lot of his thinking to learning how to play shortstop.

“It’s something new, I’ll tell you that,” he said. “You got to be a leader out there. I’m still a sophomore. Guys like Lynch have been on the team for three years. I really have to step up and start being a leader.”

bliepa@timesreview.com

03/25/13 1:30pm
03/25/2013 1:30 PM

ROBERT O’ROURK PHOTO | Riverhead senior pitcher Matt Crohan has drawn attention with his strong left arm.

His team a year older and a year wiser, Riverhead High School baseball coach Rob Maccone hopes the experience his returnees accrued will boost the Blue Waves into the playoffs.

Riverhead (8-12) missed the postseason by three games last year.

“The experience they got last year, that’s a big plus,” Maccone said. “We’re a year older, a year stronger. We’ll be so much stronger. We should be a playoff team.”

Part of the optimism comes from Riverhead’s pride and joy: senior left-handed pitcher and outfielder Matt Crohan. Crohan, who is already committed to attend Winthrop University (S.C.) this fall, led the Blue Waves with a .500 batting average and in runs batted in last year, but Winthrop was more impressed with his arm. He throws in the 88- to 92-miles-per-hour range.

“We’ll have a bunch of Major League Baseball scouts,” Maccone said. “He’s the real deal.

“He’s such a great kid, got a great temperament. You just can’t beat that kind of kid. I’ve got one more year so I’m going to enjoy every moment of that.”

Crohan’s supporting cast also gives Maccone cause to smile.

Junior shortstop Jesse Patriss, coming off an all-league season while batting .350 and fielding his position well, gives the Blue Waves some strength up the middle. “He’s going to set the table for our three-four-five guys,” Maccone said.

Also helping are junior outfielder Brian Brenton, sophomore third baseman John Wendt, junior second baseman/catcher Cody Smith, right-handed pitcher Joe Napoli, who can play third base and the outfield as well, and senior catcher Kyle Trypuc.

Maccone said Trypuc has a good arm and blocks the ball well.

“As long as you can receive or block pitches at the high school level, I don’t care if you can’t run or hit,” said Maccone.

Also expected to help are two juniors promoted from last year’s junior varsity team, right-handed pitcher and first baseman Josh Brewster and left-hander and first baseman Ryan Gaffney.

Maccone is encouraged that he has more pitching depth, especially in the bullpen. Last year, he was forced to bring in field players cold from the field or after throwing on the sidelines between innings. Now, he’s got relief pitchers who will be properly warmed up.

“If a pitcher is struggling, instead of pushing him through the inning, we have someone on the bench,” he said. “It’s huge.”

Due to some realignment, League III champion East Islip was dropped to League IV. Maccone and the Blue Waves will have an opportunity to test their mettle soon enough as they open a three-game series and the season at East Islip on Monday.

ROBERT O'ROURK PHOTO | Bishop McGann-Mercy's Marco Pascale playing catch during the team's indoor practice on Tuesday.

ROBERT O’ROURK PHOTO | Bishop McGann-Mercy’s Marco Pascale playing catch during the team’s indoor practice on Tuesday.

With so many starters graduated from last year’s 6-13 team, Bishop McGann-Mercy coach Ed Meier realizes this season will present plenty of unique hurdles.

“We’re younger this year,” he said. “It’s going to be a challenge. It doesn’t mean we’re not going to be good or successful.”

The other challenge is that McGann-Mercy has dropped down to Class C and will be only one of two in its class in League VIII along with Port Jefferson.

“That’s a little different for us, playing teams that are not in our class,” Meier said.

Much will be expected of senior first baseman Cristian Lynch, who is expected to be in the middle of the order, driving in runs and holding the line as a left-handed starting pitcher.

He will be joined by senior catcher Tony Mercuri, who should bat fifth, and sophomore shortstop Marco Pascale, who is expected to hit third after a good pre-season. Senior Ray Ellis and junior Pat Marelli are also expected to shore up the pitching staff.

Meier said he is looking forward to the challenge.

“It’s going to be fun,” he said. “The group that I had has moved on. I had them since they were freshmen.”

Now the new generation is ready to prove itself.

“We have a lot more energy,” Meier said. “Since it’s a new group, you look at it at a new angle and with more passion. You look forward to the younger guys improving, picking up the material and growing. This is a good coachable group. They’re hungry to learn. They know this is their shot. It makes it fun to go out there.”

Meier will find out soon enough as the Monarchs will start their season hosting Center Moriches on Monday.

ROBERT O’ROURK PHOTO | Tyler Osik of Shoreham-Wading River receiving a throw at third base during practice.

They don’t rebuild at Shoreham Wading-River, they reload. The Wildcats’ storied baseball program has reached the playoffs a Suffolk County-record 27 times and looking at this year’s talent, No. 28 certainly would not be out of the question.

“We’ve had great kids,” coach Sal Mignano said. “They want to work hard to maintain the tradition. That’s extra motivation to them as well.”

Shoreham-Wading River (20-6) is coming off back-to-back county championship seasons, losing to Plainedge, 3-1, in 11 innings in last year’s Long Island Class A final.

“We had a pretty good run the last two years,” Mignano said. “We hope to be in the mix again this year.”

Mignano has good reasons to be optimistic. Of his top eight returning players, six are juniors.

The best of the bunch is junior first baseman/shortstop Nick Bottari, the first eighth-grader to play on a Mignano team in his 37 years as coach. Bottari, who has verbally committed to the University of Miami, has put his mark on many of the school’s baseball records. Bottari is batting .448 with an on-base percentage of .518. He also has clubbed 12 home runs and batted in an incredible 88 runs in only 225 at-bats.

“He is one off the premier players in the Northeast,” Mignano said.

But Shoreham-Wading River is far from a one-man show.

Junior third baseman Tyler Osik is the son of Keith Osik, a former Shoreham-Wading River player himself who enjoyed a 10-year career in Major League Baseball. Mignano has coached father and son.

“He’s got a lot of great attributes from his dad,” Mignano said. “When you grow up around baseball, a lot of that has rubbed off. If Tyler gets anything from his dad, it’s a plus.”

Mignano has the core of another very good team. There’s senior outfielder Drew Sterruzzi, who rapped the RBI single that boosted the Wildcats to the country title. There’s junior catcher Jack Massa, whom Mignano called “the glue to our pitching staff,” thanks to being “an outstanding defensive catcher [with a] strong throwing arm.”

Junior second baseman Kyle Pendergast, who has great speed, is a candidate for the lead-off spot. Other players that Mignano is counting on are junior outfielder/right-handed pitcher Chris Moran, junior Keven Timentel, a hard-throwing right-hander, and senior first baseman/outfielder Sean Logan.

The Wildcats, who will play in League VII, will play their season opener at Mount Sinai on Monday.