Shoreham-Wading River coach Kevin Willi hits fly balls Monday on the team’s first day of official practices. (Credit: Robert O’Rourk)
When he was a first-year teacher in the Shoreham-Wading River School District more than a decade ago, Kevin Willi was approached by longtime baseball coach Sal Mignano. The Wildcats had an opening for a middle school coach. Mignano, knowing Willi had played baseball at Stony Brook University, asked him if he was interested.
Willi jumped at the opportunity, the first step toward accomplishing his dream of becoming a varsity head coach. Over the next 13 years, Willi coached at different levels throughout the program, most recently coaching alongside Mignano as a varsity assistant. (more…)
Sal Mignano patrols the third base coaching box at Southampton High School around the 1982 season. (Credit: Courtesy photo)
Buddy Gengler stood at the podium inside the dimly lit auditorium at Shoreham-Wading River High School, the rain having forced the day’s festivities indoors. As he gazed out into the audience, he saw a crowd that had gathered to honor him along with two other former baseball players, Matt Millheiser (2001) and Bryan Sabatella (’02). On this day, their jerseys were to be formally retired, their legacy forever etched into SWR lore. But Gengler knew the day would be about more than his past accomplishments on the diamond. It was about something bigger. Someone bigger. (more…)
John Montesano pitched one inning of relief for Shoreham-Wading River in Bayport on Tuesday. (Credit: Robert O’Rourk)
SUFFOLK COUNTY CLASS A TOURNAMENT | PHANTOMS 4, WILDCATS 0
One thing the members of the Shoreham-Wading River High School baseball team may remember most about their team this season was its comeback ability. The Wildcats have done it time and time again, sometimes in dramatic fashion.
“I know some teams crumble mentally when they’re down,” catcher Jack Massa said. “This team never seemed to do that.”
When the Wildcats needed runs, they often found a way to score them. Just not on Tuesday. (more…)
Shoreham-Wading River players are jubilant after Jack Massa scored on an infield error, capping a game-winning, four-run rally in the bottom of the seventh inning. (Credit: Robert O’Rourk)
SUFFOLK COUNTY CLASS A TOURNAMENT | WILDCATS 4, HURRICANES 3
With its green and white fatigue-patterned baseball jerseys, Westhampton Beach brings a military bearing to the field. But it was Shoreham-Wading River’s fighting spirit that enabled the Wildcats to win the battle.
Playoff wins generally don’t come easily. They require execution, persistence, and sometimes a little magic doesn’t hurt, either.
Over the years the Wildcats have participated in their fair share of magical games. Their playoff opener on Friday can be counted among them. (more…)