Boys Baseball Focuses on Becoming Better Men
By ANISA KALOSHI and ELIZABETH VOOL
For the boys baseball team, weight lifting and skill work aren’t their top priorities this season. First, they’re focusing on becoming better men.
“If we become better men, we will become better teammates,” said Mr. Saverio Nardone, Midwood’s head baseball coach. “If we have better teammates, we will have a better team.”
In between yoga and skill practice, the boys use a lot of their practice time to talk, and not just about baseball.
“We talk about life, things like integrity, character, time management, morals,” said Mr. Nardone, the coach since 2015, “even how to tip at a restaurant.”
Jonah Abramson ’21 said, “Integrity is a quality we share and take pride in on this team.”
The program has reached new heights in the past few years. In 2017, they won the Monroe Tournament, Southeastern Division Title, and advanced into the PSAL quarterfinals for the second time in the school’s history with a 24-4 record.
Besides making a run to repeat their 2016 city championship, the baseball team strives to “build men of character,” said Mr. Nardone.
Last year, the team was 3rd place in the AAA Southeastern Division (the highest level of baseball in the PSAL baseball league), finishing the season with a 9-7 record, but they didn’t make it past the playoff rounds.
“We were disappointed with last year’s results,” said pitcher Alex Muchnick ’19. “The mindset is different this year. It’s less about winning, more about having fun.”
Last year’s disappointment was a result of a “lack of commitment to team culture by everyone involved,” said Mr. Nardone. Since then, they pledged to return with a commitment to creating a culture and tradition to be carried forever.
The team is participating in a food drive, organized through councilman Chaim Deutsch. They held the drive in a church and are planning on participating in another one this year.
The team is still adjusting since several talented players graduated last year. This year the team is a lot younger.
“It’s been rewarding to see the guys get better, but a challenge to teach everyone the system,” said Mr. Nardone.
Muchnick said, “There’s definitely a lot of potential in the younger players.”
Christopher Kelly ’20, a first baseman, said, “We’re excited about the underclassmen talent.”
For the baseball team, creating a positive environment and a culture of winning is important.
“We’re focused on being the best we can be,” said Kelly. “Our success can be attributed our hard work and detailed practices.”
Beyond the achievements on the field, the Midwood baseball team functions as a family to build a foundation of togetherness and trust in one another with a vision of achieving goals as a unit.
“Trust equals love,” said Mr. Nardone. “Without trust we have nothing.”
The program strives to give every student an opportunity to play college baseball. From 2015 to 2017, 14 out of 21 graduating seniors went on to play baseball at the collegiate level, and 18 were awarded academic scholarships.
“This year is the first year we plan to have every single senior play in college,” said Mr. Nardone.
As of now, Dan Perro ’19 will be playing at New Paltz, Greg Dorfman ’19 at Delaware State, Jason Goldblum ’19 at Union College, and Alex Muchnick ’19 at Rochester. Mark Barrett Jr ’19, Julian Lightburn ’19, and John Rolon ’19 are also being pursued by college baseball programs at different levels.
With seven seniors all displaying leadership qualities, “I don’t see a need for a captain,” said Mr. Nardone. “It gives the boys a chance to step up and take the lead.”
This year their strongest asset is their pitchers. However, they have to work on offense and creating runs.
“The game plan for this year is to catch every thrown ball and execute with runners in scoring position,” said Kelly.
Outfielder Jake Blozy ’21 said, “We have to play smart, run the bases with intelligence, and play small ball.”
“The game is played one moment at a time,” said Mr. Nardone. “We have to treat each moment as if it is our last.”
As their apparel says (sold in room B73), the team is taking the challenges this season “one pitch at a time.”