It seems there’s an arms race in the CHSAA Bronx/Westchester division and Fordham Prep is stockpiling pitching ahead of a season full of promise.
Iona Prep has a pair of Division I hurlers in UConn-bound Matt D’Ariano and Temple commit Tim McCarthy, but Fordham Prep has its share of quality arms as well as a new pitching coach in Gene Calamari, who coached at Columbia and Fordham University.
While Andrew Pucillo works his way back from injury, junior Sean McNamara and senior lefty Jack Becker will be atop the staff. Both have lively fastballs and great off-speed stuff.
They’ll be joined by juniors Joseph Lawton, AJ Pinto, Michael Regan, sophomore Pat O’Shea and even Furman-bound senior Steve Fondu, who will start in left.
“I think when we come back from South Carolina during Easter break I’ll have a better idea of the three, four, five and six pitchers,” Fordham Prep coach Pat Deane said.
The offense starts with Andrew Velazquez, a switch-hitting stud shortstop who signed with Virginia Tech.
“Pick your poison,” Deane said. “If you want to pitch around him, he’ll probably end up standing on third because he has tremendous wheels. If you want to groove him one, he might park it out on Southern Boulevard, who knows. He’s a tough kid to pitch to.”
Deane is unsure who will bat second, but it’s likely between Becker or solid contact hitter Ryan Mahoney, a senior who could play second and third.
Senior Vinny Capone moves from third to second base. He has already formed a great partnership with Velazquez in the middle infield and he should bat third.
“He turns double plays as well as anybody,” Deane said. “He’s got great hands.”
Junior Robbie Lynch has opened eyes at the plate in the preseason and he can also play second or third, while first baseman Jack Sexton, a Holy Cross-bound senior slugger, will bat fourth.
“He’s gotten a lot better defensively, which is what we hoped,” Deane said. “He’s a big lefty bat and could take it the other way.”
Junior Zach Leone, who Deane calls “one of the top defensive catchers in the city,” returns behind the plate and he’ll likely bat fifth. He’ll be backed up by junior Michael Goldstock.
James Scerbo, who was Fordham Prep’s leading hitter on the freshman and junior varsity teams, can play either corner infield spot, but he’ll likely be the Rams everyday designated hitter.
Filling in for Velazquez in center is junior Michael Regan, a lefty who Deane said has a “great live arm,” while junior Paul Pache can play left or right. Pinto, who Deane thinks will likely crack the pitching rotation, can also play in the outfield.
“There’s some pressure,” Deane said. “Last year we fell a little short, but it happens. To have all these guys back and what’s coming up from the JV, we’re pretty excited.”
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