Sarra: MacArthur led by trio of Generals
If you play 20 games and the pitching staff hurls 10 shutouts, that would make you a very good, if not great team, right?
Meet the MacArthur Generals, a baseball team with three shutdown pitchers looking to win a Nassau Class AA title. In addition to the 10 shutouts, the pitchers have had four other games with only run allowed.
If pitching and defense really do win championships, then MacArthur will be very tough to beat. The Generals have been stingy and downright nasty to opposing hitters, who are only hitting .156 against them. Only East Meadow has scored more than three runs in any one game.
"Our guys are tremendously competitive," said MacArthur coach Steve Costello, who has been to the county championship in five of the last six years. "They're plus tool is not the 90-mile an hour fastball; it's their off-the-charts competitiveness."
At one point this season MacArthur went 40 innings without allowing a run, a span of three weeks. And all this without senior Jesse Tuozzo, last year's Diamond Award winner as Nassau's top pitcher, who was sidelined this season with a shoulder injury.
Tuozzo had surgery in March to repair his labrum and according to Costello is on the mend.
The senior-laden staff is led by crafty lefthander Joe Chiaramonte, a 6-2, 230-pounder with a mid-80s fastball and excellent command of his curveball and changeup.
"He throws everything for a strike in any count," Costello said. "He's got 46 innings pitched and walked just 10 batters."
Chiaramonte has allowed three earned runs this season for an ERA of 0.46.
Then there is a pair of righties that have also made life in the batters box hard on hitters.
The 6-3, 210-pound Kevin Roach has allowed one earned run in 38.3 innings for an ERA of 0.18. Opponents are hitting .118 against him with just 16 hits in 156 at bats.
Roach's big moment this season was against Hicksville when he threw a no-hitter.
"He'll have the most varsity letters in any one in the history of MacArthur High School," Costello said. "He'll have 14 varsity letters when he's done. He's an amazing all-around athlete."
Roach will play basketball and baseball at New Paltz in the fall. The four-sport varsity athlete has excelled in volleyball, football, basketball and baseball.
And then there's 6-5, 260-pound Frank Ziegler, who leads the team with a 6-0 record and has en ERA of 0.40. Ziegler will take his cut fastball, changeup and curveball to Farmingdale State College where he will study in the nursing school.
"Farmingdale is winning the lottery with a player that could be a Division I pitcher and has chosen to study at their school," Costello said. "He's another top notch kid."
Costello said in a game against Port Washington and staff ace Bryce Keller, who had numerous Division I scouts in attendance, Ziegler got so fired up that his fastball was popping at 90 on pure adrenaline in a big win.
With his pitchers in a constant state of bearing down, Costello loves how the competitive nature takes over in pressure situations and his guys work out of jams.
The future also looks bright for the Generals. Sophomore Adam Heidenfelder was brought up to the varsity after Costello said he was no match for JV hitters.
"He's struck out the first nine varsity hitters he's faced," Costello said. "But he leads the league in warming up because I can't get him into games. The hardest thing is getting him innings. But when he's in, he's been unbelievable."