The bashers might be gone, but Tottenville returns its top two pitchers from a year ago and the expectations of a PSAL title remains the same in Huguenot.
“We feel we’re good enough if we do what we need to do and if we play as good as we can play, with our pitching we have a real good chance to win a city championship,” Pirates coach Tom Tierney Jr. said. “Anything else is a disappointment.”
A year ago, Tottenville lost to George Washington in the PSAL final. While the feared duo of Kevin Krause (Stony Brook) and Tom Kain (Gloucester Community College) have graduated and will be missed in the middle of the Pirates lineup, Tierney said it’s a rare luxury to have co-aces returning in Michael Sullivan and Vin Aiello.
“We haven’t had that in a long time,” he said.
Sullivan is a hard-throwing lefty who has movement on his fastball, can throw a curveball for a strike in almost any count and has a steadily improving changeup. He was 3-0 with one save and a 0.54 earned run average during the regular season and had a 2-0 record in 11 scoreless innings in the playoffs a year ago.
Aiello, who will play at Rider next year, is a righty who also has a good fastball, a solid breaking pitch and a very good change-up. He was 2-1 with one save last year with a 1.40 ERA.
“We’re built on pitching and defense,” Tierney said. “That’s our strength and we can’t hide it or deny it.”
Replacing Krause and Kain in the middle of the Pirates order is returning leftfielder Anthony Capo and catcher John Giakas, who was a designated hitter a year ago.
“They were two guys we had in the middle who were bangers and we could always rely on in the 3-4 spot,” Tierney said. “We don’t actually have the same power in the 3-4 spots, but the kids we have there can hit. It’s not that big a drop off.”
Also back for Tottenville, which beat Poly Prep, Moore Catholic, St. Joseph by the Sea and Monsignor Farrell in the preseason, is Iona College-bound centerfielder Joe Sessa and shortstop Stephen Notaro, who missed most of last year because of Tommy John surgery.
“We’ll have to bunt a little more, play a little more with speed,” Tierney said. “If we get the pitching and defense, we feel like we can score a couple of runs however we can get them across to win a game.”
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