A near perfect season in 2017 yielded to some struggles for the J. Taylor Finley Middle School baseball team this spring as the Falcons fielded a much more inexperienced lineup, which needed time to mature.
“This was a transition year for Finley baseball,” head coach Paul A. Caleca said. “We finished 2-8, but with some breaks we just as easily could have gone 8-2.”
Eighth grade captains Kevin Drake (P, SS) and Dylan Schnitzer (C) and seventh grader Michael Mugno (P, SS) led the squad.
Coach Paul Caleca
with Finley baseball captains
Kevin Drake and Dylan Schnitzer
Drake was the team’s No. 1 starter and he improved every game. “Unfortunately in middle school ball a pitcher can only throw 75 pitches in a game,” Caleca said. “We struggled when Kevin had to be removed due to pitch count.”
Schnitzer was a “stabilizing force” behind the plate as Finley’s catcher and he swung a big bat as the team’s cleanup hitter. “Dylan is a talented catcher and an above average hitter,” Caleca said. “Kevin is a gifted athlete who excels in many sports. Both have promising high school careers in front of them.”
Mugno was another standout in his first year on the team. “He shows great skills and knowledge of the game,” Caleca said.
Seventh graders formed a majority of the team’s roster. “Many of them were playing on 90 foot bases for the first time,” Caleca said. “We worked hard and started training early. My team was very well prepared for their games. We played hard and were very competitive. We were in every game, often playing against eighth graders. We were very young this year and to be honest, a bit small. We have a lot of promise for next year.”
In addition to the team’s stars, the roster included seventh graders John Acompora-Miller, Christopher Acompora-Miller, Joseph Algieri, Matthew Girardi, Gavin Kata, Costantino Posillico, Enzo Pupillo, James Rosselli, Nicholas Sineno and Joseph Toscano and eighth graders Jack Alba, Adrian Angueira, Robert Brown, John Chirico, Theodore Gress and Andrew Schirripa.
“We have a year’s experience under our belt,” Caleca said. “We will be bigger and stronger next year. Stay tuned; 2019 is going to be a lot of fun!”