Coming off its best season in 14 years, the Huntington High School varsity baseball team is heading into the 2020 campaign with high hopes.
The Blue Devils won nine games last spring, including six in league play. It was Huntington’s best showing since 2005. The team lost five players to graduation, but it returns most of its starting lineup.
Coached by Billy Harris and Rob Cappas, Huntington has 12 varsity players coming back. The Blue Devils were very competitive last year, compiling an overall mark of 9-11, which included many close losses. Huntington dropped five games by one run and another by an 8-6 score.
“We had a young team that matured very quickly,” Harris said. “The sophomores stepped up and competed at a high level.” Juniors Kyle Colleluori (OF/P) and Chris Segreti (SS/P) return after capturing All-League honors as sophomores. Juniors Palmer O’Beirne (1B/P) and Aidan Bender (3B/P) are also expected to be among the top Blue Devils players.
Colleluori batted a torrid .406 with a team-high 28 hits and 23 RBIs last spring. He banged out eight doubles, scored a dozen runs and walked 11 times. He also threw 37 innings, going 3-3 with a 1.67 ERA and 35 strikeouts.
“We look great heading into this season and everyone has been working hard all winter to prepare for a great year,” Colleluori said. “We are coming off a good year where we had eight sophomores starting, so we should be able end this year with a winning record and a playoff run.”
Segreti batted .324 with 22 hits, including eight doubles, 15 runs scored and 16 RBIs as a sophomore. He walked a dozen times.
“I feel that coming off just missing the playoffs last year, the whole team is working harder and we are all getting better,” Segreti said. “There is a good chance we are making playoffs for the first time in a while and I’m looking forward to the season with all of my teammates.”
Bender battled injuries last spring, but in 12 games he batted .323 with 10 hits, including four doubles and nine runs scored. He also threw 18 innings in four starts and compiled a 3.50 ERA.
“Heading into my third year on varsity, I feel super comfortable coming into the 2020 season,” Bender said. “Last year we went 9-11 with eight sophomores starting on the field. This year it’ll be nine juniors starting on the field and there’s no doubt in my mind we’re going to do something special. This offseason we have been working extremely hard. I can’t wait to see what this season has in store for us.”
O’Beirne took the mound in 10 games last year with all but two coming in relief. The hard throwing lefty fanned 31 batters in 25 innings.
“I think the team looks very promising this year,” O’Beirne said. “We have a great starting lineup with a bunch of guys who had a lot of success last year and hopefully can lead us to the playoffs this season.”
The team also returns juniors Alex Bellissimo, Alex Gonzalez, Zach Gordon, Robert Harrington and Jaden Italiano and seniors Ben Collins, Matt Gennarelli and Michael Mathews.
The Blue Devils haven’t won a league championship since 1965, but they are hopeful they can advance to post-season play this year. The team’s focus is on playing good baseball and winning enough games to qualify for the playoffs.
Practices get underway on Monday, March 9. Scrimmages are planned with Central Islip, John H. Glenn, Walt Whitman and Harborfields.
The Blue Devils will play in a league that includes Half Hollow Hills East, Copiague, Northport, Newfield, Centereach and Smithtown West. Huntington will play a three game series against each of its league foes.