Eighth graders Lucas Miller, Christian Mugno, Jibreel Murtaza and Harrison Uvena captained the J. Taylor Finley Middle School baseball team this past spring. The 25 player squad is still evolving and finding its way, but it did display some flashes of what might possibly develop down the road.
Coached by social studies teacher Jarrad Richter, the team was filled with players who are still discovering their best positions while simultaneously refining their skills at the plate, in the field and on the bases.
“The best game of the year was our 7-5 win over neighboring Oldfield with Christian Mugno recording the victory after 3.1 innings of no-hit ball,” Richter said. “Mugno eventually gave way to Griffin Kanzer, who came on to shut the door and earn the save.”
Offensive standouts included Michael Brandine (9-for-13, six runs scored, two runs batted in and two stolen bases), Miller (6-for-12, five RBIs, two runs scored and a double and triple) and Uvena (5-for-13, three RBIs, four runs scored, three RBIs and a double). Mugno, Kanzer, Brandine and Miller were tops on defense.
“Lucas Miller and Christian Mugno each had great starts on the mound with Mugno carrying a no-no into the fourth inning against Oldfield,” Richter said.
Brandine was the “prototypical leadoff hitter, setting the table and scoring at least one run in four of our five games,” added Richter.
Miller also shined. “Lucas had a number of timely hits in the cleanup spot, driving in five runs in five games,” Richter said.
The roster also included seventh graders Spencer James, Matthew James, Christian Luca, Alvin Luna-Mancia, Presley Moss and Vincent Pupillo; and eighth graders Anthony Addeo, Sal Barone, Ludo Cattano, Trystan Clark, Brandon Cohen, Sean Landolfi, George Mueger, Dominic Parides, Aidan Pepe, Sean Posillico, Jake Severine, James Taylor and Jordan Thorbourne.
“While it isn’t reflected in our final record, I think this year’s Finley squad has shown that they have a bright future ahead,” Richter said. “Some solid eighth graders will be moving on to the junior varsity next year and this year’s seventh graders have a chance to return and continue their development.”