The J. Taylor Finley Middle School baseball team is enjoying the opening weeks of the new season, basking in great weather as they go about mastering all the different facets of the sport.
Baseball has a long tradition at Finley, which fielded powerhouse teams for decades. Current head coach Jarrad Richter wants to return the program to those glory days and he has an excellent group of seventh and eighth graders to work with and pursue those lofty goals.
The abbreviated season will see Finley play games against West Islip-Udall, Oldfield, Commack-Gold, Kings Park-Maroon and Stimson.
Finley’s 24-player roster includes seventh graders Spencer James, Matthew James, Christian Luca, Alvin Luna-Mancia, Presley Moss and Vincent Pupillo; and eighth graders Anthony Addeo, Salvatore Barone, Michael Brandine, Ludo Cattano, Trystan Clark, Brandon Cohen, Griffin Kanzer, Sean Landolfi, Lucas Miller, George Mueger, Christian Mugno, Jibreel Murtaza, Aidan Pepe, Sean Posillico, Jake Severine, James Taylor, Jordan Thorbourne and Harrison Uvena.
Finley plays on a 90-foot diamond located behind the building. The dimensions include spacious left field and center field areas and a short porch in right field.
Richter is spending the opening weeks of the season bringing the team through offensive, defensive and base running drills and getting his pitchers ready to take the mound.
Richter wants his team to be aggressive at the plate and very tight defensively. He’s looking for pitchers to throw strikes and for baserunners to make as few mistakes as possible.
Finley’s players want to win every game. When they take the field for the first contest, they’ll be all business.