Finley's pitching corps displayed promise. (Darin Reed photo)

Finley Baseball Team Gains Needed Experience

Finley's pitching corps displayed promise. (Darin Reed photo)

June 13, 2022

The J. Taylor Finley Middle School baseball team came into the season lacking experience, but daily practices and a 10 game schedule worked wonders and positioned the squad for future success.

Finley teacher Jarrad Richter coached the team along with volunteer assistant Nick Matarazzo. Matt James, Spencer James, Presley Moss and Vincent Pupillo were the captains.

Finley was led by seventh graders Will Donaghy (OF/P), Andrew Lopez (3B) and Dominic Muccia (SS/P) and eighth graders Spencer James (IF/OF) and Moss (OF/1B/P).

“Spencer James showed great improvement from seventh to eighth grade,” Richter said. “He filled our super utility role this season, playing second base, third base, shortstop and even left field and center field when needed. He rose to the challenge as our leadoff hitter, reaching base in eight out of 10 games and scoring at least one run in five of those games. He was tied for the team lead in runs scored.”

Moss also improved by leaps and bounds from last year. “He was our starting pitcher in three games and threw in relief in two others, topping four strikeouts in a game three times,” Richter said. “He worked out of multiple tight jams this season.”

Working out of the third and fourth spots in the batting order, Muccia led the team in batting average and on base percentage and was tied for the lead in runs scored. “He made multiple smooth plays and timely catches in the field,” Richter said.

Several games ended in tough losses. Finley took a 5-4 lead into the last inning of a seesaw game against an exquisitely talented Nesaquake-Red squad early in the season before falling victim to a two-run walk-off homerun. Against Hauppauge, Finley rallied in the fifth inning to the tie the score. “Unfortunately, we couldn’t add another run and Hauppauge capitalized on a bases loaded game ending RBI single,” Richter said.

Finley’s players gave Richter their best effort and displayed a strong work ethic. “I give this year’s returning eighth graders a lot of credit for captaining a fairly inexperienced squad, especially the more vocal captains like Matt James and Presley Moss,” Richter said. “A team needs players who are willing to speak up and act as extensions of the coach on the field, so that leadership was very welcomed.”

Donaghy, Lopez, Mucia, Graham Gooch and Joey Perotti look to be the top returnees next spring. “We’ll be returning five starters with an extra year of travel experience under their belts, so I’m really looking forward to what those guys can do out there along with the rest of the returned eighth graders and the up and coming seventh graders,” Richter said.