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Baseball Continues Hard Work Through Summer League

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Derek Pezo '19
20 October 2018

During summer vacation, many students relax and recharge for the next school year. For the Passaic Valley Baseball team, summer is just another opportunity to work hard and improve their skills. Varsity Baseball participated in the High School Developmental League (HSDL), held during summer vacation months. PV won the regular season and represented Passaic and Bergen Counties in the state tournament, where they eventually lost to Montville. Ben Adili '19: Property of Mr. John Mazzo

PV played against a variety of teams, including Wayne Hills, PCTI, Clifton, DePaul, West Milford, Bergen Tech, Old Tappan, and Demarest. These teams competed in a mini-league tournament, which Wayne Hills won. Since PV had an overall better record, however, the team won the regular season which prompted them to move on to the state tournament.

The whole tournament was based on a point system. Each team would be awarded 3 points if they won, 2 if they tied, and 1 if the team lost. Games were only played during the week. This was beneficial to many of the schools since a majority of players participated in travel teams during the weekend.Steven Nitch '19: Property of Mr. John Mazzo

“Since I have a pretty big coaching staff, all of us are involved in the summer, and we take turns," explained Mazzo. "Alex Madonia was the main one who was running the summer league team.”

Assisting Mazzo in coaching the games were John Pelosi, Max Wassel, Rob Adams, and Joe Feinstein. “There were at least 3 of us at every game, and one of us would keep the book while the other two would coach the bases,” said Mazzo.

The Hornets played 13 games within a 5 week schedule and Coach Mazzo couldn’t be more satisfied with the team’s results.

“We had some outstanding results from our seniors who played with us in the summer, like Ben Adili, Marc DePascale, and Christian Calo. Our two other seniors, Chad Cole and Steven Nitch, traveled a lot during the summer and could not play much. Since we do not have many seniors, the junior class is the bulk of the team.”Christian Calo '19: Property of Mr. John Mazzo

Some noteworthy juniors include Angelo Coiro, Vin Colavitti, Patrick Roche, Dante Christoforatos,  Dominick DeStefano, John Groh, Nick Madonia, Jeremy Kalokitis, and Zach Russo.

“I have been playing in this league since my freshman year,” stated Angelo Coiro ‘20. “What I love most about it is that it gave me the chance to play against really good competitors, and all of us were able to improve our game. It just makes us all that much more anxious for the season to come.”

Mazzo was also pleased with the performance of the underclassmen, like Matt O’Neill, Brandon Cannataro, Matt Levajac, Gianfranco Revisore, Brandon Ruocco, Sandro Schiavo, Omar Thabata, and Nicholas Vasta. After watching his team play, Mazzo admits that it was the younger members of the team who really opened his eyes.

Marc DePascale '19: Property of Mr. John Mazzo “These kids were the primary kids that played for us all summer, and for every game we had around 15 to 20 people show up,” said Mazzo. “The reason we had so many players was to give everyone ample playing time, which greatly benefited them for the upcoming season.”

The HSDL was established a few years prior with the purpose of helping coaches get their players fit and ready for their upcoming seasons.

“The whole idea is to try to develop each one of your players to get better for the future,” said Head Coach John Mazzo. “Since I am the League Commissioner for the Bergen and Passaic County Chapter, I represent much of what we have to offer as a team.”

Coach Mazzo is excited to see what his players can bring, and who will step up as a leader. “Since we graduated 10 seniors last year, we have some spots open on the varsity level. I’m eager to see who will work hard to fill those positions.”