Rams baseball starts season with juggling act as head coach balances 18 players on roster
March 28, 2019 at 3:21 a.m.
Rams varsity baseball coach Eddie Martinez has a lot of balls in the air while going through a roster juggling act going into the three away games coming up against Carmel, Ketcham and Clarkstown North Friday (3/29), Saturday (3/30) and Monday (4/1) at 4:30 p.m., noon and 4:30 p.m. respectively.
On the one hand, he has the depth in pitching to handle three games that come virtually one after another in potential aces Myles Durney, Chris Hudson, José Taveras, Jack Mutino and Bryon (Bree-own) Morel.
But on the other hand, the inclement weather has made it difficult to come up with a set offensive or defensive lineup.
Has hands full
And on the other hand (just kidding), Martinez likes the fact that he is carrying 18 talented ballplayers on his roster this year—and that gives him a lot of options while his juggling act continues during the early phase of the new season.
"I think the lineup will work itself out game by game and every player will make an impact at some point throughout the year," said Martinez.
As he goes into his third year as head coach, his first two years resulting in playoff appearances, Martinez is upbeat about his team's potential even though the Rams lost most of their All-Star starting infield with his last year's graduating seniors including Luisbert Frias (3B), Michael Boccarossa (SS) and Keshaun Ellis (1B) along with ace centerfielder Jason (Jay) Wiley.
Versatile for starters
Because his starting pitchers have all gained so much experience by playing for the varsity previously, he thinks they can also play other positions when they are not on the mound. Especially since they are all solid hitters.
Durney, who won the opening game last season with a walk-off base hit against Clarkstown after pitching a solid seven innings, can move over to first base as can Hudson, an All-League pitcher who can also play the outfield.
Mutino can also play either the infield or outfield. And Taveras can play either the outfield or catch as needed.
Those are the key names that can be juggled around to various positions when they aren't pitching.
After that, Martinez has three players who started last year and swing the Rams’ biggest bats: infielders/outfielders Tony Roman and Anthony (AJ) Marini and catcher Joe Rinello. Veteran utility man Dan (Danny Carp) Carpinello may also step into the starting lineup as the second baseman and can also pitch and play the outfield.
Multiple starting contenders
That leaves multiple contenders for the remaining spots.
They include such familiar names as former Port Chester Youth Baseball League standouts Luke Masi (outfield), Joey Pascale (pitcher/infield/outfield) and Jason Hinz (pitcher).
Other potential candidates include ex-basketball player Corey Heckel, perhaps the team's fastest runner, as a potential infielder or outfielder, former Track & Field sprinter Mike Kessler (outfield/infield/pitcher) and 6:4 ex- basketball player Denis Garcia (pitcher/first base).
Jeremy Cepeda adds more pitching depth as does Nick Dorazio (also an infielder) with Rabel Badia capable of stepping into an infield spot.
Potential playoff team
Martinez thinks all those names could well add up to another potential Rams playoff team. But he will be juggling all the players on his roster for a while before he decides on a starting lineup. So he will have a better idea of who his Who's Who will be after those three away games leading up to the Rams’ first home game Thursday (4/4) at 4:30 p.m. against E. Ramapo.
The Rams’ season-opening game was scheduled for after press time Wednesday (3/27) at 4:30 p.m. away against crosstown rival Blind Brook, so stay tuned for the results of that game next week. And see whether Martinez's juggling act will get the season off on the right foot with his sleight of hand. Or if Blind Brook will beat the Rams again as they did last year.