Indians’ Baseball Stresses Clutch Hitting, Better Fielding
North Haven baseball had a respectable 2012 that saw the squad win 10 games, although Head Coach Bob DeMayo knows his Indians would have fared much better had they produced more hits with runners on base and made less errors in the late innings. Therefore, it’s no secret what the veteran skipper is emphasizing this spring in North Haven’s mission to get back to top of the Oronoque Division.
“We could have easily won a few more games last year if we didn’t leave so many people on base and make some late-inning errors,” said DeMayo, who enters his 55th campaign as head coach. “So this year we’ve set a goal of hitting better in the clutch and tightening up our defense on the routine plays. If we do that and get good pitching, we can win the types of games we lost last year.”
The Indians pitching staff features three seniors who saw varsity action last season in Zack Brown, captain Mike Acampora, and Chandler Andrewsen, each who are right-handed. Brown won four games with a 3.10 earned-run average en route to All-Oronoque honors, Acampora recorded two wins and two saves, and Andrewsen came on late to notch a big win against Cross. Senior Jaycen Torello has experience on the mound, yet is dealing with arm issues that will likely keep him at shortstop. Other members of the pitching staff are senior Andrew Iovanna, juniors John DeCusati, Stephen Aveni, Jeff Cunningham, and Josh Lopez; along with sophomores Mike Kurk and Rich DePalma.
North Haven may need this pitching depth early in the season as it plays four games in six days to start the campaign. The Indians opened at Hand on April 3 and face Notre Dame-West Haven in their home opener at 4 p.m. on Thursday, April 4.
“All three of our starting pitchers have experience and are competitors who will go right at you. They have to move their fastball around and also rely on their curveball and changeup,” said DeMayo. “I think our pitching staff will be a mainstay of our team.”
Acampora captains the Indians with fellow senior and Quinnipiac-bound catcher Matt Oestreicher, who was co-MVP last year after batting .333 with a .570 on-base percentage to go with sterling defense behind the plate. He will be backed up by juniors Patrick Mikos and Ryan Harger.
DeMayo said of his captains: “You don’t have to worry about much in terms of organization with Matt and Mike as they made sure everyone worked out during the winter. I’m pleased with their leadership.”
DeMayo is also pleased that he has 75 percent of his starting infield returning in junior third baseman Chris Brockett, plus Torello at short and DeCusati at second. Acampora is the primary first baseman with Andrewsen also slated to see time there and the hot corner. DeMayo additionally complimented the early returns of Branford transfer Trent Dillon, a junior who he said can play any infield spot. Junior Peter Katynski is also an infielder for the Indians.
After the graduation of All-Oronoque center fielder Chris LaVorgna, patrolling the outfield for North Haven will be Lopez in center with senior Vin Cretella and Brown at the corner sports. DePalma, Harger, and sophomore Dominic Fusco are the team’s other outfielders.
“Last year, we had some balls dropped in the outfield, but Lopez can run down the ball with his good speed and I’m hoping the experience our outfielders gained last year will help this season,” DeMayo said.
Coach DeMayo will be assisted by Muchie Dagliere and JV coach Ray Degnan. Mike Proto is North Haven’s freshman coach.
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