For the first time since he could remember, Tyler Badamo decided not to throw a baseball for four months.

"From mid-August to about mid-December, I did everything as far as strength and conditioning goes, but I didn't throw a ball at all," the Dowling College senior ace said. "I gave my arm a break so I would be ready to go this season."

It's early, but it appears that was a good choice. Badamo, a former All-Long Island star at Mount Sinai, is 1-1 with a 1.16 ERA and 36 strikeouts in 31 innings pitched. He's expected to start the East Coast Conference opener when Dowling (9-6) hosts Molloy College (4-6) at 3:30 p.m. Friday.

The righthander, who was selected in a coaches poll as the conference preseason pitcher of the year after winning the award last season, attributes much of his success to a newly found slider, a pitch he discovered shortly after he resumed throwing.

"When I came to college, I threw a fastball and a knuckle curve that was good but not consistent," Badamo said. "Last year I added a changeup and recently developed a slider that comes out of my hand as a fastball. It's my go-to pitch right now."

Strong start for St. Joe's women

It's worked for Bob Vlahakis in the past. Now, after two seasons of building the program, the St. Joseph's (L.I.) women's lacrosse coach believes he has enough quality players to play multiple lines, rotate players and maintain fresh legs on the field.

Vlahakis, who previously won four state girls lacrosse titles while implementing shifts in playing time at Shoreham-Wading River High School, is confident this could be the season St. Joseph's wins the Skyline Conference Tournament.

"What I like is that we now have six pretty good midfielders," said Vlahakis, who was named the first coach of the women's lacrosse program in February 2011. "We haven't had six really good two-way players up until now. It's been the formula for my teams' success in the past and helps to wear down teams."

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After a 4-2 start in non-league, which includes wins against top-ranked teams, the Golden Eagles will open conference play when they host Purchase at 7 p.m. Friday.

Though sophomores Heather Ferchland and Tori Gregson are the leading scorers, Vlahakis said the team is not dependent on the two playmakers.

"What we want eventually is to have all our starters be offensive threats and we're starting to have that," Vlahakis said. "We don't work around one or two stars."

On the defensive side, Courtney Wickline, a Bellport graduate, has emerged in front of the net.

"The one that I'm really most pleased with is our goalie," Vlahakis said. "After seeing her in high school, I really liked her, her technique and clearing ability which also fits into our philosophy of getting the ball out and running. She's done a real nice job of handling the pressure and emerging as kind of a quiet team leader already."