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Rocky Point's Frank Moscatiello thriving in Hamptons Collegiate Baseball League

Rocky Point's Frank Moscatiello of the North Fork

Rocky Point's Frank Moscatiello of the North Fork Ospreys looks on at the Hamptons Collegiate baseball league all-star game on Wednesday, July 15, 2015 at Baseball Heaven in Yaphank. Credit: Joseph D. Sullivan

Frank Moscatiello is used to being overlooked.

At 5-8, 175 pounds, the 2014 graduate of Rocky Point High School is smaller than the average collegiate pitcher.

But the righthander's arm and dedication are equalizers.

"I've been working with it all my life," Moscatiello said of the hurdles he faces as a smaller player.

The St. Thomas Aquinas College rising sophomore has spent the summer playing for the North Fork Ospreys of the Hamptons Collegiate Baseball League, which has some of the country's top collegiate talent. Through Friday, he was 5-2 with a 1.25 ERA in 43 innings and leads the league with 50 strikeouts.

"I use it as motivation, getting looked over," he said. "I've got to stand out more with my play and open eyes with that. That helps me work harder in the gym and off the field."

Moscatiello said he keeps hitters off balance with an 88-91 mph fastball, reliable curveball and still-developing changeup, He has come a long way since family lore says he put his first baseball glove on the wrong hand as a young child.

At 6-3, Anthony Catinella towers over Moscatiello. but is nonetheless impressed by his teammate. The righthander from Molloy College and Middle Village, Queens, said he gets "jealous when a guy's getting up there and throwing 90 consistently."

"He reminds me of Marcus Stroman," Catinella said, referring to the Toronto Blue Jays' 5-8 pitcher from Medford. "He blows by hitters and they have no idea what to do."

Stroman, who is recovering from a torn ACL, fits the mold of a comparatively undersized pitcher with options on the mound, and his path to the majors is one Moscatiello hopes to follow.

Stroman was 11-6 with a 3.65 ERA in 130 2/3 innings in 2014, his rookie season. "I always looked up to him and saw him as an idol of mine," Moscatiello said.

He said he doesn't know Stroman well, but loves his mantra and trademarked phrase: "Height doesn't measure heart."

"He eventually made it and is doing a very good job right now," Moscatiello said. "He kind of motivates me and keeps my head in it when I think, 'I'm too small.' I just look at him and think, 'If he can do it, why not me?' "

Ospreys coach Bill Ianniciello said Moscatiello has been effective this season as a reliever and starter. The assistant coach at Adelphi said he tried to recruit Moscatiello out of high school.

He believes his pitcher's strength and preparation between starts compensates for his smaller stature.

"Frank is an intense competitor," Ianniciello said. "He's going to give you good games every time out. It remains to be seen how high his ceiling is, but he's got velocity, a sharp breaking ball, a live arm . . . He's resilient and he's a tough kid. He's got a lot going for him."

This isn't news to Rocky Point coach Andrew Aschettino. He said he has known Moscatiello since he was 7 and the two still keep in touch.

"He always had the arm speed, the arm strength, the desire to get better," he said. "It was a matter of refining his mechanics and he seems to be doing it. He wants to beat you and to beat you bad. That's the mentality you're looking for in a pitcher."

Evoking the words of Stroman, Moscatiello believes his determination and heart will lead to more success.

Said Moscatiello: "It's not the size of the person, it's the size of the heart and how hard you're going to work."

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