Chaminade’s John Downing commands the mound in the CHSAA state finals...

Chaminade’s John Downing commands the mound in the CHSAA state finals at St. John's University on June 11, 2022. Credit: Patrick E. McCarthy

Newsday Player of the Year: John Downing, Chaminade, P, Sr.

Putting John Downing on a pitcher’s mound was about as close to a sure thing as one could come this season. The Chaminade lefthander not only had the best season of any player on Long Island, he was arguably the best player on the best team in all of New York State.

“He was really a surprise last season, not only to [the coaches] but also really to himself,” Chaminade coach Mike Pienkos said. “He came back this year as a better pitcher with better stuff but also with a self-confidence that took him to the next level.”

Downing was 9-1 in 11 starts with a 0.41 ERA, capping the campaign with a one-hitter as Chaminade (25-2) downed city titlist Iona Prep for the state CHSAA championship. The Seton Hall-bound senior is the third Flyer to be selected as Newsday’s All-Long Island Player of the Year and first since Logan Koester in 2019.

In 67 2/3 innings, Downing walked 17 while striking out 109 and held opponents to a .153 batting average.

“My biggest area of improvement was my pitching IQ,” Downing said. “I went into every pitch knowing exactly what I wanted to throw and how to set my pitches up. I felt comfortable throwing any of my four pitches in any situation. And my teammates made me feel like I couldn’t be beaten and that takes you a long way.”

After Downing made the throw to first base for the final out against Iona Prep, his teammates buried him in a dogpile at St. John’s Jack Kaiser Stadium. “We’d had our sights set on that from the start,” he said. “We did it together and there is no beating that.”

Nassau Player of the Year: Dylan Banner, Plainview-Old Bethpage JFK, P/1B/3B, Sr.

Dylan Banner of Plainview-Old Bethpage JFK.

Dylan Banner of Plainview-Old Bethpage JFK. Credit: James Escher

The 6-4 righthander received the Diamond Award as Nassau County’s Pitcher of the Year after going 7-0 with a 0.73 ERA and firing two no-hitters and two one-hitters. He struck out 101 in 47 2/3 innings for the Hawks (18-3) and also hit .475 with seven home runs, 34 RBIs and 28 runs in 21 games. He will play for Albany.

Suffolk Player of the Year: Josh Knoth, Patchogue-Medford, P/OF/DH, Jr.

Patchogue-Medford pitcher Josh Knoth.

Patchogue-Medford pitcher Josh Knoth. Credit: George A Faella

The righthander received the Yastrzemski Award  after posting a 5-2 record – including a 20-strikeout perfect game – with a 0.86 ERA and 93 strikeouts in 40 2/3 innings. Knoth also batted .380 with three home runs and 18 runs scored in 16 games. With a fastball that sits at 92 mph, he has a strong chance of being selected in the 2023 MLB draft.

Clockwise, from left: Brian Chin of Calhoun, Kyle Chase of...

Clockwise, from left: Brian Chin of Calhoun, Kyle Chase of St. John the Baptist, Luke Filippi of Port Jefferrson, JJ Gatti of Chaminade, Sean Hamilton of Rocky Point.

Brian Chin, Calhoun, P/2B, Sr.

To face Calhoun (26-4) this season was like entering a hurricane, and Chin was the eye of that storm. The righthander was 7-3 with 1.94 ERA and 104 strikeouts in 64 2/3 innings as the Colts won the Long Island Class A title and reached the state semifinals. He hit .364 with 32 runs and 28 RBIs. Chin will play at Wentworth Institute of Technology and plans to major in biomedical engineering.

Kyle Chase, St. John the Baptist, P/OF, Sr.

In 11 starts, the righthander was 7-1 with a 0.35 ERA.  In more than 60 innings pitched, he allowed only 21 hits while striking out 102. The 6-2, 205-pounder also played the outfield. He has accepted a scholarship to play at St. John’s.

Luke Filippi, Port Jefferson, P/SS, Sr.

Filippi was the undisputed leader for Port Jefferson (20-5) as the Royals won the Long Island Class C championship. Tabbed for the Silver Slugger Award as Suffolk's top hitter, he had a .750/.850/1.196 slash line with four home runs, 41 RBIs, 32 runs scored and 42 stolen bases. As a pitcher, he was 8-0 with 79 strikeouts. He will play at Albany.

JJ Gatti, Chaminade, P, Sr.

Gatti penned a superlative final stanza on his season by throwing an eight-inning, one-hit shutout against Buffalo St. Joseph’s Collegiate as Chaminade won the semifinal en route to the state title. He finished 7-1 with a save, a 0.51 ERA and 62 strikeouts in 54 2/3 innings pitched. Gatti will play at Dayton.

Sean Hamilton, Rocky Point, P/3B, Sr.

Hamilton  made an impact for the Suffolk Class A champion Eagles (23-3). The righthander was 5-0 with a 1.93 ERA and 72 strikeouts in 47 innings pitched. He also batted .310 with a 1.142 OPS, eight home runs, 21 RBIs and seven stolen bases. Hamilton will play at Hofstra.

Tyree Jackson, Patchogue-Medford, OF, Sr.

Patchogue-Medford senior Tyree Jackson discusses what it's like to be named as one of Newsday's 2022 All-Long Island baseball team members. He credits his success to the support from his coach and family.  Credit: Newsday/J. Conrad Williams Jr.

Raiders coach Anthony Frascogna dubbed Jackson “the best centerfielder we’ve had in my 22 years." Jackson posted a .420/.506/.784 slash line with six home runs, 33 runs scored and 30 stolen bases. As an outfielder, Jackson had 32 putouts and threw out three runners. He will play at Coppin State.

Cody Miller, Rocky Point, SS/P, Sr.

In the Eagles’ run to the Suffolk Class A championship, Miller batted .422 with five home runs, 32 RBIs and 29 runs scored in 26 games. The senior also had 17 extra-base hits and 12 stolen bases. Miller will play at East Tennessee State.

Erik Paulsen, Massapequa, P/1B, Jr.

Paulsen was the standout star as Massapequa (22-3) won its fourth Long Island Class AA championship in six seasons and reached the state semifinals. He was 6-0, had a 1.74 ERA and 46 strikeouts in 40 1/3 innings and opponents batted just .184 against him. He also hit .446 with 30 runs scored and 32 RBIs. He is committed to Stony Brook.

Clockwise, from left: Cody Miller of Rocky Point, Erik Paulsen...

Clockwise, from left: Cody Miller of Rocky Point, Erik Paulsen of Massapequa, Billy Steele of Shoreham-Wading River, Nick Ungania of Chaminade, Joe Yovino of Division.

Billy Steele, Shoreham-Wading River, P/1B, Sr.

The righthander earned the Paul Gibson Award as Suffolk's most outstanding pitcher after going 7-1 with a 0.58 ERA, striking out 83 in 41 2/3 innings and limiting opposing hitters to a .192 batting average. He also hit .374 with a 1.117 OPS and 21 RBIs in 21 games. Steele will play at Army.

Nick Ungania, Chaminade, OF, Sr.

The offensive catalyst for the state CHSAA champion Flyers, the leadoff hitter batted .418 with 30 runs scored and 32 stolen bases in 27 games and played a seamless centerfield. He was named the NSCHSAA Position Player of the Year. He will play at Binghamton.

Joe Yovino, Division, C, Jr.

He helped the Dragons reach a Nassau Class A semifinal series by batting .467 with seven home runs, 30 RBIs and a 1.337 OPS in 26 games. He also had 15 steals and 27 runs scored. Yovino was tabbed for the Diamond Award as Nassau's Position Player of the Year and the Caufield Award as the county’s most outstanding catcher.

Nassau Coach of the Year: Art Canestro, Calhoun

He led the Colts to a 26-4 season. Calhoun shrugged off Game 1 losses to win the best-of-3 series against Division in the Nassau Class A semifinals and Clarke in the championship. Calhoun defeated Rocky Point for its third Long Island title and first since 2012.

Suffolk Coach of the Year: Paul Gibson, Center Moriches

Gibson oversaw one of the more heartening turnarounds of the season. The Red Devils lost to Mattituck on March 18 in the first game of the double-elimination playoffs to stand at 9-10 for the season. They then won three games in the next six days to win the Suffolk Class B championship, then Center Moriches (14-11) won two more to take the Suffolk Conference V crown and the Long Island Class C title, reaching the state quarterfinals.

CHSAA Coach of the Year: Mike Pienkos, Chaminade

Pienkos’ 39th season as Flyers coach may have been his most satisfying. He made the right moves when a pair of Opening Day starters were lost to season-ending injuries to keep Chaminade on course to go 25-2 and capture the inaugural state CHSAA championship.

All-Long Island Second Team

Joe Burriesci, Farmingdale, CF, Jr.: Batted .553 (26-for-47) with 10 walks, 21 runs and 31 steals in 32 attempts. Hit safely in all 15 regular-season games, struck out only five times and was the Nassau Conference AA-I MVP and a Diamond Award nominee. During a six-game stretch vs. Oceanside and Port Washington in April, he went 15-for-19 with 19 steals.

Dom Carbone, Rocky Point, RF/P, Jr.: Was a two-way standout in helping to lead his team to the Suffolk Class A title. Batted .395 with 32 hits, including nine doubles and four homers, 26 RBIs and a 1.127 OPS. The lefty went 5-0 in seven starts, posting a 2.00 ERA, a 1.14 WHIP and a .178 opponent batting average, with 49 strikeouts in 42 innings.

Brady Clark, Bayport-Blue Point, P/DH, Jr.: Went 6-2 with a 0.91 ERA and 71 strikeouts in 54 innings. The right-hander, who has committed to St. John’s, threw a three-hitter with nine Ks in a 3-1 win over Miller Place in the Suffolk Class A Conference IV playoff opener. He also batted .373 average, with 31 hits, 30 RBIs and seven doubles.

Jack Coogan, Long Island Lutheran, CF, Sr.: Was team MVP, the PSAA MVP and PSAA championship MVP. The righty-batting Molloy commit from Commack hit .645 with 33 hits, six homers, 35 RBIs, 13 steals and a .715 OBP.

Jake DesLauriers, Eastport-South Manor, P/INF, Sr.: A Hofstra commit, he went 7-1 with a 1.05 WHIP and a 1.35 ERA. He allowed one unearned run in his last 20 innings. The righty, who had a career 0.97 WHIP and .191 opponent batting average, was the Suffolk League V Pitcher of the Year. When not pitching, he was mostly at short, and He also had a team-high 23 RBIs.

Michael Gatti, Oyster Bay, P/OF, Sr.: Gatti was tabbed as the Class B/C Position Player of the Year by the Nassau coaches. He was 6-1 with a 0.00 ERA (he allowed five unearned runs) and 104 strikeouts in 48 1/3 innings, and held opposing hitters to a .058 batting average. He also hit .352 with 20 runs and 20 stolen bases. He will play for New Haven.

Nick Giardino, Clarke, P/CF, Sr.: Nassau’s wins leader, going 10-1 with one save, a 1.61 ERA, a 0.87 WHIP and 82 strikeouts and 13 walks in 56 2/3 innings. The right-hander, headed to Misericordia, had a perfect game vs. Mineola for 6 1/3 innings. He also batted .408 with an .487 OBP, 14 extra-base hits, including three homers, and 28 RBIs. His 10 wins, 40 hits and 20 steals rank in the top five in program history for a season.

Teagan Graham, Carey, CF, Sr.: The Nassau Conference A-II offensive MVP batted .500 with a 1.407 OPS, four homers, 34 RBIs, 34 hits and 32 runs. First player in program history with at least 30 RBIs, 30 hits and 30 runs in a season.

Richie Heyder, Sachem East, OF, Sr.:  He hit .500 with four homers and 30 RBIs, had 17 walks, and 17 stolen bases. He will play at NJIT.

Tyler Kregeloh, Plainedge, P, Sr.: Was 5-2 with a 1.09 ERA and a 0.88 WHIP. Had a five-hit shutout against Clarke and a one-hit shutout against Wantagh.

Brendan McCann, Kellenberg, P/CF, Sr.: McCann went 6-1 with a 1.60 ERA and 51 strikeouts in 36 2/3 innings. The lefty from Plainview also hit .358 with an .461 OBP, 10 RBI and 10 steals in 10 tries. He'll play at Pace.

Chris McHugh, Commack, SS, Jr.: McHugh posted a slash line of .387/.477/.663 while helping Commack claim the Suffolk AA title. The VCU commit had 16 extra-base hits — nine doubles, three triples and four homers — drove in 29 runs, scored 30 and drew 14 walks.

Drew Munn, Cold Spring Harbor, 1B/P, Sr.: Munn led Long Island with 10 homers. , believed to be the program’s single-season record. He hit .521 with 27 RBI, a .641 OBP and a 1.146 slugging percentage. Three of the homers and six of the RBI came in one game against Wheatley. He also can reach 94 mph and is committed to Central Connecticut State. The righty was 4-1 with a 0.61 ERA, a 0.85 WHIP and 74 strikeouts in 34 innings, including 17 Ks in a game vs. East Rockaway.

Paul Napolitano, Kellenberg, INF/OF, Jr.: The speedy leadoff hitter and centerfielder batted .321 with 29 hits and a .376 OBP, helping Kellenberg reach Game 3 of the NSCHSAA championship series. He is committed to D-I High Point.

Nolan Nawrocki, Chaminade, SS, Sr.: Batted .378 with 27 RBIs and 15 steals for the state CHSAA champion Flyers.

Nick Oelcher, Sachem East, SS, Sr.: Had 12 doubles, two triples and four home runs, batting  .469 with 34 runs. He will play at St. Thomas Aquinas College.

Joe Patane Jr., Commack, 1B/P, Sr.: Had .351 BA, .422 OBP, .553 SLG., four homers and 20 RBIs. The righthander, who has committed to Queens, also went 2-0 with a 2.50 ERA and a .187 opponent batting average.

Jack Quinlan, Sayville, C, Sr.: Hit .460 BA nine doubles and two homers, 20 RBIs, 30 runs and a .609 OBP. The right-handed-hitting Army commit was the Suffolk League VI MVP and the county’s Gold Glove winner for catchers.

Jack Vallario, St. Anthony’s, SS, Sr.: Hit .421 with a .511 OBP, 1.274 OPS, 14 extra base hits and 11 steals; he also had a 1.000 fielding percentage in 80 chances.

Sean Welsh, Clarke, SS/P, Sr.: Welsh, a Molloy commit, placed in the top five in program history in hits (46, second), steals (26, third) and average (.489, fifth) in a season. He had 14 doubles, four triples, five homers, 32 RBIs and a 1.452 OPS. Was 6-2 with a 1.79 ERA.

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