Centerfielder Nick LoMonaco could go left, right, back or in on balls with ease whenever one was hit his way. But, then, the adjustment started. The Floyd senior needed to make sure he was in position to make a strong throw — something that would cause him occasional difficulty as an underclassman.
That all changed this year. LoMonaco worked hard on strengthening his throwing arm and, once he got there, became the complete centerfielder that he always knew he could be.
“I was able to hit the [cutoff man] better and throw through bases,” he said. “I’m really aggressive going after the ball. I cut balls off, hold people to singles, and just get the ball in really quick.”
LoMonaco received one of the four Suffolk Police Athletic League outfield Gold Glove awards at the Suffolk Baseball Coaches Association awards banquet Monday night at Villa Lombardi’s in Holbrook.
“I was just a quick, fast guy and my arm wasn’t really good,” he said. “I would be able to get to the ball, but then I would throw a weak throw in. This year, I wanted to get my arm stronger to complete [my game] in the outfield.”
It didn’t take a gold glove for people to take notice of just how good LoMonaco had become. That happened long before.
“He did work a lot on long tossing this year, just trying to get [his arm] stronger,” Floyd coach Keith Kobasiuk said. “As far as tracking fly balls down, I don’t think I ever saw anybody do it better than he did. Just his ability to read a fly ball off the bat and go get it. He really became a complete centerfielder.”
LoMonaco joined Rocky Point’s Trey Miller, Sachem East’s Roman Dorosh, and Smithtown West’s Christian Amoruso as the other outfield Gold Glove recipients.
“I was definitely good at tracking balls,” said Amoruso, who moved from middle infield to centerfield before his sophomore season. “My prep-step improved a lot from my junior year . . . I got a little quicker and I felt better diving for balls, more comfortable laying out.”
When it came to his first step, he tried not to think too much
“I just let my natural abilities take over and went to where the ball was hit,” Amoruso said. “I didn’t stop to look at it. Once it was hit, I just ran to it.”
Center Moriches pitcher Matt Alifano and catcher Alec Maag, North Babylon first baseman Brian Primm, Sayville second baseman Jack Davis, Floyd third baseman Thomas Verga, Mount Sinai shortstop TJ Werner, and Whitman shortstop Zeke Clase also received Gold Gloves at their positions.
Connetquot’s Joe Zimmerman and Sachem East’s Joe Stefanelli won the Ray Nelson/St. Charles Orthopedic Courage Awards.