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Suffolk League III baseball preview

Smithtown East's Shawn Kelly dives for a catch

Smithtown East's Shawn Kelly dives for a catch but misses during Game 2 of their SuffolkClass AA semifinal against Connetquot at Smithtown East High School on Wednesday, May 27, 2015. Credit: Barry Sloan


Coach: Bill Bennett

2015 Record: 1-17

Key players

Thorin Sanchez, CF, 6-0, 160, Sr.

Josh Lester: C, 5-10, 160, So.

Javier Benitez, P, 6-1, 165, Jr.

Eddie Vargas, SS/P, 5-8, 150, So.

Vinny Ruggiero, 3B, 5-8, 155, Jr.

Outlook: Hard-throwing lefty Franklin Parra, a sophomore transfer from Lindenhurst, is expected to anchor a rotation also featuring Benitez. Sanchez will impact the game on both offense and defense.


Coach: Tim Belz

2015 Record: 15-8

Key players

Mike Palazzolo, SS, 6-2, 170, Jr.

Matt Hogan, OF/P, 6-1, 195, So.

Patch Dooley, P/OF, 6-0, 180, Jr.

James Ceparano, 2B, 5-10, 180, Sr.

Zack DeCicco, P, 5-11, 200, Jr.

Outlook: A deep pitching staff will keep Hills East near the top of League III. The Thunderbirds lost three extra-innings games to Smithtown East last season by a combined three runs, and more experience could help them win the close contests.


Coach: Eric Joyner

2015 Record: 8-11

Key players

Ryan Acevedo, P, 6-4, 180, Sr.

Kyle Wappaus, C, 5-10, 185, Sr.

Bobby Vath, P, 5-11, 170, So.

Kyle Johnson, SS/P, 5-10, 170, So.

Marc Maurelli, CF, 5-9, 160, Jr.

Outlook: Acevedo, DeSena and Johnson will be leaders on the mound. Maurelli, a lefty hitter with speed, will be an asset at the top of the lineup. Junior Matt Schmidt is expected to DH and hit in the middle of the order.


Coach: Rob Maccone

2015 Record: 12-9

Key players

Joe Cunningham, P/OF, 5-9, 140, Sr.

D.J. Chandler, P/OF/1B, 6-2, 180, So.

Zach Giannuzzi, C/OF, 5-9, 200, Sr.

Scott Thompson, P/1B, 5-10, 160, So.

Mike McCormick, P/INF, 6-1, 200, Sr.

Outlook: The goal is to make playoffs, and newcomers Ryan Lull, Tommy Powers and Justin Clement are expected to contribute.


Coach: Ken Klee

2015 Record: 20-4

Key players

Shawn Kelly, CF, 5-9, 140, Sr.

Ryan Kuskowski, C, 6-2, 215, Sr.

John Marti, 3B, 5-11, 175, Sr.

Nick Rizzo, 2B/P, 5-9, 160, Sr.

Mike Ruggerio, SS/P, 5-11, 165, Jr.

Outlook: Arguably the top team in League III, Smithtown East has three players committed to playing in college – Kelly (SUNY Cortland), Kuskowski (NYIT) and Marti (Lafayette).


Coach: Al Nucci

2015 Record: 17-6

Key players

Nick Grande, SS/P, 5-11, 170, Sr.

Nick Trabacchi, 2B/P, 5-10, 175, Jr.

Jake Torres, CF, 5-8, 160, Jr.

Anthony Amato, 1B/P, 6-3, 175, Jr.

Mike Zito, LF/P, 5-10, 175, Sr.

Outlook: The entire starting rotation will look different than it did last season. Grande, Trabacchi and Torres have big expectations.

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