Chaminade baseball had talent, hunger to win first state title

It started in early March when the users of the Chaminade baseball staff confirmed up at Yard City Group Park with snow shovels. It ended with people very same Flyers in a dogpile at the rear of the pitcher’s mound at St. John’s Jack Kaiser Stadium, celebrating the inaugural Catholic point out championship.

In between, Chaminade put collectively a truly particular year, filled with fantastic pitching and protection, well timed hitting and smart engage in. The Flyers – with more than 10 Division I scholarship commits – went 25-2, suffering only a pair of just one-operate losses.

Chaminade led the Extended Island CHSAA from start to finish and conquer Kellenberg in a three-game championship collection for their 20th Diocesan crown. It capped the year by successful a condition semifinal in excess of Buffalo St. Joseph’s Collegiate and the state title game about Iona Prep with just one-strike shutouts in every single.

“It’s the most effective group I’ve ever had,” explained Chaminade mentor Mike Pienkos, in his 39th yr with the program. “We experienced it all: great defense, fantastic setting up pitching and, even though we did not knock the walls down with our bats, plenty of hitting when it mattered most.

“They arrived with a ton of buzz, but they lived up to that buzz.”

Probably the most important issue all-around the Flyers as they embarked on the 2022 time experienced to do with urge for food. They’d won the very last two Extended Island Catholic titles that ended up played, in 2019 and 2021, and returned most of the crucial players from that ’21 team.  But was this selection of gamers – quite a few with their futures set – hungry plenty of to acquire it all again?

“If anyone believed we have been heading to coastline on talent or go in with a ‘been-there-carried out-that’ [attitude], all they desired to see was us with the shovels in March – we could not wait around to get started hitting and pitching,” Chaminade ace lefthander John Downing claimed. “We may possibly have been the most-proficient crew, but we had been also the hungriest. While other teams were being imagining about winning Lengthy Island, we experienced a chance to be the very first state champions and that gave a good deal of motivation.”

Downing supplied the last cadence on an excellent pitching time for the Flyers when he fielded the last batted ball guiding the mound and threw to 1st for the closing out of a 3- get above Iona Prep in the state title activity. The Chaminade pitching staff members – with a rotation of Seton Corridor-sure Downing and righties JJ Gatti (Dayton) and Andrew Heiderstadt (SUNY Maritime) – threw 13 shutouts, posted an aggregate .74 Era across 181 innings and gave up just 99 hits even though placing out 251. It posted 13 shutouts.

Downing went 9-1 in 11 starts off with an .41 Era, Gatti was 7-1 with a save and an .51 Era and Heiderstadt was 4- with a 1.38 Period.

The offense held up its finish with standout seasons from centerfielder Nick Ungania and shortstop Nolan Nawrocki. Binghamton commit Ungania may well have been below-the-radar a year ago but broke out to strike .418 with 30 operates scored and 32 stolen bases to grow to be the Prolonged Island CHSAA Player of the Calendar year. The Michigan-certain Nawrocki hit .378 with 12 further-foundation hits and 27 RBIs, which include driving in the profitable runs in both of those state tournament online games.

“I realized that Nick had this year in him,” Nawrocki stated. “We’ve all witnessed it coming. What a stud.”

And the glue for it all was the protection. Close to the infield the Flyers had 3rd baseman Mike Sweeney, Nawrocki, 2nd baseman Brady Steinert and first baseman Mike Dieguez. All of them had been recruited to Division I universities to participate in shortstop. With Ungania in heart and catcher Brian Heckleman, Chaminade did not beat alone.

No group would make it by way of a year with no working with some adversity. Opening Day starters Michael Cervoni (3rd base) and Vincent Roman (leftfield) were felled by back and foot injuries respectively. Pienkos was in a position to access into a deep roster, locate Evan Baschnagel and Aiden Katzman for corner outfield places and shuffle other individuals to fill holes.

“To have a season like this, fellas have to appear up huge when termed on,” Pienkos reported. “Our fellas did and that is what manufactured us a condition champion.”


CHSAA Long Island Quarterfinal

Def. St. John the Baptist, 1-

CHSAA Extended Island Semifinal

Def. St. Anthony’s, 11-

CHSAA Long Island Championship Collection (Gained 2-1)

Misplaced to Kellenberg, 4-3

Def. Kellenberg, 8-1

Def. Kellenberg, 5-1

CHSAA Point out Semifinal

Def. Buffalo St. Joseph’s Collegiate, 1- (8 inn.)

CHSAA Point out Championship

Def. Iona Prep, 3-

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