HF Baseball '19 Preview
When you normally think of Harborfields sports, most people either instantly think of basketball or lacrosse. If you fall under this vast majority, it may be time to change your mindset. Cue in the 2019 Harborfields Tornadoes baseball team, who are a vibrant, exciting, young group of guys who know what it takes to win ball-games.
Led by Head Coach Casey Sturm, the Tornadoes have a fire lit under them that is perhaps brighter than it’s been in a long, long time. Last year, the Tornadoes were good enough to prove many doubters wrong and make the playoffs, despite a lineup centered around mostly underclassmen. However, they did not do much after that, as they were knocked out by E. Islip in Round 1 of the 2018 Suffolk County Playoffs.
Fast forward to this year, and it is easy to understand why there may be some question marks. Coach Sturm can’t rely on the likes of last years seniors such as Gavin Buda, Jordany Mendez, James Cameron, and many more. Buda, in particular, is a hole that will be especially difficult to fill. Yet, the Tornadoes believe they have the solution to that in Jack Greco. A current junior, Greco has put up eye-popping stats at the varsity level for two years now. The scary thing about Greco is that he is just of good a pitcher as he is a hitter, if not better. And you can bet that coach Sturm is thrilled to have him be the focal point of this team for two more years.
As for last year’s heavy underclassmen contributors, they are here to stay. Ryan Steel, Matt Torres, and Sean Keys are all guys who fit the bill perfectly to what Coach Sturm is looking to do- play smart, scrappy, heads-up baseball. Sturm has always been a huge advocate of the little things such as getting on base, causing havoc on the basepaths, making minimal defensive mistakes, and not walking batters.. Coach said to “expect even more of that this year”.
The starting pitching is where HF may run into a bit of trouble in 2019. Greco is the ace, but after that, it’s anyone’s game for the two, three, and four spots in the rotation. However, there is no shortage of arms. Sturm told me that “This year is interesting… last year we only had about 6 guys we felt confident in. Now we have around 9.” Among those are sophomores Chris Miranda (last year’s closer), first year varsity players Evan Lauda, Alex Kropp, and lefty specialist Corey Phelan. Sturm followed up by saying while some are unproven yet at the varsity level, and there is still much to be figured out, he feels confident with whoever may be on the mound.
April 9th is the day circled on the calendar right now. Opening day is the game that HF has had their sights set on ever since last year’s disappointing exit. The Tornadoes believe they have the pieces in play to make a serious run at a league title. Only time will tell.