Softball and baseball swing into a new season

Zach Lustbader, Staff Writer

Not only do the flowers blooming mean spring has sprung, but it also means that baseball season has begun!  The Vikings, who lost in the playoffs last year, have very high expectations for themselves as they look to go further than they have ever gone before.

With new players, returning seniors and juniors, great overall atmosphere, and high expectations, it seems as though this season could be a season to remember.  The team looks to build off of an impressive season last year, which sadly ended with a loss in the playoffs.

    Coming off of an amazing season, the Vikings attempted to keep the momentum rolling throughout the playoffs.  However, this momentum fell short after a devastating loss to Plainview that sent the team home earlier than they had hoped.

During the offseason, the team worked to improve through consistent winter workouts.  Both junior varsity and varsity players were in attendance, and, for those few months, the atmosphere became enthusiastic yet again.

Thanks to the help of the Parisi Strength and Conditioning trainers, the players used the off season to get into shape.  Additionally, the coaches put in significant time and effort to make sure each and every player would be ready to compete in the Spring.

As the junior varsity and varsity teams were finalized, the practices and scrimmages began and the season was underway.

Being that this is their final year as a member of the Vikings, the seniors knew that it was their duty to lead this team to new heights throughout the season.  Fortunately, if any seniors can get them there, it is this year’s group.

Trinity College Baseball-commit senior Alex Chang, red hot off of a stellar 2018 campaign, batted a whopping .373 at the plate.  However, his talent does not end there.

As much as he was a threat at the plate, Chang was also an outstanding pitcher.  Going 4-1 with a 3.21 earned run average, Chang struck out 62 batters in 37 innings.

Another senior looking to make a difference this year is Aaron Klug.  Klug was an absolute success at the plate, and batted a .397 with 19 runs last season.

Both Chang and Klug made Newsday’s Top 100 Long Island Baseball Players for 2019.  However, that’s just the beginning for this senior class.

Accompanying them are seniors Jackson Trenamen, Nick Esposito, Jared Scharlat, Harris Sonnenklar, James Lubanski, Thomas Burrows, and Adam Jackman.  All these players know what it was like to lose in the playoffs last year, so they will do everything they can to make sure that it does not happen again this year.

In addition to the seniors, there are some new players that have joined the team.  Sophomores Dylan Trenaman, Chris Chang, Christian Schwirzbin, Chris Caprariello, and Jake Spiryda look to add some new talent and much needed depth to the roster.  They will be put to the ultimate test this season as they make their transition from Junior Varsity to Varsity.

“Practices are a lot more intense, and although both teams are quite competitive, there is a different atmosphere in the dugout on Varsity,” said sophomore Jake Spiryda.  “Everyone is all in, and I can not wait to see how we play and I am very excited to show what I am capable of in my first season as Varsity Viking.”    

This new energy and talent being brought to the team should help to improve the team, and push them over the hump of winning a county championship.

All of this hard work eventually led up to the opening day.  Port played North Shore in the first game of the season.  Led by a Sean Meth’s opposite field home run, Port defeated North Shore 12-7.

Coming off an opening day win, Port went on to dominate Freeport in their second game, beating them by a score of 9-2, thanks to a Jackson Sattinger home run in the bottom of the fifth inning.

However, the undefeated run ended when Port lost in a hard fought battle with Clarke, where they lost 5-3.

Although they lost the next game against Plainview 3-0, they bounced back and won the next two games in the Plainview series.

The team looks to keep the momentum going as they head into the annual fundraising event at the turf: “Coaches vs Cancer.”  This charity event raises money for cancer research, while people come and root for the Vikings against Mineola.

This game always brings the community together, where there will be food, laughs, money raised for a good cause, and, ultimately, a ball game to be played.

The Vikings are 3-2, and they look to keep this winning record alive for the remainder of their lengthy season.  Coaches Matthew Holzer and Phil Spotteck have generated an amazing system of talent and hunger for a spot on the team.

“We are taking the season game by game and trying to enjoy every moment together.  I am very optimistic about this upcoming season, and it looks very promising that through our hard work and dedication, we will surpass where we reached last year,” said senior Chang.

Through this response, it is quite obvious to see that the Vikings are ready to go for this new season, and optimistic when it comes to how it will end for them.  From the newly-added sophomores to the experienced seniors, this team is stacked with talent and will be a force in their conference this year.

    In addition to the varsity baseball team, the girls varsity softball team has kicked off its season and is looking to improve from last year.  Last year was an excellent year for the girls, who finished with a winning record and winning a playoff game.

Many new players were added to the team.  Although the team looks quite different from last year, the same energy and positive atmosphere still exists.

“The team has faced a lot of challenges that we have had to overcome.  For starters, last season we were without a Junior Varsity team, and, therefore, we had an extremely young group of players last season,” said sophomore varsity softball player Aphrodite Dimopoulos.

The two graduated students, catcher Nina Bullaro and current Fairfield softball player Ashlynn Gallagher were essential assets to the team last year, so losing them was a big blow for this young, new team.

Unfortunately, the girls have had a rocky start and are currently 0-4 for their first four games.  However, shortstop and South Carolina softball commit junior Maddy Gallagher has been a bright spot, homering in all 3 of their first league games.

Pitchers junior Lois Chu and freshman Kaitlyn Esposito have taken on their roles and have looked promising of their first few games.

Additionally, March 20, the girls defeated Manhasset 10 – 0, and beat Mineola on March 26 by a score of 26-0. Recently, on April 12, the girls blew out Plainview Old-Bethpage by a score of 10-3. Hopefully, this blowout victory will help Port get back on track and back to their winning ways.

It seems that the excitement for what is to come of this season has the whole team ready to go and aiming to make a run in the playoffs this year.  The team’s great accomplishments last year seem to only be the beginning for what is to come for this program.

Overall, it looks like both the baseball and softball teams is capable of having unforgettable seasons this year.  With new teammates, higher expectations than ever before, and motivation from last season’s playoff losses, the Port Baseball and Softball teams are ready for what is ahead.