The J. Taylor Finley Middle School baseball team utilized powerful hitting and sharp pitching to compile a 7-2 record this spring.
Coached by Paul Caleca, the 25-player Falcon roster featured some very talented seventh and eighth graders. Finley defeated West Islip Beach (5-2), Elwood (7-0 and 9-0), East Northport (9-1), Oldfield (5-2), West Islip Udall (15-0) and Stimson (9-0). The team dropped games to Hauppauge (6-3) and Northport (10-1).
The Falcons were paced by eighth graders Chris Segreti, Alexander Bellissimo, Kyle Colleluori and Aidan Bender. Finley enjoyed remarkable depth and roster versatility. It’s rare that any middle school team could fill every position with a strong player.
“We had an excellent group of boys, on and off the field,” Caleca said. The squad included 17 eighth graders and eight seventh graders, who will form the core of next spring’s team.
Segreti, who can play any position on the field, led all batters with a stratospheric average of .636. He also drove in 10 runs. “Chris was our best all-around player,” Caleca said.
Bellissimo shined at shortstop and batted .478 with nine runs scored and five runs batted in. Bender batted .476 with nine RBIs. “Aidan was our most improved player,” Caleca said.
Bellissimo, Segreti, Colleluori and Robby Harrington served as the team’s captains. “Bellissimo is a great shortstop; he’s fearless and he can make every play,” Caleca said. “When he tried out as a seventh grader he was afraid he wasn’t going to make the team, but not only did he make it, he has played almost every inning, became one of the best captain’s I’ve ever had and batted over .400 this year.”
Colleluori was splendid on the hill, not yielding an earned run all spring. “We wanted to be 10-0, but we’ll settle for 7-2,” Caleca said. (One game was rained out and not rescheduled.)
Caleca said “there’s a very good chance” that several of the current eighth graders could win spots on the varsity team next year and play all four years of high school on varsity.
The roster also included seventh graders Adrian Angueira, Robert Brown, John Chirico, Kevin Drake, Theodore Gress, Michael Heinisch, Emanuel Mejia and Dylan Schnitzer and eighth graders William Brandine, Frank Chirico, Matthew Colavecchio, Justin D’Ambrisi, Alex Gonzalez, Zachary Gordon, Kyle Green, Jaden Italiano, Joseph Nicotra, Palmer O’Beirne, Miles Tierney and Harrison Zas.
“It’s important for me to emphasize that yes, I had some very talented ballplayers, but it was a team effort,” Caleca said. “Everyone contributed.”