Huntington High School will field a relatively young varsity baseball team this spring, but the Blue Devils are nevertheless optimistic that it will be a winning campaign.
The team is captained by junior Elian Pimental and seniors Luke Eidle and Will Vollack. Veteran varsity players set to return also include Ethan Copp, Justin Italiano, Michael Marziliano and Jason Mora. Several members of last year’s JV team are expected to get a promotion to the varsity and as many as five freshmen could make the squad.
“I think we are looking promising,” Pimental said. “We are a little younger this year with only seven varsity players returning. We are looking to have a couple more freshmen than normal play up this year and they will play key roles pitching and hitting.”
Pimental will himself have prominent roles to play in the field, at the plate and on the mound. “I will also be trying to show some of the younger guys the ropes,” he said. “A focus the captains are trying to have this year is staying positive and staying together. We do believe that we can make a run at the playoffs. We want to win.”
The Blue Devils compiled a 4-16 mark and finished sixth in the league standings last spring. It was the best record for a Huntington varsity baseball team in three seasons.
“The team is looking pretty good this year,” Vollack said. “We have some returning talent, such as our starting pitcher Luke Eidle, our starting third baseman Elian Pimental and Ethan Copp, our versatile utility player. These players are great leaders who are helping the underclassmen get acquainted with varsity and junior varsity athletics. Although the season has not started yet, it has been clear through the winter workouts that players are stepping up and competing for positions that were left vacant after the majority of our team graduated last year. If we can keep the intensity up, which won’t be a problem with our experienced and intense coaches, this could be a turnaround season for Huntington baseball.”
Vollack batted.286 with 16 hits, including six doubles and a homerun as a junior. He drove in six runs and scored 11 runs. Pimental batted .268 with 11 hits, including two doubles as a sophomore. He drove in seven runs and had a .371 on base percentage.
One of the team’s top pitchers last spring, Eidle appears set for a sensational senior year. “We are a young team this year, being that we only have a handful of returning varsity players,” he said. “But I’d say there’s a good outlook for the team in the future.”
Billy Harris is returning as the team’s third year head coach. A 1988 graduate of Huntington High School, he studied at SUNY Cortland for two years before earning an associate’s degree at SUNY Farmingdale. He went on to study at SUNY Stony Brook before joining the New York City Fire Department, where he has worked since 1998.
Harris played offensive and defensive tackle for the Blue Devil varsity football team and was a catcher with the Huntington varsity baseball team during his scholastic career. He has played on and been a coach with the FDNY football and baseball teams.
Harris started coaching baseball at J. Taylor Finley Middle School in 2010 and served as the Falcons head coach since 2013 before being named varsity head coach for the 2016 season. He has also coached in the Huntington football program since 2010.