Pitching, defense, a tight infield and versatility have been the key ingredients for the success of the varsity baseball team at Xaverian High School. In addition, as Varsity Head Coach Dennis Canale puts it, the success is based on the camaraderie of the team.
One of the players who is trying to impress college recruiters and earn a scholarship to a major college is Matt Troisi, who happens to be a two-sports athlete, as he puts on a basketball uniform during the winter and switches to baseball in the spring.
Troisi, an all-Brooklyn selection for the hoop sport as chosen by the Courier-Life Publications, is leading the baseball team in offense and pitching. When he doesn’t go to the mound he goes to first base for a team that entered the week with a 12-1 overall record, including 10-1 in league competition.
“Troisi will be going to Manhattan College or St. John’s University on scholarship,” Canale said after a 5-3 victory over Msgr. McClancy of Queens, thus avenging their only Catholic High Schools Athletic Association loss to them, at press time.
“He’s a big left handed pitcher. In college he’ll develop into a very draftable player. He’s 6’4” and throws a heck of a baseball in the upper 80s, but he still has a lot of growing to do from what I can see.”
During the winter he played on a very successful basketball squad even though they didn’t win a championship. However, the baseball team has a chance to go all the way.
At the basketball team dinner at the end of the season, Troisi received a special award, symbolizing character and how he handled himself on and off the court.
Right now his mind is off basketball as he is concentrating on baseball.
“In college I know that I’ll play baseball, but I still may go out for basketball,” said Troisi. “I don’t know. I want to concentrate on one sport. I’m not worried about the draft, for I’m worried about college.”
A four-year player at the Bay Ridge based high school, the pitcher is completing his second year on the varsity.
“In every game I play hard and I’m more determined this year (than I was last year),” said Troisi. “I’ve been pitching and playing first base for four years here.”
Troisi’s best game came against league rival Archbishop Molloy when he went four for four at the plate, including hitting a grand slam home run and in the process driving home eight runs.
“In that game we all clicked,” the resident of Marine Park said. “Molloy always has been a tough opponent. We came out and played. Everybody has been playing together and we have a good chance of [winning the title]. We have good team chemistry.”
Before coming to Xaverian, Troisi played with the St. Colomba Parish in Catholic Youth Organization competition.
“We have to continue to play well and have a strong team,” said junior right fielder Anthony Hajjar, who hit an inside-the-park home run at McClancy for his first such four-bagger this season. “It feels great as I hit the ball well.”
The resident of Windsor Park grew up playing in the Parkville Little League which helped him to play high school ball.
Canale and his staff certainly helped their players develop for the next step in their playing stages during their young career. The coaches prefer their students to make college as their next step in their progression up the ladder.
“The coaches helped me build up my confidence,” Troisi said.
“The coaches have been great,” Hajjar added. “Everyone is always out to help us.”
“Pitching and defense have been the success of this team and that’s all we’ve been doing,” summed up center fielder A.J. Passione, who broke out of a slump with two hits in the second McClancy game.”
“We play well-rounded ball,” Canale concluded. “Out goal is, one, to be the Brooklyn-Queens Diocesean champion, and finish first, and then [second] go into the Intersectional playoffs where we know there will be a lot of tough competition out there.”