The story of the New York City baseball season was Huguenot, the neighborhood on the South Side of Staten Island, home of the CHSAA champ St. Joseph by the Sea and PSAL titleholderTottenville.
It is also home to our Player of the Year, Sea pitcher Nick Pavia, who helped guide the Vikings to their first-ever title. The Bronx was typically fearsome, and Adam Droz, our Coach of the Year, led Lehman out of the borough and to the city final as the eighth seed in the PSAL Class A playoffs.
The city also had six players drafted, including George Washington shortstop Mike Antonio, taken in the third round by the Kansas City Royals the highest player selected from the five boroughs out of high school since Tottenville’s Jason Marquis in 1996.
Player of the Year: Nick Pavia,
St. Joseph by the Sea
The legend was born two years ago, when Nick Pavia allowed just two infield hits in a playoff shutout of All Hallows as a sophomore. It grew as a junior, when the right-hander tossed a pair of two-hitters. Pavia went a step further this year, leading St. Joseph by the Sea to its first-ever CHSAA Class A intersectional title.
Big Game Nicky indeed.
The Vikings had supreme confidence with the Wagner-bound right-hander on the mound, and for good reason. He was 6-2 and posted a 1.35 earned run average with 82 strikeouts in 69-1/3 innings.
“When he throws strikes, we win,” St. Joe’s coach Gordon Rugg said. “When he throws up to his potential, we win. He usually finishes what he starts.”
Pavia, also a starter on the Sea basketball team, wasn’t just one of the top pitchers around. He also batted third near the top of the Sea lineup, belting a clutch triple against Iona Prep in the opening round of the playoffs.
Coach of the Year:
Adam Droz, Lehman
The Lions suffered their share of heartbreaking losses, one-run setbacks to Morris and Clinton, and a devastating defeat to Madison in Game 2 of the PSAL Class A baseball semifinals. After each loss, however, they responded, playing crisp, mistake-free baseball.
The intense, take-no-prisoners Droz deserves plenty of credit for that, leading Lehman, the eighth seed, to its first PSAL Class A baseball title game in eight years. He treated his players like men, allowing them to make mistakes on their own, and they acted accordingly.
His supposed ace, Laurence Marsach, was never right, so he went with Tyler Gurman, who nicely filled the void. He wasn’t afraid to plug in juniors Angel Zapata and Jonathan Pagan atop the lineup, and the two performed superbly. When one of his starters was struggling midway through the season, he gave Julio Velazquez the opportunity, and the senior excelled.
Lehman failed to win the school’s first baseball title game, falling to Tottenville, 1-0, in 10 innings, but the Lions put forth a memorable performance. Droz left the MCU Park in Coney Island proud that day.
“It’s gotta go down as one of the best games I’ve been involved with,” he said.
ALL-CITY FIRST TEAM
SS Wander Almonte,
Meet the next pro prospect to come out of Monroe, a power-hitting shortstop with plenty of range and a cannon for a right arm. Only a sophomore, the Dominican Republic native put together a solid regular season followed up by a phenomenal postseason, driving in 29 runs altogether – eight in the playoffs – batting .605, blasting three home runs, and scoring 23 runs.
P Jonathan Bobea,
Arguably the best pitcher in the city, Bobea was lights out for Francis Lewis, winning with little support. Taken by the Anaheim Angels in the 19th round of the MLB First-Year Player Draft, Bobea put up startlingly miniscule numbers: 81 strikeouts in 42-1/3 innings pitched, a 7-2 record and two earned runs allowed. His finest moment came in Francis Lewis’ second round PSAL Class A playoff loss to George Washington, when Bobea shutdown one of the city’s top lineups, giving up just one unearned run on two hits, and striking out 11.
P Stephen Bove,
Bove took a backseat to Kasceim Graham last year on the Ford staff, but this year the hard-throwing righty anchored the staff, going 10-4 overall with a 0.86 ERA. The Adelphi-bound senior also hit .346 and scored 32 runs for the potent Falcons.
P Chris Bates,
The 6-foot-5 left-hander went from relative unknown to the first player in Regis history to be drafted, selected in the 15th round by the Milwaukee Brewers. If he doesn’t sign, Bates, who had a 9:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio, will head to the University of Richmond on a full scholarship.
P Richie Carbone,
He almost singlehandedly pitched Poly Prep to its fourth straight Ivy League crown, tossing four shutouts, picking up eight victories and allowing nine earned runs and six walks in 50-1/3 innings. The Johns Hopkins-bound left-hander also beat George Washington and Tottenville, non-league victories that put the Blue Devils on the map among the city’s finest.
P Ricky Eusebio,
One of the best big-game pitchers in the city, Eusebio helped lead St. Raymond to its first division title since 1995. The unsigned senior right-hander has a fastball that touched 90, a solid curveball and a ton of confidence.
1B Esteban Gomez,
He was one of the most feared hitters in the CHSAA coming into the season and the senior first baseman didn’t disappoint. Gomez, who was drafted by the Houston Astros in the 35th round, batted .412 with a team-high 42 hits, 12 doubles and 38 runs scored, while walking 26 times.
OF Zach Granite,
If he wasn’t cutting off extra-base hits in center field, the Seton Hall-bound senior was creating runs with his speed on the base paths – 32 this season – or igniting rallies with his bat. Had Tottenville needed him, he could’ve also been one of the Pirates’ top starters as Granite beat powerhouse George Washington twice, including the pivotal opener of the best-of-three PSAL Class A semifinal series.
P/OF Tyler Gurman,
Lehman’s top pitcher and ace left-hander, Gurman led the Lions to their first PSAL Class A title game appearance in eight years. He beat Monroe on the mound in the quarterfinals, threw the clinching game against Madison in the semifinals, and was the hard-luck loser in the title game, going nine-plus innings in defeat. The clutch unsigned senior was just as dynamic at the plate, bashing three home runs, driving in 28 runs and hitting .419.
P Jon Silva,
Poised, determined, and tough, Silva was at his best when the situation called for brilliance. The hard-throwing Pace University-bound southpaw no-hit rival McKee/Staten Island the last week of the regular season and tossed 10 brilliant shutout innings while striking out 10 in the classic 1-0 city final victory over Lehman.
ALL-CITY SECOND TEAM
SS Mike Antonio, George Washington
Grounded, talented, and loaded with upside, the sky’s the limit for Mike Antonio. The city’s highest draft pick since Tottenville’s Jason Marquis in 1996, Antonio was taken by the Kansas City Royals in the third round (86th overall) of the MLB First-Year Player Draft. He batted .500 with 31 runs scored and 19 RBIs, leading the Trojans to their 26th division title in 27 years, and the PSAL Class A semifinals.
SS J.J. Franco, Poly Prep
Franco’s remarkable four-year varsity career ended with a bang, the standout shortstop, leadoff hitter, and right-hander leading the Blue Devils to their fourth straight Ivy League crown. Franco, who was drafted in the 42nd round of the MLB First-Year Player Draft by the New York Mets, his father’s old team, batted .470 with 35 runs scored, 11 extra-base hits, 13 RBIs, and committed just two errors at shortstop.
OF Melvin Garcia, Monroe
The 6-foot speedster is already a pro, having signed with the Toronto Blue Jays. He has plenty of potential, a quick bat, howitzer for an arm, and covers plenty of ground in the outfield. His senior year at Monroe was splendid; Garcia scored 28 runs, batted .456, and drilled three home runs.
C Kevin Krause, Tottenville
The Pirates’ lineup was loaded and the pitching staff deep, but the maturity and development of Krause was integral to Tottenville’s championship season. Only a junior, the cleanup hitter batted .465, drove in 24 runs, had 12 extra-base hits, and scored 33 runs.
P Rob Maguire, Xavier
Under the radar before the start of the season, everybody knew Maguire by the end of the year. The Sacred Heart-bound senior right-hander was a bulldog, going 8-2 with a 1.10 ERA, a big reason Xavier played in its first-ever CHSAA Class A intersectional title game.
C Matt Molbury, Bishop Ford
The Long Island University-bound senior catcher was one of the quickest getting the ball to second base. Molbury was also the most consistent hitter at Bishop Ford, batting .421 with 31 RBIs, helping lead the Falcons to its deepest playoff run since 1995.
SS/P Arismendy Nunez, Morris
Surprised Morris was able to finish second in Bronx A East, arguably the best division in the PSAL, and reach the PSAL Class A quarterfinals? Look no further than Nunez, the Bulldogs’ linchpin on the mound, in the field, and at the plate. He went 5-2 with a 2.26 ERA, played an exemplary shortstop, and hit .455 with 10 stolen bases, 14 runs scored, and 11 RBIs.
P/1B Marcos Perez, Mount St. Michael
Mount St. Michael’s leader at the plate, in the field and on the mound, Perez enjoyed a stellar season for the Mountaineers. Built like a defensive end at 6-foot-4 and 250 pounds, the hard-throwing right-hander tossed back-to-back no-hitters and will take his game to Division I New York Tech next year.
SS Chris Ramanauskas, St. Joseph by the Sea
Not your typical leadoff hitter, the unsigned senior keyed St. Joseph by the Sea’s offense with a .390 batting average and 23 hits. He moved from third base to shortstop and had a gun for an arm, rarely making a mistake.
C Elvin Soto, Xaverian
The switch-hitting catcher verbally committed to the University of Arizona, a rarity for a New York City player, even before the start of his junior year. Soto hit .338 with five home runs and 22 RBIs and should be a serious target for major league scouts next season.
ALL-CITY HONORABLE MENTION
P Nestor Bautista, George Washington
3B Gary Boardman, Monsignor Farrell
OF Joe Calascione, Madison
P Franciel Campusano, Fort Hamilton
OF Will DiFede, Tottenville
P Joe Fiori, Monsignor Farrell
P Rafael Guerrero, John Adams
3B Phil Loprete, Archbishop Molloy
OF Mike Maschi, Fordham Prep
OF Anderson Mateo, Bishop Ford
OF Lou Perez, Monsignor McClancy
C Andy Ramos, Lehman
C Nelson Rodriguez, George Washington
OF Pedro Taveras, JFK
OF J.T. Torres, Xaverian