Brooklyn continues to be a baseball-rich borough.
James Madison used stellar pitching to win its division and claw its way to within one victory of the Public School Athletic League Class AA title game. Xaverian won the Brooklyn-Queens league, but a second-straight Catholic AAA championship was not to be. Poly Prep’s string of four-straight private school state crowns was cut short by a first-round playoff exit after another stellar regular season. Grand Street and Telecommunications both again had strong years.
Nazareth reached a second straight Catholic Class A final, but ultimately fell to Monsignor Scanlan. Abraham Lincoln was one of the best stories of the season as it revived its program and reached the public school AA semifinals.
There were plenty of athletes who made it all possible, and here are the ones we picked as the best in Brooklyn.
All-Brooklyn Baseball Player of the Year: Nick Storz, Poly Prep
The sophomore right-hander flourished as he moved into the spotlight this season. The imposing ace threw all of the Blue Devils’ big games. He posted a 3–1 record with 52 strikeouts in 33 innings and hit the low 90s on the radar gun. Storz won Poly’s game against eventual Public School Athletic League champion George Washington. He also hit .389 with 26 runs batted in, and a .907 slugging percentage.
All-Brooklyn Baseball Coach of the Year: Vinny Caiazza, James Madison
The veteran manager kept telling his young team all season it had the talent for a special season, and got them to believe. Madison pushed itself back up into the city’s elite. It won a division title and reached its first Public School Athletic League Class AAA semifinal since 2010. There it handed Tottenville its first league loss, but fell a win short. Caiazza brought this group along brilliantly.
All-Brooklyn Baseball First Team:
Pitcher Rob Amato, Xaverian
The senior was one of the most dominant hurlers in the city. Amato tossed a perfect game in a 7–0 victory over Molloy in May. The hard-throwing lefty posted a 6–3–1 record with 57 strikeouts in 54 innings, and a 2.20 earned run average.
Third Base Daniel Bakst, Poly Prep
Bakst was a consistent contributor at the plate and a slick fielder at the hot corner. The junior batted .346 with 22 runs batted in, 20 runs, 22 walks, and a .596 slugging percentage. He drove in three runs in a 5–3 win over Delbarton on April 11.
Right Field Travis Buckman, Abraham Lincoln
The junior posted a career season in his second year with the Railsplitters. The power-hitting Buckman hit .568 with 20 runs batted in, nine extra base hits, and 12 steals. He also collected three saves and did not allow a run in 6 2/3 innings of work.
Pitcher Steve Catuogno, Xaverian
Catuogno was the Clippers’ most consistent pitcher, helping Xaverian to a division title and the No. 2 seed in the playoffs. The senior posted a sterling 6–1 record with a minuscule 0.73 earned run average. He also earned one save.
Catcher Marcus Chavez, Grand Street
The senior was the glue to a Grand Street team that suffered injuries to some of its best players. He handled a young pitching staff well and delivered with the bat. Chavez hit .489 with 19 runs batted in, 18 runs scored and, 10 extra base hits.
Centerfield Pat DeMarco, Poly Prep
DeMarco is one of the city’s rising stars and a five-tool player. The sophomore’s speed and athleticism help him play a superb centerfield. He also hit it .397 with five triples, 32 runs batted in, and a .698 slugging percentage.
Pitcher-First Base Shawn James, James Madison
The junior was Madison’s best all-around player. On the mound he went 4–0 and had two saves while posting a 0.21 earned run average. James was also a serious threat with the bat. He had a .458 average with 13 runs batted in during the regular season.
Pitcher-Designated Hitter Christopher Karnbach, James Madison
The imposing hurler tossed arguably the game of the year for Madison in a 2–1 win over defending champ Cardozo in the quarterfinal. Karnbach went 7–1 overall and posted a 1.35 earned run average during the regular season.
Pitcher Evan Layne, Telecommunications
Layne was a dual threat for the Yellow Jackets this season. He was Telecom’s best pitcher with a 5–1 record, including two complete games, and a minute 1.56 earned run average. The senior also batted .383 and a .491 on base percentage.
Shortstop Anthony Prato, Poly Prep
The UConn-commit was a spark plug for the Poly offense from the leadoff spot. Prato posted a .389 average with 26 runs batted in and a .907 slugging percentage. He also stole 20 bases and used his speed to gobble up balls at short.
Third Base Anthony Scotti, Xaverian
Scotti rebounded from an early foot injury to put together another strong campaign. The Seton Hall-bound third baseman batted .389 with 26 runs batted in, and a .476 on base percentage. He also stole 20 bases to fuel the Clippers’ attack.
Shortstop Vincent Calacagno, Lafayette
Pitcher John Bini, Xaverian
Left Field Mateo Gil, Grand Street
Pithcer-Third Base Chris Harper. Berkeley Carroll
Left Field Nick Meola, Xaverian
Pitcher Oliver McCarthy, Poly Prep
Pitcher William Navarro, Nazareth
Catcher-Third Base Louis Nicolosi, Townsend Harris
Pitcher-Designated Hitter Justin Pacheco, Berkeley Carroll
Left Field Greg Poleon, Abraham Lincoln
First Base Austin Ruiz Telecommunications
Centerfield Isaiah Torres, Grand Street