It’s that time of the year again. The weather is getting better, the snow is melting, the clouds are clearing. It’s the most beautiful time of the year, as the famous Vin Scully would say. It is time for Bellport baseball.
The Bellport Clippers will be opening up their 2019 regular season in two weeks, in a nonleague game against West Babylon. Their season has already begun, as they’ve played scrimmages against Center Moriches, William Floyd and Riverhead. After making playoffs their previous four years with a league championship to their name, they want to keep riding that streak and make it five straight.
To do that, they count with the new incorporations of senior Ayden DeGrijze and juniors Nicholas Promutico, Thomas Miller, Matthew Sweeney, Cesar Solorzano, Matt Harper, Sean Vargas, Tyler Walsh and Christian Rountree. They will also be counting with returning players Maxwell Kaczmarek, Maximo Di Giacomo, Thomas Allocca, Samuel Hampson, Christopher Colon and Dimitri Arresto, all seniors.
To add to this, they have three players who will be playing their third and final year on varsity: Justin Maler, Andrew Veit and Brennan Beatrice, who were all vital pieces to the championship in 2017, as well as Carson Nagle, who looks forward to being a utility infielder, and junior Matthew Vasquez, who got the call and trust from the coaches as a sophomore.
This year, Bellport will be in League IV going against Comsewogue, Deer Park, Huntington, North Babylon and West Islip. All of these opponents are familiar; they faced Deer Park and Comsewogue last year and faced Huntington, North Babylon and West Islip in their 2017 championship season.
Last year, the Clippers beat Comsewogue in three out of four matchups and beat Deer Park once. Beatrice, Veit and Maler were part of the team that swept North Babylon and Huntington in the 2017 season. West Islip reached the Class AA Long Island final last year with a 24-2 record, a well-respected rival by everyone on the island.
For the Clippers, Maler ended the season riding a nine-game hitting streak, batting .366 with three doubles and five RBIs. Beatrice batted .365 with 23 hits, 23 RBIs and nine doubles; on the mound he won three games and delivered the game-winning hit that sent the Clippers to playoffs in the bottom of the ninth after beginning the season 3-7. Veit was nothing short of amazing, letting up one to two runs in every start.
“I want to step up more this year as a leader. I want to pass my experience to my teammates so we can be as successful as possible,” said Maler. “It’s my third year on varsity; being a leader is me showing the juniors the day-in and day-out grind of the season,” added Beatrice. He also said how there’s dedication required to make playoffs, and the team has to stick together.
“It means a lot that the coaches have trusted me. My advice to the newcomers is always hustle and play hard — it could go a long way,” added Vasquez.
“There’s no jitters. I know my teammates will have my back and I will have theirs. I am looking to end my last season with a bang,” concluded Veit.