The Division Blue Dragon baseball team is off to a fantastic start, posting an 8-0 record thus far and sitting in first place in Nassau’s Conference III. Division swept Lynbrook and Bethpage in the first two conference series.
“We have been pitching well and playing good defense,” Division coach Tom Tuttle said. “Our team this year is young, we start three sophomores and four juniors. This group of players have a passion to play and they really get along as a team.”
The Blue Dragons are led by senior pitcher Mike Knapp, a returning All-County player who has committed to Molloy College. Knapp is currently 3-0 with a 0.39 ERA. He took a no-hitter into the sixth inning against Bethpage and finished with a one-hit shutout. Knapp followed that with another complete-game shutout, a 7-0 win over Valley Stream North. Senior pitcher Jack Taggart is also 2-0 for Division.
Offensively, Division is led by sophomore Matt Bolton, junior Joe Yovino, junior James Sill and senior Chris Powers. Yovino, a catcher, has two home runs on the season. Sill and Bolton each had two RBI in a 6-0 win over Bethpage. Chris Clune went 4-for-4 with four doubles in a 15-1 win over Valley Stream North.
“The way we are playing right now I feel we are as good as anyone in our classification,” Tuttle said. “With a young team you have to be ready for mistakes, but so far these guys have played like veterans. I really enjoy being around these guys because they are focused every day in practice and want to get better as players and as a team. We have some real good teams this year in our conference, including Bethpage, Manhasset and South Side. Even though we are young we take the field with no fear and are ready to compete.”
Across Hempstead Turnpike, Steve Costello’s MacArthur Generals are off to an equally impressive start. MacArthur is currently 7-1 this season. In just the second game of the year, Matt Sarni, Justin Aramini and Matt Dellitalia combined to pitch a no-hitter in a 12-0 win against Long Beach.
Sarni, a year removed from Tommy John surgery, pitched a complete-game, one-hit shutout in his second start, a 2-0 win over Mepham. Sarni stuck out seven in the effort. Sophomore sensation Tyler Bonsignore is 3-0 as a starter for the Generals.
Offensively for MacArthur, Sarni, James Eden, Sebastian Loor, Ryan Labonte and Chris Piacarella lead the attack. Piacarella had the game-winning hit in a 9-8 comeback win over Long Beach. The Generals trailed in the game, 8-0. Labonte had a grand slam and two-run double to power home six RBI against Long Beach.
—James Rowan is a Levittown resident.