By Nick Cardieri ’17
As the high school baseball season is coming into its closing months, many high school seniors around the country will be playing their last organized baseball games of their high school years.
However, four Midwood seniors will be able to experience the honor of playing college baseball. Mike Gonzalez, Francis McMahon, and Paul Pelligrino will all be attending St. Joseph’s College in the fall of next year and will play on the baseball team for the next four years. In addition, Gavin Brien is headed to SUNY Purchase to start his college baseball career for the Purchase Panthers.
“It is a great feeling to be able to continue to play the game I love competitively in college; I know that many people don’t have that option and I am grateful I am able to do so,” said Brien.
According to http://www.scholarshipstats.com, there are over 480,000 high school baseball players in the country, but only about 11.5% of all of the players go on to compete in college. The fact that the team has four players that are going to college to play baseball is a major feat not seen often on many high school teams in this city.
“I am very proud of Paul, Frank, Mike, and Gavin; they are accomplishing something special. They are all role models for me and make me want to strive to be the best player I can possibly be,” said Mangeroo Eng ’17.
With only four regular season games and playoffs left for these seniors, they will try to make the most of their dwindling time on the team.
“I can’t believe how fast these past two years have gone by, I am beyond proud to say that I played for this team and consider all of the players my brothers,” said Gonzalez. “We all still have the same goal of finishing our high school careers by winning a PSAL championship.”
Mr. Nardone has been a key piece in helping these players commit to play college baseball, by reaching out to college coaches and doing everything in his power to make sure all of the players are developed to the best of their ability and ready to compete at the next level. His dedication to making sure this happened is a testament to how important the game of baseball is to Mr. Nardone and how much he cares about his players.
“These players worked so hard and they are an example of how you can accomplish anything if you believe in yourself and put enough work in. I am so proud of these boys and we will definitely miss them and all of the other seniors,” said Nardone.
Most of these seniors have been playing baseball since they were young boys and are gearing up to continue the tradition in college. They all came to an agreement that they learned essential life lessons while playing on the team and they will keep the memories they made over the past four years close to them. The teammates will surely be rooting for them as they move on into the next stages of their lives both on the field and in college.