By MIKE SMITH
On May 2, Mamaroneck’s baseball team beat Mount Vernon 12-0 to continue an in-league winning streak coming into an inevitable showdown with New Rochelle. But the win was more than just another step towards claiming a league title for the Tigers, it also marked the 500th time Tigers coach Mike Chiapparelli has left the field with a ‘W’ in the books.
Kumar Nambiar led the day with an impressive six-inning shutout performance, while Richie Barella went 4-for-4 with three RBIs to help get Chiapparelli to the milestone win.
According to the Mam-aroneck head coach, the players on the team were keenly aware of the significance of the win, trying for two years to help their coach join the 500 club.
“The kids were trying to get it for me last year, but we just fell a little short,” Chiapparelli said. “So we figured there was a good chance this year.”
Chiapparelli has been the varsity coach at Mamaroneck High School for the last 30 years. In that time, his baseball squad has posted a record of 500-223-4. During his tenure, the Tigers have captured 18 league titles, three section championships and were back-to-back state champs in 2008 and 2009. Seventy Tiger players have gone on to play at the Division I level, and Chiapparelli himself was honored in 2009 with the Frank McGuire Award when he was named National Coach of the Year.
“Obviously, I never expected this when I started,” Chiapparelli said. “Just to be the coach here when I was younger, I was honored and excited, but we were also winning. I figured I would be here as long as they wanted me around as coach.”
In addition to his success on the baseball diamond, Chiapparelli has also helped the Tiger hockey program reach new heights. Chiapparelli currently has 398 career hockey wins, but attributes much of his success–both in baseball and hockey–to the support the Mamaroneck community has for its sports programs.
“In baseball we’ve got this great Little League, which I am a part of, and we’ve got these after school clubs and these clinics,” he said. “We teach the kids from a young age, and I think that, with the good coaching staffs that we have, they know what is expected of them when they get up to this level.”
Chiapparelli hopes to add a few more wins to his total before the spring ends.
The Tigers have a two-game set with the league-leading Huguenots coming up, and if they can take two wins from New Rochelle, they could end up with a share of the league title.