By VIDAL SERFATY
New Rochelle’s 2014 season came to a premature close on May 23 when they were upset by 15 seed Carmel 4-3.
In a close-played game that saw the Rams take control with a game-winning double by sophomore Ryan Train in the sixth inning to put them ahead, the second seed Huguenots were eliminated and now find themselves looking forward to next season.
The Huguenots went 16-4 this year, claiming sole-possession of the League II-South title.
“It was a great season with great contributions from the seniors and a great senior class” head coach Pete Annunziata said. “The message I gave was that I have never been more satisfied, even after a tough loss. I’m happy with the way they pulled for each other and how we reached a few of our goals.”
Prior to the first round, many expected the Huguenots to make a deep run in the Class AA playoff.
Despite the loss, Annunziata said, the team has plenty to be proud about.
“It’s good to be league champs,” he said. “It’s a thrill.”
Annunziata had no shortage of talent that led to the Huguenots’ stellar season.
Senior Louis Miceli, who got the nod to pitch against Carmel was a key player this year, bothoth at the plate and on the mound. Junior JoJo Gray also contributed on the varsity level this season, receiving all-section honors.
“He was a stud on the mound,” the head coach said. “As well as a great shortstop.”
The Huguenots also benefited from the play of Jared Almonte, who was voted captain as a junior and will be a returning captain next year, and Carmine Giardano, who Annunziata identified as one of the hardest workers on the team.
Next season, the Huguenots have a deep returning class; they will bring back 12 players from this year’s club. Despite the loss of players like Miceli, Annunziata believes his team will once again be in contention for a league title.
“When you lose top guys, you have to wonder and hope that some guys will step up and take their roles.” Annunziata said. “We have high expectations and a chance to be good.”
Even with this positivity, there is a bit of question as to whether or not New Rochelle will have depth in their pitching rotation as the team will look to find arms to compliment the returning Gray.
When asked about motivation for next year, Annunziata said he expects this year’s early playoff exit to be a driving force for returning players.
“Motivation comes from the beginning of the season, big league games and the Section I playoffs,” he said. “Every class is motivated and next year’s team will be too.”
One concern Annunziata had next year is whether or not the team can replicate the chemistry that carried the day during a number of close wins.
“Every team has different chemistry,” the coach said. “The main core kids have different personalities; it’s an important part of the process.”