By MIKE SMITH
The Mamaroneck Tigers may have been rained out against Eastchester on April 7, but a little foul weather can do little to dampen fans’ enthusiasm for this year’s squad.
With a host of returning players–and a chip on its shoulder–the team is currently undefeated and poised to regain its usual spot at the top of the Class AA rankings.
The amount of success the Tigers have had over the past decade is apparent when 2013’s 11-8 record and playoff appearance qualified as a “down year.” This season, said head coach Mike Chiapparelli, the team is off to a hot start and seems to be playing to form.
“I think given the talent we had, last year was a little disappointing,” the Tiger coach said. “This year, we’re very excited. We’ve got really good pitching, really good hitting, and I expect that we’re going to compete in the section.”
So far, the Tigers have proved their worth, beating two solid teams in White Plains and Pelham.
Against the Pelicans in the season opener, the Tigers got to Division I prospect David Wright, scoring four runs off the hurler in the fourth inning and going on to win 7-1.
Against league foe White Plains two days later, the Tigers scored two runs in the bottom of the seventh to win, walking-off on a hit by Andrew Sommer.
“I think against White Plains, we were more motivated than they were,” Chiapparelli said after the game. “They beat us twice last year, took the league title from us, so we wanted to go get it back.”
The Mamaroneck offense has been solid in the first two games, combining for 17 hits so far, but the Tigers pitching staff has also been solid.
Tom Muratore and Kumar Nambiar have led the way so far, but Chiapparelli has no shortage of arms he can call upon, including Sam Baumann, who will make his first start on April 9, after press time, and Jason Kreinces.
“We’ve got four solid arms,” Chiapparelli said. “Plus we have our lefties in Sean Howard and Gabe Makerem.”
The Tigers will look to continue their winning ways on April 9 against Ardsley before hosting perennial powerhouse Fox Lane the following day. As the season wears on, Chiapparelli said he hopes to see the same type of play that has helped the Tigers avoid a loss so far.
“We just need to be more aggressive,” the head coach said. “We’ve shown glimpses that we can hit in the clutch, now I want us to be more aggressive early in the count.”