Written by Joe Scotchie Friday, 21 August 2009 00:00
Last spring, the Massapequa Chiefs won their fourth straight Nassau County Class AA title. In June, Plainedge High School alumni and SUNY-Old Westbury pitching star, Robert Whitenack, was drafted by the Chicago Cubs in the eighth round of the Major League Baseball summer draft. Whitenack was the first player from Old Westbury to ever be drafted by a big league squad. He was also the first Division III player to be taken in the draft.
Last week, former Massapequa High School star Mike Mandarino helped the Westhampton Aviators win the 2009 Atlantic Collegiate Baseball league title. The league is comprised of teams from the metropolitan area, whose players are college-level athletics, hoping to improve their diamond process to the professional level.
On Aug. 6, the Aviators defeated the Jersey Pilots, 7-5 to win the Atlantic crown. Earlier, Mandarino hurled the Aviators into that championship game with a 7-1 win over North Fork. With that win, the Aviators were 2009 Kaiser Division champions.
Mandarino was in top form in the North Fork win, pitching three-hit ball over eight innings. In the second inning, he gave up a solo home run to Jeff Melillo, but after that, he was unhittable. Mandarino retired 11 of the next 12 North Fork batters. Meanwhile, the Aviators’ offense took over, scoring three unearned runs in the third inning and four more in the eighth inning to give Mandarino a healthy cushion in which to continue his pitching mastery. In all, Mandarino gave up only three hits, while striking out nine and allowing four walks.