Written by Vinny Messana, firstname.lastname@example.org Friday, 14 February 2014 10:06
The Plainview-Old Bethpage John F. Kennedy High School baseball team is coming off a poor 2013 season in which it finished at 5-12. But after that below-.500 showing, the program now looks to enter a period of prosperity with a new era under first-year head coach John Givargidze.
The team’s assistant coach from 2005-09, Givargidze is optimistic that the team is headed in the right direction.
“Just from talking to the players for the past couple months I can tell that they are buying into my philosophy and serious about the season,” said Givargidze, who was a three-year captain at Molloy College during his playing days and went on to play in the Frontier League. “That is generally the first obstacle in uniting a team that is not coming off a great year. I guess when you finish 5-12 there’s nowhere to go but up.”
The head coach is still getting acclimated to his team, but he is bullish on the outlook to the season.
“The head coaches in the league picked us to finish in second place,” he said, adding that the fact that the coaches think so highly of the team in the first year of a new coach speaks volumes about his reputation as it does about the talent on the team.
Givargidze has his own thoughts on how this coming season will shape up.
“MacArthur is probably going to win the conference,” he conceded, but noted that his team may have the potential to surprise. “We will have our number one pitcher, Charlie Basedow, who was out most of last season with an arm injury, who’s healthy now.”
Basedow will lead the staff, but will be joined by Vinny Ruggierio, who will play first base when he’s not on the mound. He tossed a complete game in the final game of 2013 against East Meadow, which certainly ended the season on a positive note.
On the offensive side of the ball, Givargidze will be relying on senior catcher Chris Tracz, who will be heading to Marist on a baseball scholarship upon graduation. The highly regarded backstop will be joined in the lineup by shortstop Dom Polumbo and Spencer Pokorny. This group of arms and bats will be a big reason that the team sees an improvement in 2014.
Givargidze noted that he has an experienced team packed with seniors. He expects this group of high school veterans to act as leaders both on and off the field.
The team will open up its season on March 27 in a non-league crossover game against Carle Place.