Senior Strength Being Counted On

Senior slugger Brian Donatich connects!
Senior slugger Brian Donatich connects!
Shortstop Kevin Forland, with ball, looks for a double play. Frank Coleman, Whitman's second-baseman looks to first.
Shortstop Kevin Forland, with ball, looks for a double play. Frank Coleman, Whitman's second-baseman looks to first.
Sal Silvestri, fouls a ball as he looks to put his Wildcats ahead.
Sal Silvestri, fouls a ball as he looks to put his Wildcats ahead.
Tony Silveri currently has a 400 batting average.
Tony Silveri currently has a 400 batting average.
Senior DH Dan Gibbons looks to have a strong second half of the season.
Senior DH Dan Gibbons looks to have a strong second half of the season.

More than half of Whitman’s varsity baseball team is made up of seniors, so head coach Steve Greco is optimistic that this group can compete in a very tough Suffolk League III. With a little more than half of their 20-game schedule behind them, the Wildcats are 3-8. “The games we have lost were mostly because of defensive mistakes,” said Coach Greco. “We’re a very good hitting team, so as long as we play solid defense and our pitchers throw strikes, we can go up against anyone.”

The Wildcat team had two unfortunate season-ending injuries befall their top pitchers, and less experienced players are stepping up. One of those pitchers, Louis Negrelli, was ranked 22nd on Long Island in preseason polls. Whitman is led by seniors Tony Silveri in center field, a 2-year starter and a really solid all-round player who is currently batting with an over 400 average; shortstop Kevin Forland, another strong player also batting in the 400-plus range; third baseman Brian Donatich, who is batting over 500; and Jake DeLorenzo, another solid senior whose behind the plate. “Jake calls a great game, works with our inexperienced pitchers, and is just a solid player offensively and defensively,” said Coach Greco. 

Rounding out the senior core is Sal Silvestri at first base, another good batter and experienced defensive player whom the Wildcats will count on. Dan Gibbons, who is back from an injury last season, is a good lefty designated hitter. And in his first year playing varsity baseball, Tom Burke is opening eyes with solid pitching performances. Returning players from last year are, Frank Coleman at second base; Steven VanGostein, who has shown good pitching talent with a big game versus Smithtown East; and Spencer Sherland, who has shown strength as a relief pitcher and got the start against Smithtown East. Roger Gonzalez, another senior, is a hard working outfielder.

Whitman’s starting juniors are Nick Isernia, a solid pitcher who has thrown two complete shutout games as well as playing right field, and Ben Black, who is back and doing an excellent job in left field.  This is Coach Greco’s sixth year in the Whitman system, and he has been head varsity coach for 3 of those years. “This is the best group of seniors I have had the pleasure of coaching so far,” said Coach Greco. “They are all hard-working, exceptional kids.”