Hewlett baseball entered mid-April positioned for conference title run.
The Bulldogs began league A-II play at 5-1 after taking two of three games from Roslyn last week. Head coach Andy DeBernardo said finishing atop the standings has been a major focus this season with an experienced group of seniors.
“We set our goal on the conference championship,” DeBernardo said. “There is no reason we can’t.”
Hewlett began the three-game Roslyn series with a bang last Wednesday in an 11-5 win that featured two home runs from Harry Fink. The Bulldogs offense was also paced by Chris Rodriguez and Matt Kohn each driving in two runs.
Both Fink and Rodriguez are capable catchers on defense. When not behind the plate, Rodriguez patrols center field and Fink is slotted as a designated hitter. Fink went 3-for-3 with two RBIs in Hewlett’s 5-4 win in game two of the Roslyn series on April 13.
“It’s a great problem to have,” said DeBernardo of his catcher duo. “Both of their bats have to be in the lineup.”
The Bulldogs took the middle game as Fink scoring the winning run on an error in the bottom of the sixth inning after stealing second. Matt Kim was strong on the mound allowing just two earned runs and relief pitcher James Silberger recorded the final two outs when Roslyn had runners on second and third.
Hewlett was denied its second straight conference sweep last Saturday in a 1-0 loss where Roslyn’s Robbie Pomerantz tossed a two-hitter. The Bulldogs swept Sewanhaka to start league play.
Leadoff batter Jesse Metz has sparked the Hewlett offense this season. The second baseman has become a consistent base stealing threat when getting on base.
“Once he gets on it’s almost a guarantee he us going to steal second,” DeBernardo said of Metz.
Hewlett has received strong pitching led by LIU-Post bound JJ Lantigua, who struck out 11 Sewanhaka batters in a 9-0 win on April 3. Kim has recorded three wins as the second pitcher in the rotation and tossed a four-hitter in Hewlett’s 7-4 non-league win at Bethpage on Match 30. Kohn gives the Bulldogs additional pitching depth as the third pitcher in addition to being a strong offensive player as the number two hitter.
Strong defense up the middle with shortstop Jason Barry and Metz complement Hewlett’s strong pitching at second base. The infield duo turned three double plays in the aforementioned 5-4 win against Roslyn.
“They are two top defenders,” DeBernardo said. “They have smooth hands.”
Hewlett faces unbeaten Carey this week in a crucial three-game series that could decide who wins Conference A-II. The league winner receives one of the top four seeds for the Class B playoff with a chance to host the program’s first playoff game in nearly a decade. The Bulldogs just missed the semifinal round last year after two narrow playoff losses to Carey.
“I have 19 kids who want to play every day,” DeBernardo said. “I love this team.”