Hewlett baseball struggled last year, only winning three games, but coach Andy DeBernardo’s squad is looking to bounce back this season.
Even though the Bulldogs are dealing with the injury bug early on, they are already one win away from matching their total from the year prior, taking two of three games from Manhasset to open the campaign.
Hewlett is led by Central Connecticut State commit Matt Graziose. He’s a natural corner infielder, but because he’s such a natural athlete he’s come into this season as Hewlett’s starting shortstop. Last year, Graziose drove in over twenty runs, scored fifteen, and hit over .525 while being unanimously named an all-county player.
“The best part of his game is that he’s a leader,” DeBernardo said. “He’s been a captain for three years. I’ve been doing this for over 20 years and I’ve never had a three-year captain.”
Along with Graziose, Hewlett’s starting nine includes senior and No. 3 hitter Jason Ng, who converted from pitcher to center fielder, and senior Steve Coletta who is another converted outfielder that bats cleanup and had a big series at the plate against Manhasset. Junior Josh Sepe bats leadoff and catches.
“He’s the table setter,” DeBernardo said of Sepe. “He’s a big on base guy. He walks a lot, gets hit by pitches, puts the ball in play, and he’s got some speed too.
The ace of the Hewlett pitching staff is junior Michael Heyman. He features a sharp fastball and some very good offspeed pitches. “[Heyman’s] a guy that when he’s on, he’s on,” said DeBernardo. “Opening day was a rainy, cold day and he gave me five innings and gave up one run.”
When he’s not on the mound, Heyman slots into the lineup as the fifth hitter and right fielder. Sophomore Lucas Kim is Hewlett’s No. 2 starting pitcher and bats seventh. When he isn’t pitching, Kim plays second and third. The third starter on the pitching staff is freshman Marek Williams, who spells Kim at second base as well. Marek’s cousin, Lincoln Williams, is a sophomore who starts at first base.
“He’s a very good bunter,” said DeBernardo. “He actually got a big hit early in the game against Levittown. He’s learning the position right now, but he’s got really soft hands.
Sophomore Ryan Cafaro is going to be a key piece this season, being used as a utility man which isn’t seen much in high school baseball anymore. “He’s going to play right field, he’s going to play third base, he’s going to pitch, and he’s my backup catcher. He’s a player who really gives me a lot of versatility that not a lot of teams have. He’s got a pretty decent bat and I’m hoping to get something out of him because he would be a star on the JV level,” DeBernardo said.
After a tough series agianst Division, the Bulldogs will look to get the best of Floral Park this week.