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Atlantic Baseball League... Staten Island Tide Fighting for First Place

 

Jon Gonzalez prepares to fire a pitch during Atlantic League play.
Photo Credit: Chris Cosgriff - www.statenislandtide.com

The Staten Island Tide team from the Atlantic Baseball League is trying to hold strong to the top of the Kaiser Division. After having the division lead during a six game winning streak, they finally fell a half game behind the Torrington Titans. The drop to second place came after losing a tight 2-0 game against Long Island on June 23rd. The Tide is a club with a lot of talented athletes that have pushed to the top in many categories. They are the 2nd best offensive team in the league (.281) and they lead the league with 3 triples. They also lead the entire league in pitching (2.61) making it much easier for manager Tommy Weber and the team to win games. The Tides ace is Jon Gonzalez, a sophomore who pitched for Adelphi University this past spring. His numbers at school are a bit misleading, his record of 3-4 should have been better with an ERA of 2.57. He pitched in 12 games and went for 56 innings and struck out 53. Gonzalez even pitched a complete game shut out.


 

 

 

 

Frank Esposito sets up during Atlantic League play.
Photo Credit: Chris Cosgriff - www.statenislandtide.com

This summer as a Tide, team manager Tommy Weber has been working with Gonzalez for some key improvement. “Jon is focusing on working consistently down in the strike zone and having command of his breaking ball early. We are trying to get him ‘on top’ of his breaking ball.” The progress is showing and with each passing game Gonzalez has been impressive. In 4 games, he’s gone 2-0, 2.41, after 18.2 innings and 29-4 strikeout to walk ratio. The Tide also features some pitchers tall enough to touch airplanes as they pass by. Sam Hasty a 6’7 right hander that red shirted this past spring at Rutgers University, and 6’6 right hander Dillon McNamara who’s rehabbing his shoulder and should get back on the mound in a week or two. The Tide’s offensive leader and catcher is Frank Esposito. His struggles this past spring at Seton Hall were quite clear, but this summer, Tommy Weber has a definite set of goals for Esposito. “Frank is an outstanding defensive catcher, great handler of pitchers and a real ‘field general’ behind the plate. We are working with Frank to hit the ball more up the middle and keep it out of the air.” On the idea of his top catcher and top pitcher working with each other and creating chemistry Weber is very positive. “ Esposito and Gonzalez have been on the same page right from the start. They are two players with a professional approach to their craft.” Every team in baseball has another catcher waiting in the background soaking up information and trying to make every chance to play count.

 


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The Tide have a freshman catcher named Francis Torres that had very limited play this past spring at Dominican College. He only had 12 at bats and didn’t manage to get a hit. He has a very solid build at 6’0 218lbs and as he sits behind Esposito he doesn’t figure to get too much action. This summer as a Tide Francis Torres has had 9 at bats and capitalized on them with 3 hits and hammering an RBI and a .333 batting average. The patience of a player with great potential never goes unnoticed by the coaches, and Weber understands that it’s hard being a backup catcher. “Torres has accepted his role as back up to an outstanding veteran player and is taking the opportunity to learn as much as he can in a limited role. He has made the most of his chances and will see more action as the season wears on.” Having a solid infield is another factor that determines how far a team goes during the course of a long season. “ Lucas Romeo is a freshman shortstop who has been part of an excellent defensive infield, along with Eddie Brown, smooth fielding, fleet footed

Second baseman and Sean Gusrang, junior from Seton Hall at third, who is one of the leagues best all around players and has drawn the attention of scouts.” Weber is also proud of his teams approach to the game. The coaches’ confidence is very important to the players and it builds a more fluent team. “I’m impressed by our team's intensity and desire to play the game at the highest level possible for all nine innings.”

 

 

By Adrian Nevarez
DFN Sports Staff Writer

 

 


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