By Mitch Silver
Rye Neck, the school with the smallest enrollment in our area, plays in a league against similarly sized high schools in the Hudson River towns, with a few mid-County opponents thrown in. The bus rides can be pretty long. Even longer getting back when you lose. So far, that hasn’t been much of a problem for Head Coach Joe Carlucci’s squad.
The Panthers kicked off their schedule at Irvington with a 5-3 win. In their home opener a couple of days later, mound ace Conor Liguori threw a four-hit shutout against Dobbs Ferry. He struck out 13 and walked none on just 83 pitches. His co-captain, Anthony Miceli, had two hits and a couple of RBIs.
The team stumbled against unranked Valhalla, 8-3, in another early season match-up before hitting their stride in the last ten days. Tony Leone allowed one hit over five innings for the 3-1 victory over Hastings April 17; Colin Kelley had the winning RBI. Then Liguori took the ball again and throttled a free-swinging Bronxville team, earning an 8-2 victory on a chilly, windy day.
Last Saturday, Rye Neck took their overall record to 8-3 with a 15-5 thrashing of Yonkers Montessori. The win edged the Panthers up to sixth in the most-recent Section 1 Class B rankings. Remember, this was a team that finished under .500 a year ago with pretty much the same cast. Only a nail-biting 3-2 playoff win over rival Blind Brook made the off-season a little brighter.
But in 2018, Carlucci can fill out his lineup card with seven returning players, including co-captains Kevin Tamucci and Jack Sheldon. Kelley in center, Brian Scott at short, and pitcher/infielder Mike Colasanti are his returning underclassmen. And they’ve all made contributions.
But things will get interesting as April turns into May. Rye Neck played home-and-home games post-press time against Edgemont before traveling today to Croton-Harmon. Looming ahead is so-far undefeated Keio. The Unicorns come to Hornidge Road for a game on Monday at 4:30 p.m.
Before the season began, Coach Carlucci listed his team’s biggest challenges for the 2018 season. At the top of his list was, “Getting to the next level to make ourselves relevant in Class B.”
First baseman Matt Quartararo tags outBronxville’s runnerafter Conor Liguori’s perfect pickoff throw.
Evan Dunne goes down and gets a curveball for a single against the Broncos.