Five years ago, when Vincent Alversa took over the junior varsity baseball team at East Hampton, he asked if there were any offseason programs, such as summer and fall teams. The answer was no, so Alversa did his best to change that, creating offseason teams as well as travel teams for youth players.
Alversa, entering his third year as head coach of the varsity baseball team, is ready to see the work that he and his players have put in over the past few years start to come to fruition, and that could happen this spring. With a number of returning players, and a couple who are making the jump to varsity, the Bonackers hope to build upon a three-win season last year when it ended a lengthy losing streak.
“Basically, last year came down to a pitching shortage. We didn’t want to bring up guys too soon, so we kind of stuck with what we had, which were some guys who had never pitched before,” Alversa explained. “Our outfield was also weak, but this year it’s looking a lot stronger. We had a big summer, and then what’s behind these guys is really exciting.”
Kurt Matthews is one of a handful of key returning seniors this season for the Bonackers. He will continue to see time on the mound along with playing on the left side of the infield at third base and shortstop. James Foster broke a bone in his wrist in November and is still working his way back to the team, but Alversa is hoping to have him for the start of the season behind the plate. Lou Britton has fought through injuries the past two years, but is healthy and back on the team, and Zach Barzilay will be a utility player.
The underclassmen on this year’s team will be led by junior Elian Abreu, the team’s lone All-League player from last season, and pitcher Jackson Baris. Tucker Genovesi was nearly an All-League player last season, Alversa said, leading the team in hitting for most of the season, and he’s expected to do well this season.
Sophomore Charlie Condon, who stands 6 feet 7 inches tall, is up from the junior varsity, along with freshman Colin Ruddy, and both will be logging some innings for the Bonackers.
Despite playing in League VI with the two Class A finalists in Suffolk—champion Rocky Point and runner-up Sayville—Alversa is confident his team will compete more than it has in the recent past.
Harborfields, Islip and Westhampton Beach round out the rest of the league, and the Bonackers will play those teams before facing Rocky Point and Sayville to finish out the season.
Alversa told his players recently, if they can take care of business in the first half of the season, and steal a game or two in those last two series, a postseason berth is not out of the question.
“With the way we have developed pitching-wise, I honestly think we can be in some games with those guys. It’s just how strong is their pitching, and how much have we come along hitting-wise?” he said.
East Hampton kicks off the season this Friday, March 22, with a non-league game at home on its new field turf infield against Mattituck at 4:30 p.m. The league season doesn’t start until April 9, when the Bonackers will play Westhampton Beach.