Middle School Baseball Preview

It’s finally spring again which means it’s time for some baseball. This year’s MKA baseball team is one of the brightest in years. “This year,” Coach Smith said, “we actually have a group of kids where every single one of them can actually throw and catch.” It is true that this year has an abundance of very good 8th graders and a group of very promising 7th graders.
The coaches of this year’s squad are Mr. Ruddy and Mr. Smith. In addition, Andrew Powers, a former MKA standout, is coming back to help coach the team. The captain of this year’s team is pitcher/ shortstop Rob Pannullo.
At first, Coach Smith was unsure if there would be an A and B team.  There were a lot of good players and it was difficult to decide.  For a week, tryouts raged for an hour were kids were tested on their hitting, fielding and pitching abilities.
In the end, an A team was agreed upon that featured 8th graders Rob Panullo, P.C. Provost, Jesse Naar, Nick Pai, Todd Morici, Zack Yanes, Anthony Donatiello, Ryan Durando and Mike Zage.  In addition, four 7th graders, Nic Harris, Francis Keane, Aaron Stagoff-Belfort and Josh Blatt made the team.
Both teams practice every day from 3 to 4 o’clock and have games every week.  The A team showcased their talents in their second game when they defeated Roosevelt Middle School 14-0. Pai pitched outstandingly, throwing a complete game shutout. Yanes had several long blasts to the outfield. Provost, Pannullo and Will Cerf added impressive hits of their own. Todd Morici showcased his incredible speed stealing four bases.
The B team starts playing games the week of April 20th. Most of the A team 7th graders also play B games. Since they don’t get a lot of playing time in A games, this lets them get to play a lot more.  Starters on the B team’s debut include Lee Johnson, Francis Keane, Greg Hulse, Jordan Buren and myself.
While the season is still young, the MKA team has certainly proved that they belong on the field and that they can make some serious noise against all teams they face.
Go out and support the team! Here is a schedule of upcoming games:
5/4: 4:00PM Boys MS – B Baseball VS. Millburn Middle School
5/5: 3:45PM Boys MS – A Baseball VS. Morristown-Beard School
5/6: 4:00PM Boys MS – A Baseball @ Dwight-Englewood School
5/7: 3:45PM Boys Middle School – A Baseball @ Newark Academy
5/13: 4:00PM Boys MS – B Baseball VS. Oratory Prep School

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