Direct Rays

4-Time GHVBL Champ Mahopac 16U Coming Down the Pike

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By Ray Gallagher, Examiner Sports Editor @Directrays
Mahopac 16U Indians won their fourth consecutive Greater Hudson Valley Baseball League title last Sunday at Rogers Park in Danbury, CT, where seventh-seeded Mahopac crushed No.4 Newburgh Storm, 13-1.

I love to know in advance what’s coming down the pike, so to speak. I love to follow the ambitions of young athletes as they take aim at championships before they reach high school, so, naturally, this group of 16U baseball players from Mahopac have caught my attention after four-peating as Greater Hudson Valley Baseball League (GHVBL) champions last Sunday at Rogers Park in Danbury. 

Since their 12U championship days (pre-COVID), Mahopac coaches Reid Nystrom, Dan Brandstetter and Jim Castrataro deserve a public pat on the back after leading the 16U Mahopac Indians toward a GHVBL dynasty, because winning four titles in any sport or competition is exactly that, a dynasty.

They barbequed the night away at Coach Brandstetter’s place into the wee hours of Sunday after winning their sixth GHVBL title overall in beat-down fashion, 13-1.

“This team is really special,” Nystrom said. “We have been together since 9U and watched each player develop individually, but more importantly, develop as a team. The future of Mahopac baseball is in good hands with these boys.”

The 9U Yorktown Huskers were crowned GHVBL champs and are coming down the pike.

So, yeah, the pipeline looks pretty loaded at Mahopac, where baseball was once king under former five-time sectional champion Coach Frank Miele (circa late ‘80s to mid ’90s), but hasn’t flourished in recent years. Pressure increases under performance and the unit of Casey Brandstetter, Joey Defeo, Tyler Castrataro, Chris Sapienza, Quentin Bally, Owen Ryan, Phil Scuderi, Robert Dusovic, Kevin Dwyer, Joey Luczkowski, Ryan Tissier and Nevan Nystrom is on the clock, which is ticking as we speak, boys, so keep on keepin’ on!

“We are super proud of these guys,” Coach Branstetter said. “We’re a small-town team playing together for the last eight years and we all live within a five-mile radius and just continue to beat everybody. It’s really cool.”

And after winning a Section 1 Class A baseball title at Somers High School this past spring, I’m betting that newly-minted Mahopac High Coach Anthony Nappi is frothing at the mouth over the prospects within the pipeline, much like I am looking forward to seeing the 9U Yorktown Huskers, who were also crowned D-II champions after the No. 5 seed ripped up Bethel-Newtown and the second-seeded Danbury Hatters in their own backyard. Kudos, boys!

The 10U Yorktown Patriots, the No. 3 seed in D-II, will provide some additional support after they suffered a 2-1 championship setback in a crowded 16-team field.

In an insanely hot week of action, many of the locals pulled through and were crowned champions as I lay upon the white sandy beaches of LBI, so hats off to all, including the D-II High School Division II champs from Hen Hud High, who we expect big things from in the spring of 2023.

I can take a break from almost everything on my annual LBI vacation, except Major League Baseball, especially my beloved Mets. Honestly, I don’t know what I would do without MLB throughout the dog days of summer, considering the bond it brings between my son and I, which makes it undeniably special during the Mets’ 70-39 season (through Sunday) under Manager Buck Showalter, the perfect guy to lead this club. The high fives and hugs we share on a daily basis, whether it’s the Mets or Yankees, is the stuff that will build lifelong bonds between fathers and sons. The dog days of summer are bearable because of baseball #IMO. And there’s nothing more special, more important, than family bonds, so I thank MLB for the shared passion between father and son. 

We can’t compare Mets closer Edwin Diaz to Yankees great Mariano Rivera because there’s only one Mariano, but let me be clear: Diaz’s 2022 regular season – to this point – is as good as any reliever we’ve ever seen, bar none! And the trumpets are spectacular upon his entrance.

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