WPHS Baseball and Softball Seasons on Winning Trends

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First baseman Spencer Lodes hits a single to score Mike Attonito from third base in the first inning of the Tigers, 5-3 win over neighboring Mamaroneck High School on Friday at WPHS. Albert Coqueran Photo

The Tigers Spring Athletic Season is in full swing at White Plains High School.

The Spring Season is the most active season of the school year with Baseball, Softball, Boys and Girls Lacrosse, Boys Tennis, Track & Field and Golf assessable to student/athletes for competition.

The White Plains Varsity Baseball Team has displayed a competitive and enthusiastic spirt thus far this season. The Tigers are undefeated in Section 1 AA with a 5-0 record as of Sunday, April 15. The Tigers overall record is 5-2, with their only two losses coming on the road in Charleston, South Carolina, where they participated in the popular H.I.T. Tournament from March 31-April 5.

Tigers senior Tri-Captain Pitcher/First Baseman Spencer Lodes is not ready for mound duty yet. However, he is steadfast concerning his throwing program as he attempts to recover from off-season shoulder surgery and possibly will make a pitching appearance in the postseason. Lodes remains the leader of the team, while starting at first base and swinging a huge bat for the Tigers.

Of course, the Tigers would relish having Lodes on the mound as their ace; however, they are no worse for wear for pitching. Another senior Tri-Captain Pitcher Mike Attonito has begun this season as he started last season. Attonito has already won three games this season for the Tigers and is swinging a potent bat as well. He is averaging almost .500 at the plate. The Tigers other Tri-Captain senior Cather Matt Dorchak is also hitting with pride, while leading the Section in RBIs as of Sunday.

The Tigers also have junior pitcher Anthony Burgio taking the mound. Burgio threw four innings as the winning pitcher over Mamaroneck, 5-3, on Friday, April 13, at WPHS. Burgio gave up a mere three hits, struck-out five and walked three, while allowing only one earned run in four innings. “I did not think it was my best outing but I have a good bullpen behind me to do the job when someone is struggling,” commented Burgio.

The Tigers also have junior Nick Gomez, junior Luke Spano and senior David Terry to take the ball. The Tigers have also seemingly developed a Closer in Designated Hitter Mark Vaughn, who relieved Spano in the 6th inning versus Mamaroneck on Friday. Vaughn shut down the neighboring Tigers for the save, leaving two on base with a strikeout in the sixth and threw a scoreless seventh inning.

“There is definitely no over confidence here. We want to stay even keeled and play one game at a time. Also, improve on the things that we are not doing very well that we know we can do much better,” stated Tigers Head Coach Marcel Galligani, concerning his 5-0, Section 1 start this season.

Ella Utschig, is a 13 year-old eighth-grader who has a potent whip for an arm and is unfazed while challenging Section 1AA batters. Utschig’s strikeouts are piling up as the Lady Tigers sustain a winning record at 4-2, so far this season. Al Coqueran Photo

Tigers Softball Young in Age but Not Competitive Spirit

The only true way to understand the potential of 13-year-old eighth-grader Ella Utschig is to attend a game and watch her pitch. You cannot evaluate her pitching ability by her record or by the Lady Tigers record thus far this season. Remember, Utschig is an eighth-grade student/athlete pitching in her inaugural varsity season to seasoned Section 1 AA batters.

Nonetheless, Utschig is a prodigy who has led the Lady Tigers to a 4-2 record thus far this season as of Sunday, April 15. The eighth-grader stuck-out six batters in the Lady Tigers, 2-0 loss to North Rockland, on Monday, April 9, at WPHS. The 13-year-old scattered six hits while holding the Raiders, last year’s Section 1 AA Finalist, to only two runs.

Utschig also put her strong delivery on display when she struck-out 12, in the Tigers 9-2 win at Carmel on Thursday, April 12. She also fanned 10 batters versus New Rochelle, the very next day in the Tigers 6-3 win on the road.

“I feel great. I think, my curveball is my best pitch,” said Utschig, after striking out nine batters against North Rockland. In regards to her poise on the mound, the 13 year-old revealed, “I think it comes about by being around older girls all my life, so I have to make sure that I am not the one who is annoying everyone.”

Furthermore, if it was not for a freak and unfortunate accident, Tigers Head Softball Coach Ted O’Donnell would have had a quality one-two punch on the mound this season. Ava Rainone, a 10th grade pitcher was being her helpful self when she volunteered to retrieve some equipment from the outside shed during an inside gym practice. She slipped and broke her ankle, which has sidelined her indefinitely. Rainone was All-Section Honorable Mention as a freshman last season.

The Tigers are undoubtedly young this season. Regardless, they do have seven seniors on their roster. They put eighth-grader Alexa Galligani (daughter of Tigers Baseball Coach Marcel Galligani) at second base, another eighth-grader Natasha Mendez at shortstop and ninth-grader Zoey Kovach in the outfield. With Utschig, that makes three eighth-graders and a ninth-grader in the starting line-up.

However, these young additions to Tigers Varsity Softball are not just inexperienced players learning the game. They represented a Tigers Junior Varsity Softball Team that posted a 15-1 record last season.

The Lady Tigers are anchored by senior Co-Captain Lauren Medico and another young player, sophomore Sarah DiSanto at third base. DiSanto is a slugger, who hit two homeruns with four RBI against New Rochelle, on Friday. DiSanto was also All-Section Honorable Mention as a freshman last season.

“I am very excited about this season and we are going to keep getting better each week. They practice hard, they play hard, so we are just going to keep moving forward and get better every week,” said O’Donnell.

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