Armond Yusi will be part of the solid returning infield for the Port Chester varsity baseball team this spring.
File photo
Armond Yusi will be part of the solid returning infield for the Port Chester varsity baseball team this spring. File photo

While the calendar may still say otherwise as winter veers from mild to warm to cold, rain to wind to snow, the Port Chester winter scholastic sports season is over, and what a winter it was, filled with losing discontent.

Indeed it was the worst of times, the worst of times, the redundancy deliberate, the omission of the best of times from the famous Dickens opening also deliberate because the losses kept following the losses kept following the losses with the major Ram and Lady Ram teams finishing up the track in a lot more than Track & Field.

They also got bowled over in bowling while the wrestling team kept getting thrown for a loop because of the lack of heavyweights. And just as sad to say, the boys’ swim team went oh for the season for the third straight year, the Lady Rams won just three basketball games while the Rams hoop squad came out on top in only four games and, well, you get the idea by now why it was a winter of discontent.

Hope on horizon

But hope springs eternal, the spring season starts Monday (3/13), the respective Ram and Lady Ram baseball and softball teams look promising with a new and a returning coaching change bringing a fresh approach, lacrosse may be on the horizon as a club team with another new face at the helm, the T&F team may finally have a solid middle distance runner and, in the cyclical way things happen in high school sports, P.C. may have its best crop of freshmen in years.

Coaching switches

In baseball, raspy-voiced Eddie Martinez, a former Stamford High School All-Star who also excelled in college as a slugging first baseman/outfielder at Concordia, has moved up from assistant coach to head coach. He inherits a team that may well be coming of age with a solid returning infield built around Armond Yusi, Michael Boccarossa and Luisbert Frias, a fleet-footed outfielder in Jason Wiley and an ace pitcher in Jonathan Fingold.

In softball, veteran coach Jeanine Maiolini, a former third baseman with Division One national collegiate powerhouse Hofstra, returns to the dugout after being out for a year following an automobile accident. She will look to continue the Lady Rams’ streak of making the playoffs for five consecutive years, four with her as the coach who turned around a losing program. The team also made the playoffs last year under DeAnne Ostrowski, the local mom, Con Ed engineer and former U.S. Naval Academy pitcher/outfielder who pinch hit for Jeanine last year.

The Lady Ram softballers figure to be even better this year with returning ace pitchers Carsen Swallen and Kaylan Pinnix, a triple threat in Autumn Antonio who can either catch, play second base or the outfield and a slugging All-Section centerfielder in Brooklyn (BK) Ostrowski, a freshman who is so good she already has a scholarship to Fordham University.

Frosh bumper crop

BK heads a list of outstanding Port Chester freshmen, from wrestling phenom Ivan Garcia who became the first frosh in Ram history to make the All-State team, grappling his way to a fifth place finish in the 99-pound weight class, to swimmer Marcos Cueto, the team's MVP who set school sprint records in events ranging from 55 to 100 meters, to sprinter/cross country running ace Joe Tapia who may yet develop into the T&F team's best all-around runner in a variety of distances including the quarter, half and mile run. Tapia looms as a worthy successor to Anthony Smith, who made the All-American high school and college T&F teams in the mid-1980s and still ranks as the best Ram runner ever.

And who knows how truly outstanding the freshman bumper crop could have been had not two potential basketball stars, Francesca (Checka) Sileo and Shamel (Mel) Jones, not respectively checked out of Port Chester to play for Greenwich Academy and a prep school in North Carolina noted for turning out big time college prospects. But you play the hand you are dealt with the players you have.

Excitement builds

Excitement is building locally for the debut of Port Chester's first-ever lacrosse club team with the potential to become a LAX varsity under the leadership of seventh grade PCMS math teacher Joe Capalbo, a former All-Section lacrosse player at Brewster High School who went on to play collegiate Division One lacrosse at Quinnipiac, coached the LAX team at Mount St. Michael Academy in the Bronx and also coaches the Rams modified football team, a feeder system for the Rams varsity coached by Paul Santavicca, a LAX high school All-American and Division One collegiate LAX player at Marist where he played against Joe's younger brother, Tim, just as he played against Joe in high school. Santavicca will also be active in getting the lacrosse program off the ground.

So, all in all, it should be an interesting spring sports season in Port Chester. Maybe even intriguing enough to make local sports aficionados see better days ahead after their winter of discontent.