Boys Baseball Determined to Return To Glory

Matthew Leto, Sports Editor

This year’s Chiefs baseball team has their eyes set on creating a new chapter in school history by winning their first district championship since 2003, the year prior to crosstown rival Park Vista’s opening.

“This year our expectations are pretty high,” Coach Franco said. “ We made it to the Regional quarter finals last season with a losing record. Park Vista is still the team to beat, but our players are poised for a deep postseason run.”

Franco is confident his team is experienced and talented enough to break through the barrier Park Vista has created, and with several starters returning, it’s hard to argue against them. The Chiefs shocked the district last year when they defeated Boca and played Park Vista for the district championship. Returning players to watch are juniors A.J. Orrico, Matthew Restivo, and sophomore phenom Jared Patronis. They gained poise and determination defeating a perennial powerhouse in Boca last season.

“Matthew is the prototypical lead off hitter. His base running instincts and aggressiveness are some of the best I’ve seen since I started coaching,” Franco said. “He is going to be expected to get our offense rolling by getting on base, stealing bases, and scoring runs.”

Franco said Restivo getting on base will increase their scoring chances.

“We’ve been putting in work since the loss last season,” Restivo said. “I think were prepared for down the road.”

Experience is by far the pivotal quality in a successful baseball team.

“A.J. is coming off a solid year after leading our team in hitting his freshman year,” Franco said. “His batting average wasn’t as high as his freshman year last year, but that is not to take away from how good of a hitter he is and can be.”

Junior A.J. Orrico weighed in on how he prepared for this upcoming season.

“We have been conditioning every day and we’re playing with heart and dedication this season,” Orrico said. “We’ve gotten bigger, stronger, and faster as a team.”

Franco said he is excited about the level of talent on the team this year.

“The past two seasons we have had many freshman and sophomore players on varsity and now they are juniors and seniors, so they are very experienced playing at the varsity level,” he said.

If the Chiefs want a shot to win districts, they’re going to have to rely on the bats of Orrico and Restivo and the arms of Patronis and senior Malik Lissone. Orrico was an All-American as a freshman, which means he knows how to deliver in big moments, and Restivo’s speed and ability to make contact with the ball make him a player to watch. If Malik can control his power fastball, the Chiefs have a promising chance to win the district.

The Chiefs have as good of a chance as any school to win districts this year, but they do have to dethrone the crosstown rival Park Vista Cobras who always seem to have a roster full of studs.

“Park Vista is not only the top team in our district, but arguably one of the best in the state,” Franco said. “It won’t be easy but we have gotten lucky with 3 transfers, Angel Diaz, Miguel Peralta, and Hakim Williams that will help in our lineup with all of the returners. Malik Lissone is back after finishing the year strong last year and he is going to have to step up on the mound, which I strongly believe he will. All three of the transfers also pitch, so this year we will have one of the deepest pitching staffs that I’ve had.”

Park Vista has been the team standing in the Chiefs’ way for years, and this season the Chiefs are locked in to derail the Cobras’ playoff season.

“We have a talented roster and defeating the Cobras is a reality this season,” Megrichian said. “The team is going to have play to the fullest to pull of the victory against the Cobras.”

Essentially, defeating Park Vista and Boca would take the Chiefs to the promised land.

Coach Franco wants the team to get off to a good start before any bold predictions, but it’s just too hard to ignore a talented roster like the Chiefs.