Featured News - Current News - Archived News - News Categories

High school baseball preview: Niagara Falls looking for 3rd straight title appearance

Mon, Mar 27th 2017 10:00 am
The 2017 Niagara Falls High School baseball team.
The 2017 Niagara Falls High School baseball team.

Behind a new coach and experienced seniors, Wolverines have high expectations

By David Yarger

The 2017 Niagara Falls High School baseball team is coming into the season with high expectations and revenge on its mind.

Last season, the team finished 12-7 and made its second straight appearance in the Class AA sectional final game. The Wolverines were defeated by Lancaster, 6-4.

Under first year varsity coach Rob Augustino, the bar remains high. He said he hopes for another return to the title game.

"The expectations here are no different than in years past," Augustino said. "Win baseball games, do well in our league - which will be extremely competitive this year - and get back to sectional finals. Every current player has played for me at some point already. I have been in this program since the school's first season in 2001, so very little will be changing."

Augustino built a solid reputation at the junior varsity level, finishing with a losing record only once. He takes over varsity from Joe Contento, who was named the athletic director for Niagara Falls.

Augustino said his team's experience would play a key in how the season goes.

"Our roster is full of seniors with varsity experience. That can only help us as we progress through the season and get into important games," he said.

The Wolverines carry eight seniors, seven juniors, one sophomore and one freshman.

Of the eight seniors, Augustino said he's looking to ace pitcher and shortstop Matt Grace to have a big year.

"Matt Grace is the example player on this team," Augustino said. "He does everything we ask, works hard every day, and is a positive example to everyone, from the seniors down to the freshmen."

In two varsity seasons, Grace has a .306 batting average and a 2.94 ERA on the mound. He recently signed his national letter of intent to continue his baseball career at Niagara University.

Along with Grace, the Wolverine seniors are Chris Clark, Michael Laurrie, Dustin Newman, Jon Orfano, Ross Pochatko, Rory Sanabria and Patrick Sisler.

Augustino stressed the value of "team," and said, "This team will succeed as long as everyone takes pride in doing their part. I want the team to standout, not the individual."

He said the Wolverines need to stick together and, if they can do that, success is likely.

"We do feel like we have a good nucleus of players that will help us be very competitive," Augustino said. "If we are all on the same page with what we are trying to do, then we will have a chance in every situation."

The Wolverines start their season on the turf behind the high school at 4:45 p.m. Tuesday, March 28, vs. North Tonawanda.

The 2017 Niagara Falls High School baseball team. 

The 2017 Niagara Falls High School baseball team.

comments powered by Disqus

Hometown News