Blue Devils hope to compete for section title
By Skip Pearlman
With six starters returning from the 2017 squad, the Haldane High School varsity baseball team is hoping to make some noise in Class C.
The Blue Devils, who finished 10-11 last season and fell to Pawling in the first round of the state tournament, lost two big pieces of the team to graduation in All-State centerfielder and pitcher Brian Haines (playing club ball at Villanova) and All-League shortstop Justin Maldonado (an outfielder for Mount Saint Mary College).
But Coach Tom Virgadamo, who is in his 10th season coaching the Blue Devils, believes he has the returning talent — along with some strong newcomers — that can make for an exciting spring.
All-League catcher Aidan Siegel, centerfielder Dan Rotando, outfielder George Leiter and All-League right-handed pitcher Anthony Sinchi, all seniors, are the captains.
Junior Devin Siegel (left fielder), junior Matt Mikalsen (second base), junior Adam Hotaling (third base) and junior Kyle Kisslinger (right fielder) round out the returning starters.
Junior Alden Dobosz (utility/pitcher) and sophomore Cole Bolte (outfielder) are also back, while the newcomers include freshmen shortstop and pitcher Dan Santos and catcher and outfielder John Bradley.
Virgadamo, a Haldane grad who played catcher for the Blue Devils on three sectional championship teams, likes his mix.
“We’re taking it game by game, but this is a good group,” he said. “They want to learn, and they have a great work ethic. Can we challenge for the title [in Section 1]? I think so.”
Haldane’s fate will rely largely on its pitching. “We need our pitchers to pound the zone and trust the defense,” Virgadamo said. “We play good team defense, so if they do what they can do, we’ll be in most games.”
The coach said Sinchi is the No. 1 pitcher “and he knows the game. He pounds the zone with two or three good pitches. Siegel and Santos and Hotaling are next, and I have a lot of confidence in all of them. And our relievers — Kisslinger, Dobosz and Mikalsen — are all solid.”
Santos, the lead-off hitter, paces the team with a .250 average, and Virgadamo expects to get some good pop from the middle of the lineup, with Rotando and the Siegel brothers occupying the two-three-four holes. “It’s a great mix of power and speed,” he said. “We have the ability to produce runs.”
The Blue Devils have gotten off to a 4-6 start, defeating Peekskill, Irvington, Pawling in the second game of a doubleheader and Yonkers Montessori. They’ve lost to Poughkeepsie, Hamilton, Croton and Pawling, and twice to North Salem.
Haldane travels to Pleasantville today (April 28) and hosts Hastings on Monday at 4:30 p.m.
Photos by S. Pearlman