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2011 Spring Preview: Phantoms Baseball

Young team looks to improve, contend in League VII.

The Phantoms baseball team, while young, will be looking to challenge for a League VII title in 2011. In a league where the only consistency has been parity, there should be no reason why varsity team should be left out of the conversation of championship contenders.

The loss of ace starting pitcher, Lou Libertore, who's now playing at Molloy College, would hurt any team, but head coach Jim Moccio is excited for the group he's got returning.

Record last year: 13-9

Head coach: Jim Moccio (12th season)

Top players:

  • Joe Libertore, SS
  • Harry Dobin, RF
  • Ian Bateman, C
  • Mike Ingargiola, P

Key losses: Any time a team is left without it's ace on the mound, it's a big loss. Losing Lou Libertore, brother of shortstop Joe Libertore, to graduation will hurt the Phantoms, but they've got young players ready to step up and fill the void. However, no one player this year can fill Libertore's shoes.

Expectations: Coach Moccio is looking forward to being extremely competitive again in 2011. However, he knows with youth comes inexperience, an intangible that could prove to be vital over the course of the season. He is hopeful that his young talent can overcome, though.

"Our goal is always to make the playoffs and potentially compete for a league championship," he said. "But we’ve got some real young guys on the mound. At this point it’s too early to tell where we’re going to be. We like their talent, but we’ve got a lot of question marks we’re still working on filling in."

Despite that, he knows that the practices and scrimmages early on in the season are extremely important to the growth of a young squad.

"They’re all committed to working very hard and to get better every day. There’s enough talent that with some experience as we go forward in the next couple weeks, we’ll start rounding into form and hopefully have continued success."

Big games: Moccio believes there's no easy games on their schedule this season.

"We're in a very balanced league up and down," he said. "In the past five years there have been four league champions. I don't think there's any real rivals. The goal is just to get into the Class A playoffs and advance from there."

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