The Heights Cavaliers baseball program concluded a successful summer season in July with a 6-1 loss in the MCBA Championship to Bears Baseball, a team of players from Landon. The Cavs had beaten the Bears 5-4 the day before to advance to the championship round. However, a very resilient Bears team beat them twice on the final day to win the double-elimination tournament.
The runner-up finish marked a successful summer for the team. After starting the season 3-6, the Cavs won nine of their next ten games to advance to the league championship. Under the leadership of varsity assistant coach Frank Buono, and with help from new head varsity coach Brian Carroccio ’94 and assistant varsity coach Michael Watson ’21, the team finished the summer with a 12-9 record, and lots of good memories.
When addressing the team following the final game, Coach Buono cited players battling through injuries, and younger players improving as the summer progressed as keys to the team’s success.
When Coach Carroccio was asked about standout players he noted, “We had so many contributions from so many different guys, at so many different times, it’s hard to single anyone out. But I will call attention to the leadership of [rising seniors] Ben Rosini and Nick Buono, and Joey [Watson ’23]. None of them are ‘rah-rah’ types, but I think the team took their cues from the quiet example those guys set.”
The biggest win for the team was undoubtedly the team’s victory over the Bears earlier in the tournament. After a seven-inning complete game the day before from rising junior Joseph Tembrina, the Cavs found themselves ahead 3-2 in the fifth inning against the Bears. Rising senior Patrick Dunn fouled off three two-strike pitches to earn a walk after going down in the count 1-2. Coach Buono then executed one of his trademark clutch substitutions inserting rising sophomore Hugh Ishikawa, who successfully laid down a sacrifice bunt moving Dunn to second. From there, the team got three straight hits from Rosini, Buono and rising junior Vince Anzidei to go up 5-2. Watson closed out the game for the 5-4 win.
Coach Carroccio, who was named head coach in late May, was asked about his impressions of the team. “First off, I had never coached with Michael and Frank before, but we already have great chemistry. And the players are a great group of guys. No one at any point this summer had a bad attitude.”
Going forward, Carroccio says the summer was important for him in learning strengths and weaknesses of the program. “A real strength this summer was our pitching depth, which really sparked the winning streak we had late in the year.”
“Weakness isn’t the right word,” Carroccio continued. “But we do have some things that need improvement. Situational hitting and baserunning would be at the top of the list.”
Overall, the Cavaliers baseball program seems to be in great shape following a successful summer. The team’s fall program will begin the second week of school.