Sports at Wantagh are very prestigious, especially baseball. For the last two years, Wantagh’s baseball team led by head coach Keith Sachs and assistant coach Mike “Nino” Ninivaggi has won back-to-back Nassau County titles, Long Island championships, and a state title in 2016. Baseball players are bred in this town, and this year’s varsity team is looking to make history again.
The team is off to a hot start at 11-2 in Conference A-2, and is looking to keep going strong. The Warriors lost the first game to Bellmore JFK, before winning 10 straight then dropping the finale in a series to Plainedge. The offense has been hot and the pitching staff is going to work. Right now Anthony D’Onofrio is the team’s leading hitter. “I’m just trying to hit line drives to right field,” said D’Onofrio, who was also a football standout at Wantagh.
In a battle of two of the conference’s best teams, Wantagh defeated Plainedge 4-1 in the series opener behind No. 1 lefty Anthony Fontana, who fired 5 and ⅔ innings, with no walks. He reached the pitch count limit at 105 which forced him off the mound. Both his pitching and hitting have been excellent this season.
“My fastball was the go-to pitch of the day but the curveball was on today, fooling a lot of batters,” said Fontana.
The offensive helped, Richie Kirchner worked his way on base then scored off an RBI double off the bat of Jake Castellano. “I read the ball well off the bat and got a good jump,” said Kirchner. “It was a great hit that helped us in our best competition yet thus far.”
In game two of that series Wantagh won 10-2. However it dropped the Plainedge series finale 5-2, to end its 10-game winning streak.
Helping the Warriors to their successful season has been a strong pitching staff. After Fontana, the starters are Patrick Willix and then Matt Reich. Ethan Herman and Mason McLane have done a great job out of the bullpen.
The starting lineup in order begins with Anthony D’Onofrio leading off, Anthony Vano, Anthony Fontana, Patrick Willix who bats cleanup, Ethan Rockitter, Mason Mclane, Richie Kirchner, Jake Castellano, and Ryan Murphy.
Wantagh also has a solid defense. “We have a lockdown defense this year,” said Castellano, who quarterbacked the football team this past fall.
The Warriors also have a solid bench when its called on. “We have confidence in our bench,” said Fontana. “Guys like Justin Migliaro, Dylan Scott, John Bednor and Joe Parone. We know that if they get in the game they can make the big play for us.”
For the Warriors to “threepeat” in Class A in Nassau County, they will have to outduel top teams like North Shore, Division, MacArthur and Plainedge.