Hurricane Baseball Faces New Division


Kevin Smith, Staff Writer

Coming into the 2022 baseball season, the ‘Canes look to make the playoffs again and go even farther than they did last year.

The Hurricanes finished 9-9 in the 2021 season and ended the year on an extremely tough 1-0 loss in the first round of the playoffs to Half-Hollow Hills West. With the end of the season came graduation, where many players found themselves hanging up their jersey for the final time. 

Some very important pieces of the lineup who graduated were Jack Halloran, Ryan Miller, Brandon Erbis, Andrew Moran, and Grant Skala. This leaves the ‘Canes with some holes to fill in the lineup and for people to step up.

Coach Asa Grunenwald has called up three sophomores, hoping they will fill the shoes of those leaving. They are Riley Miller (OF/C), Nicholas Rizzo (2B/P), and myself, Kevin Smith (SS/P). Captain Bobby Hill said, “There’s no doubt that our team will be led by senior Frankie Noto offensively with a well-balanced lineup to follow.  On the mound, Ryan Knieriemen looked very solid in our first scrimmage and showed promise to be our ace this year.” 

Frankie Noto, who is an Adelphi commit, stated, “I think all the players can contribute to the team.”

Because of the successful season from last year, the Hurricanes moved up in divisions. This year, they play in a very tough division consisting of Rocky Point, Eastport-South Manor, Half-Hollow Hills West, LIC Champs East Islip, Kings Park and Comsewogue. 

Bobby said, “LI champion East Islip returns a lot of talent which will be sure to make them one of the league’s greatest competition.  Also, the Rocky Point pitching staff which consists of three Division 1 prospects will be a very challenging series.  

Frankie stated, “Our toughest opponents in my opinion are everyone we play. We can’t go into any game thinking we’re going to win. We have to play the way a winning team plays and that’s with confidence and just having fun.”

Head coach Asa Grunenwald and assistant coach Dan Pulick have been working very hard and are dedicated to making the ‘Canes a winning program. Frankie said, “I love our coaching staff. They don’t care about winning all the time. They want to see our guys develop throughout the season and become mature young men.”

Bobby stated, “I know that I have two coaches who are not only committed to winning, but to making us better players on the field and better people off the field. One thing that I found amazing about this program was that it is a lot bigger than just baseball. It has shaped me into a better man for my future. For that I am grateful to all my coaches.”

The ‘Canes has had a rough start to the season, getting swept by Eastport-South Manor in the first series of the year. At press time, the team was in a series against Comsewogue.  

The team faces HHHW next week at home, 4:30 on Monday and Wednesday. Make sure to come to the field behind the WHB Elementary School to support your Hurricanes!