First-year Lawrence baseball coach Tommy Beirne has been impressed by the level of play in the Nassau’s Countywide Conference and believes the Golden Tornadoes can have a big say in the final standings.
“We’ve been in the top three the whole way and we might be able to make a little noise at the end,” said Beirne, who brought plenty of college coaching experience to the program.
Lawrence rebounded from back-to-back losses to Sewanhaka last week to defeat visiting Great Neck North on May 2, 7-4, behind senior hurler John Loughlin. He left after the top of the fifth with the score knotted at 3-3 but the Golden Tornadoes (7-5 with four games remaining) scored three times in the bottom of the inning to make him the pitcher of record.
“John has been our steady go-to guy,” Beirne said. “He held Great Neck down for five innings and we got him some runs. He slid into our No. 1 spot early in the year and we rely on him to go to the full amount on his pitch count. He has a decent fastball and a good curve and off-speed.”
Senior Tyler Kim (.415 batting average, 16 runs, four strikeouts in 45 plate appearances) opened the season as one of Lawrence’s aces but only made one outing before injuring his labrum diving into first base. He was cleared to continue playing but only as a second baseman, Beirne said, and leads the defense up the middle along with twin brother Harrison, the starting shortstop. “Tyler didn’t miss any games and it was a relief because he’s also one of our better hitters,” the coach noted.
The Kim brothers were at the forefront of one of the more satisfying wins of the season, a 5-4 walkoff over Westbury on April 23. The Green Dragons had tied the game with three runs in the top of the seventh, but Harrison Kim (.366 avg., 10 RBIs) opened the bottom of the frame with a double, advanced to third on senior James Kelly’s single and scored on Tyler Kim’s sacrifice fly. “We almost let that one get away,” Beirne said.
Two days later, Kelly dominated on the mound. The hard-throwing righthander came within two outs of a no-hitter and struck out 14 in a 9-1 victory. An infield single foiled the no-no for Kelly, who mainly patrols center field on non-throwing days. He’s hitting .416 with a team-leading 12 RBIs.
Junior Solomon, a sophomore, has stepped up to earn the starting catcher position and brings speed to the top of the lineup. “He’s completely new to catching but showed ability during tryouts,” Beirne said. “He has a solid arm and is coming along nicely.”
On the left side of the field, senior Nicholas Pasquariello works the hot corner and freshman Franklin Ulise has been a pleasant surprise in the outfield according to Beirne. Sophomore Tommy Rincon starts at first base.
“We’ve been getting pretty solid pitching and we’re trying to manufacture as many runs as we can,” Beirne said.