Oceanside embraces fresh start


Six wins weren’t quite enough for Oceanside to earn a spot in the Nassau Class AA baseball playoffs last spring, marking the first time under 11th-year coach Mike Postilio the Sailors were unable to extend their season.

However, 2023 already has a much different feel to it. Oceanside opened by knocking off defending Nassau and Long Island champion Massapequa, 6-4, and followed with a big victory over Syosset.

“We don’t ever expect to not be in the playoffs,” Postilio said. “It’s very rare for this program. It was a byproduct of the team being super young and we’ve moved on.

“It’s a fresh start and we’ve opened with wins over two really good teams,” he added. “We have a senior-led pitching staff and they came out strong, and we have a lot of guys we can turn to in relief.”

In Conference AA-2 for the first time in many years, Postilio is excited about playing a new batch of opponents that includes Plainview-JFK, Baldwin and East Meadow. The Sailors won’t face Massapequa or Syosset again unless it’s in the playoffs.

“We treat every opponent the same way,” he said. “It’s just nice to have some variety in the schedule.”

Senior Mike Furst, who started six of Oceanside’s 18 games last spring, got the nod in the April 3 opener and struck out five batters in just over four innings of work. Junior Michael Regan picked up the win in relief when sophomore Luke Villella drove in the eventual winning run in the bottom of the sixth.

Senior Jack Schulz holds the No. 2 spot in the starting rotation and made a strong debut April 4, going 4 and 2/3rds to beat Syosset, 10-2. He struck out five and scattered four hits. Senior Peter Davies and junior Sean Varon provided a bulk of the support, with both going 3-for-4 and combining for five RBIs.

“Mike and Jack are pitchers only this season and they both have good mechanics and throw hard,” Postilio said of Furst and Schulz. “Mike has a great curve and Jack a nasty slider. The guys know they’re going to go out and battle every outing.”

Junior southpaw Patrick Pallentino is the third starter who plays left field on non-pitching days. He spent the majority of 2022 at the JV level and was its top arm, Postilio said. “He’s a smooth lefty who stays within himself and hits his spots,” the coach noted.

After spending last season as the designated hitter following shoulder surgery, senior Ryan McFall is back behind the plate and the clean-up batter. Sophomore J.J. Kemmesat will give McFall a breather at times.

The top of the lineup has sophomore center fielder Kyle Scheurer leading off, followed by Villella (second base) and Varon (shortstop.) Scheurer earned All-Conference honors a year ago. Davies (first base) and junior Justin Alvarez (third) handle the infield corners and can swing the bat. Junior Jake Lunenfeld, a lefty bat and versatile glove, had two hits and scored twice in the win over Massapequa.

“We can’t worry about anyone aside from ourselves,” Postilio said.